Over the weekend Mitt Romney's election team began the process of building their transition to the presidency. Sound presumptive? The White House thinks so. In a conference call with reporters Monday, Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said, "I congratulate Governor Romney on the appointment of his transition team. I think that their report will be ultimately be part of the dust bin of history."
It's standard protocol for party nominees to have a transition plan well before the election. In the summer and fall of 2008, then Senator Obama had advisers in Chicago organizing for his presidency. Many of those advisers on the transition team became essential in the early days of 2009 when President Obama took office. And since Obama became commander in chief, the Presidential Transition Act was amended in 2010 allowing funding for presidential candidates to prepare transition teams prior to the general election.
But Axelrod still says Romney is playing politics by making a big deal about the transition. "We are going to have a good hard, closely fought election," Axelrod said Monday, "I think we're going to win that election."
The Romney transition is being lead by Mike Leavitt, a former Utah governor and Health and Human Services Secretary in the George W. Bush administration. Some speculate should Romney be elected the next president of the United States, Leavitt could be a likely chief of staff.
This is not the first time Romney and Leavitt have teamed up. The former Utah governor tapped Romney to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics and the two men have remained friends ever since. Leavitt, also a Mormon, has worked in politics since the 70's and even did polling for Ronald Reagan's reelection in 1984.
But the Obama campaign may have more to say about their opponent's pick soon enough. The former Health and Human Services Secretary has spoken favorably about the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's healthcare reform bill.
At a speech last September, Leavitt maintained that government has a role to play and that Obama's plan is moving in the right direction saying, "government's got to play a role, it'd be far better to have it organizing an efficient system than to owning it. And I think the incumbent situation that we're moving toward now in the Affordable Care Act is clearly about government operating the system, and we need to move more toward [such a program]."