Obama Names Chief Performance Officer

January 7, 2009 - 12:23 PM
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Washington (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that reforming massive government entitlement programs -- such as Social Security and Medicare -- would be "a central part" of his effort to control federal spending.
 
Obama made the pledge but provided few details as he named Nancy Killefer as his administration's chief performance officer, creating a new White House position aimed at eliminating government waste and improving efficiency.
 
Obama called Killefer "an expert in streamlining policies and wringing out inefficiences." Killifer, a former Clinton Treasury Department official, will be assigned to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
 
Noting that the Congressional Budget Office had just estimated he would inherit a $1.2 trillion federal deficit for fiscal 2009, Obama promised to cut unnecessary spending.
 
"We expect that discussion around entitlements will be a part, a central part of those plans," Obama said. "And I would expect that by February in line with the announcement of at least a rough budget outline we will have more to say about how we're going to approach entitlement spending."
 
In response to a reporter’s question, Obama said he is concerned about the violence in Gaza, but also is wary of sending conflicting messages about American foreign policy.
 
He repeated earlier statements that the United States can have only one president at a time. "We can't have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time. We simply can't do it."
 
But Obama also said his relative silence on the Israeli-Hamas war is not a result of "a lack of concern" about the fighting there.
 
In response to another question, Obama said it’s up to the Senate to seat Roland Burris, and if it does, Obama will work with the Illinois Democrat “just like I work with all the other senators to make sure that the people of Illinois and the people of the country are served.”