Obama is set to nominate new energy and EPA chiefs
WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama intends to nominate Steven Chu for energy secretary, Lisa Jackson for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and Carol Browner as his energy "czar," Democratic officials said yesterday.
Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, is a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley and has been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004, where he has pushed aggressively for research into alternative energy as a way to combat global warming.
Jackson, who will become the first African-American to lead the EPA, is now chief of staff to Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey and is the state's former commissioner of environmental protection. And Browner, EPA chief for eight years under President Bill Clinton, will take a new job coordinating policy on energy, the environment, and climate change.
Obama has also selected Nancy Sutley, the deputy mayor for energy and environment in Los Angeles, to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, transition officials said yesterday. Sutley, an EPA official during the Clinton administration, is the first prominent member of the gay and lesbian community to earn a senior role in the new administration.
"At this moment of great challenge and great change, renewing the promise of America begins with renewing the idea that in America, we rise or fall as one nation and one people," Obama said in a statement. "That sense of unity and shared purpose is what this inauguration will reflect."
On Jan. 19, the day before the swearing-in, Obama, Biden, and their families will take part in community service events in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. On Jan. 21, they are to participate in a prayer service.
Meanwhile, a congressional committee involved in planning the inaugural ceremonies announced that it has invited the Tuskegee Airmen, who made history during World War II as the country's first black military pilots only to return home to discrimination and exclusion from victory parades.
"I want to come hopping, skipping, and jumping!" said Spann Watson, 92, an airman from Westbury, N.Y., who flew above Pennsylvania Avenue for President Truman's inauguration. "We had a part in changing these United States."
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California sent a letter Tuesday to Tuskegee Airmen Inc., an Arlington, Va.-based group that represents 330 of the original pilots. Robert Rose, vice president of the organization, said members were "elated and honored."
GLOBE STAFF AND ASSOCIATED PRESS
In a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, Obama called his base on the South Side of Chicago his "Kennebunkport," the Maine retreat of former President George H.W. Bush.
Obama also said he will work out with his national security team the timing and other details of a speech in the capital of an Islamic country. "I think we've got a unique opportunity to reboot America's image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular," he said.
He also said he will keep with tradition and be sworn into office with his full name - Barack Hussein Obama - though his foes tried to use his middle name to depict him as a secret Muslim.
Jindal, 37, who appeared at a news conference to back Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, has strong support from conservatives for his income tax-cutting initiatives. Many of them advocated for John McCain to pick Jindal as his vice presidential running mate.
Tuesday on a radio show, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher said he was "appalled" that McCain supported the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry. "I was angry," Wurzelbacher said. "In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him."
But he stayed on the bus because "the thought of Barack Obama becoming president scares me even more."