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Obama still filling out his team

Justin Webb | 20:30 UK time, Friday, 19 June 2009

I attended the formal swearing in of Philip Gordon, the new Undersecretary of State for Europe today.

Lovely ceremony, proud family, good speeches. And above all a reminder that this administration is not yet fully staffed!

Bizarre but true: Phil (who is a friend so I will say nothing about his competence and politics) is by no means the last aboard. Others still languish un-confirmed and unable to begin their public service.

And yet, in other respects, the administration is getting old - with some real falling out now among constituencies upset by the compromises made in government and worried that Obama is going the same way on their issues that Kennedy did on civil rights.

I suspect the Obama view is that there is a long, long way to go. He faces no imminent election - and might gain politically if his Democratic friends in Congress get singed a little in 2010 - so he presses on at his pace and with his priorities.

And always the knowledge that the backing he received from the middle ground of politics is fragile and needs to be worked on.


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