Obama Names More Top Staff

Posted December 23, 2008 at 10:26am

President-elect Barack Obama continued to fill out key aspects of administration on Tuesday, announcing hires for a range of staff positions just two days before Christmas.

Longtime Obama adviser Cassandra Butts will become deputy White House counsel, joining Gregory B. Craig on the incoming president’s legal team. Butts, a Harvard University classmate of Obama’s, previously worked as senior vice president for domestic policy at the Center for American Progress. Butts also previously worked as an adviser for then-House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).

Elizabeth Sears Smith, most recently chief of staff to Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), has been named deputy Cabinet secretary. Prior to working with Emanuel — Obama’s incoming chief of staff — Smith worked in the Clinton administration as a deputy assistant secretary in the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce.

As expected, Dan Turton and Shawn Maher were named to serve as legislative liaisons to the House and Senate, respectively. Turton, a member of the Obama transition team, previously served at the Democratic staff director for the House Rules Committee. Maher served as the staff director for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

Obama also announced several additions to incoming first lady Michelle Obama’s staff, including Director of Communications Camille Johnston and press secretaries Katie McCormick Lelyveld and Semonti Mustaphi.