President elect Barack Obama is already announcing the all important team that will surround him as he prepares to tackle the unprecedented challenges of a global economic meltdown, climate change and two wars.

Obama chooses transition team as challenges loom: With his history-making election behind him, President-elect Barack Obama was moving ahead with his transition on Wednesday as he prepared to confront the daunting challenges that he will have to face as president in just 76 days, amid two wars and the gravest economic crisis to afflict the country since the Great DepressionRepresentative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a close friend of Mr. Obama, has been offered the post of White House chief of staff and is expected to accept, according to Democrats familiar with the process. — New York Times

Housing, energy, auto sectors may be reshaped under new administration: Now, let the lobbying begin. Although the inauguration is nearly three months away, President-elect Barack Obama and his team already are hard at work on plans to address the rapidly deteriorating economy and continue repairing the battered financial sector. Financial services, housing, energy and the auto industry are among the biggest sectors of the economy whose executives will be hoping — and lobbying — to benefit early in the new administration. — MSNBC

Jeffrey Sachs: The economy – What Obama needs to do: The energy sector is in a shambles. There is no national strategy to address the three-sided challenge of energy security, energy availability, and climate change. We’ve been reduced to a nearly insane call to drill, baby, drill. Hapless and woefully misinformed Americans are led to believe that there is a quick and lasting remedy in an environmentally dubious “solution” that would take years to produce the first drop of oil and that might produce a total of 25 billion barrels of oil, less than one year’s global consumption. Serious longer-term alternatives — such as carbon capture and sequestration, properly regulated nuclear power, and large-scale wind and solar power—are caught up in incredible confusion and lack of political leadership. Dishonesty and shortsightedness abound. Under Bush, the federal government has been spending less per year on energy research and development than in two days on the Pentagon. And industry is rightly paralyzed in building new power plants, not seeing any clear direction on national policies. — The Big Money

Six ways Obama can be different: Barack Obama has said he wants to change the political system. Now that he is president-elect, we’ll see what that actually means. As he works to remove the troops from Iraq, reform the nation’s health care system, and promote American energy independence, we’ll see how well he keeps his promise to reach out to others with different ideas. He once promised that negotiations about his health care plan would be shown live on C-SPAN. Is It may take some time before we know these answers. But some indications of Obama’s new kind of politics could come before he starts making policy decisions. In his acceptance speech, Obama plans to offer some symbolic gestures, such as reaching out to Republicans and not appearing overly celebratory. This is a good start, but there’s more he could do. Here are a few suggestions. — Slate

Emanuel spokesperson denies he’s accepted Chief of Staff, and other transition notes: Fox and MSNBC are reporting that Rahm Emanuel has accepted a job as Obama’s White House chief of staff. But an Emanuel spokesperson we just checked in with says that’s not the case. No decision has been made, the spokesperson says. It seems clear, however, that Emanuel is seriously considering the job. And Emanuel, an aggressive partisan warrior, is a choice that is likely to cheer people who don’t want Obama to strike an overly conciliatory stance towards what’s left of the Republican Party in Washington. Meanwhile, Obama today announced his transition team, which will be overseen by John Podesta, a longtime D.C. insider who was chief of staff to Bill Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago lawyer and long-time political adviser to Obama, and Obamaland insider Pete rouse, his Senate chief of staff. — Talking Points Memo

Transtion toteboard: Who’s hot and who’s not in the bidding for top posts in the Obama cabinet: — Newsweek

Obama turns to building a presidency: Pressing business came at him fast, with just 76 days until his inauguration as the 44th president. The nation’s top intelligence officials planned to give him top-secret daily briefings starting Thursday, sharing with him the most critical overnight intelligence as well as other information he has not been allowed to see as a senator or candidate. And Obama planned to give the first of his daily briefings to the media on Thursday as he moves quickly to begin assembling a White House staff and selecting Cabinet nominees. Obama was asking Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, former political and policy adviser to President Clinton, to be his White House chief of staff, Democratic officials said. John Podesta, who served as Clinton’s chief of staff, was expected to join Obama Senate aide Pete Rouse and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett in leading the transition team. President Bush pledged “complete cooperation” in the transition and called Obama’s victory a “triumph of the American story.” — TownHall.com

Peter Fray

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