History of Lincoln Inspires Obama's 'Team of Rivals'

Doris Kearns Goodwin's tome provides unexpected insight into next administration
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2008 2:55 PM CST

(Newser) – “Team of rivals” is the post-campaign buzzphrase, Graeme Allister writes in the Guardian, replacing the lipsticked pigs and pitbulls. The term refers to Barack Obama’s strategy of filling Cabinet positions with Republicans and political enemies (ie, Hillary Clinton), and comes from a 2005 book by Doris Kearns Goodwin chronicling similar maneuvers by Abraham Lincoln almost 150 years ago.

Obama has touted the book as a favorite since before he became the Democratic nominee, and has paraphrased Lincoln’s strategy: “My attitude is that whoever is the best person for the job is the person I want,” he told a rally in May. “If I really thought that John McCain was the absolute best person for the Department of the Homeland Security, I would put him in there.”