Transition Gives Peek at Obama Leadership Style

Prez-elect's process a combo of 'discipline' and 'curiosity'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2009 9:40 AM CST
President-elect Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at his transition office in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s transition into the presidency has provided a window onto how he’ll operate as president, writes Peter Baker in the New York Times. Despite major challenges ahead, he has been “a font of cool confidence” throughout. But he’s “hard to label”—while he’s shown a bipartisan style, he’s also pushing for massive government expansion; and while he’s reached out for advice, he’s also centralizing decision-making in the White House.

Obama is, in a way, a combination of his two predecessors, showing George W. Bush’s discipline and Bill Clinton’s curiosity. His decisions are “crisp and efficient” at meetings, aides say, he first asks questions, listens, then summarizes what he’s heard and learned. Later, after he's put his girls to bed, aides often get a follow-up phone call. Meanwhile, Obama has gained wide support, winning over the bailout votes of some GOP senators and broadening his base among voters.