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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Barack Obama and the 'West Wing on steroids.'

Pulling power close is something all recent presidents have done – and on the campaign trail, Obama spoke out against George W. Bush’s attempt to expand his executive authority.

But when it comes to building his own team, Obama is taking the notion of a powerful White House staff to new heights, leaving little doubt who will set policy and guide the politics of the his newborn administration.

The structure could pose an early test for Obama — whether he can referee turf battles and policy skirmishes between presidential advisers and his Cabinet, which contains some formidable figures as well. Obama comes to the job lacking the executive experience of his two predecessors, governors-turned-presidents.

But Obama appears willing to take that chance. Aides say he believes the Cabinet structure is outdated because it doesn’t recognize that problems like global warming sprawl across several agencies, often requiring a sort of uber-Cabinet member – a czar – to confront them.