President-elect Barack Obama has picked Melody Barnes to direct the White House Domestic Policy Council.
Mr. Obama told reporters in Chicago that Barnes will be working hand-in-hand with the new administration's economic team to shape policy for the ailing U.S. economy. The president-elect said Barnes will also play an instrumental role in health care reform and work closely with the incoming secretary of Health and Human Services, reported to be former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle.
Barnes has a lengthy background in public policy, including seven years as chief counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also served as executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning research institute. The center was formerly headed by John Podesta, who was chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton and now heads the Obama transition team.
Mr. Obama called Barnes the "perfect fit" for the position, citing her experience on a variety of issues, and her dedication to finding solutions for middle class families.