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President-elect Obama's Transition Team: Washington's 'Old' New Guard?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," November 14, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Could Senator Hillary Clinton be the next secretary of state? President-elect Obama is considering Senator Clinton for the job. Now, this might seem odd to some since President-elect Obama ran on a campaign based on change. But is the next president's administration going to be filled with Washington insiders and people who worked for President Clinton? Senator Clinton is not the only example. Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who worked in President Clinton's White House, has been named the president-elect's chief of staff. John Podesta, who is heading the president-elect's transition, was President Clinton's chief of staff.

Joining us live is Jonathan Weisman, reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Jonathan, there's a lot to be said for experience, and a lot of these -- (INAUDIBLE) these people are experienced. On the other hand, how many Clinton people or insiders who are on the -- have been named so far?

JONATHAN WEISMAN, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, we've got about 31 of the 47 people in the transition, named in the transition, have had some experience in the Clinton White House. That is obviously a huge percentage.

But you also have to look at who these people are. You named the big shots, Rahm Emanuel, who is a big political heavyweight, Ron Klain, who is now going to be the chief of staff of Joe Biden. He was Al Gore's chief of staff.

But then if you looked at most of these people, they're actually second stringers, third stringers, people who were way down the list in the Clinton administration. And really, what they did was, they took the risk. They looked and saw the big heavy hitters were joining up Hillary Clinton - - with Hillary Clinton's campaign and they said, Do I once again want to be, you know, underneath my boss from the Clinton days? They took the risk. They jumped to the Obama campaign, even when it looked like Obama didn't have a chance, and now they're moving up to the top jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the interesting part, though, is that Senator -- or President-elect Obama ran on change, and there are a lot of people, you know, way out on the West Coast and even some of the more liberal people who donated expected a real change, a real shakeup. And if they're sitting at home tonight and they're starting to see sort of the whole -- the transition so far seen a lot of insiders, whether it's someone from the Clinton administration or just Democrats here in Washington, you have to wonder, is that, how does he sell that to the people who ponied up $5 or $10 on the Internet?

WEISMAN: It's true. I mean, what you look at is you're looking at a lot of lawyers from places like O'Melveny and Myers and consultants from McKenzie and Company. You're not looking at, you know, bloggers from San Francisco. These are, you know, big names in some circles, but they're in Washington circles, not the rest of the country.

Watch Greta's interview

Now, it's still Barack Obama. If Barack Obama is the guy selling change, people aren't going to care who is, you know, the latest counselor from the FCC.

VAN SUSTEREN: But one of his main -- his main target last spring in terms of change was Senator Clinton.

WEISMAN: That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: His main target. So if he gives her the plum job, how is that -- I mean, (INAUDIBLE) quite understand is both these two senators went at each other and totally, you know, attacked each other. Senator Clinton said that he was ill-prepared. He says that she's old Washington and no change. And now they're cozy and talking in Chicago, and one is going to be president and the other might be secretary of state? I mean...

WEISMAN: Just wait until they start putting their arms around John McCain. This is the guy who said was, you know, bought and paid for by the lobbyists, and now he's going to be meeting with him on Monday. They're going to really try to -- kind of try to create an alliance.

But you're right, but we'll have to look and see what the rest of the cabinet is going to look like. But right now, when we're hearing names like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, even Bill Richardson, who, you know, was the...

VAN SUSTEREN: He got his start in the Clinton administration.

WEISMAN: He got -- and absolutely. I mean, this guy was the ambassador to the United Nations. None of these people are really screaming change.

VAN SUSTEREN: No. And sooner or later, the people from Moveon.org and other blogs may be screaming, Where is the change? But there's something to be said for experience, as well, and...

WEISMAN: And they love to scream. You know, we like to give them something to scream about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jonathan, thank you.

WEISMAN: Thank you.


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