WASHINGTON (JTA) – Barack Obama may not appoint a secretary of state or other senior Cabinet posts until next month.
Asked about a timetable for the announcement of the senior positions at a news conference Tuesday, Obama-Biden transition team co-chairman John Podesta noted that "no president other than George Herbert Walker Bush has named a Cabinet appointment before December."
While Podesta said "we will try to accelerate" that process, appointments will be made "when we’re ready to make them." He added that while the president-elect will be looking for gender, racial and political party diversity, "excellence" will be the first criteria.
Podesta also announced ethics rules for the transition: Those who were registered as federal lobbyists in the past 12 months cannot work in a field in which they lobbied, and those who become a lobbyist after their work on the transition team is forbidden from lobbying the White House in the policy field in which they worked for a full year.