Obama 'makes first appointment'
President-elect reported to have chosen chief-of-staff in his first appointment.
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2008 09:46 GMT

Obama, in his victory speech,  complimented his defeated rival John McCain [Reuters] 

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, has begun building the foundations of his administration by reportedly selecting his chief-of-staff, as people around the world continued to celebrate his election victory.

Rahm Emanuel, regarded among the Washington political elite as a master strategist, has accepted the key post, Democratic sources said on Wednesday.

The move is Obama's first political act since he swept to victory in the presidential election a day earlier.

Emanuel who, like Obama, is from Chicago, helped mastermind the Democrats' capture of the House of Representatives from the Republicans two years ago.

Rob Reynolds, Al Jazeera's Washington correspondent, said Emanuel was seen "as a tough politician with strong links to Israel."

Reporter's diary

Rally outside the White House

"It's the person who controls access to the president and controls his schedule ... and decides what information reaches the president.

Emanuel, a former adviser to ex-president Bill Clinton, will be a key figure in supporting the country's first African-American leader when he formally takes office on January 20, during the world's worst financial crisis in a century and with the unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on his hands.

'Impressive victory'

A day after triggering a political earthquake not seen since Ronald Reagan's 1980 landslide, Obama also named key figures of the transition team which will spend the next 76 days preparing for his inauguration and taking up of the US presidency.

In depth

The future under President Obama
Profile: Barack Obama
End of Chicago free-market ideals?
Gaza holding scant hopes over US
Afghans sceptical of US intentions
US losing support of Iraq's Kurds

Your Views
Add your voice to the discussion

Send us your video views

Rob Reynolds said Obama will also be attending a meeting of the G20 group of nations being convened by George Bush, the current US president, at the White House on November 15 to try and address the ongoing global economic turmoil.

Bush earlier praised what he called "an impressive victory" against Obama's rival, Republican John McCain.

He said: "I had a warm conversation with president-elect Barack Obama. I congratulated him and Senator [Joe] Biden on their impressive victory.

"I told the president-elect he can count on complete co-operation from my administration as he makes the transition to the White House."

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said Obama's election was "an extraordinary step forward".

She said: "As an African-American, I'm especially proud. America has been through a long journey, making race not a factor in our lives."

Millions of people around the world continued celebrating Obama's historic victory on Wednesday.

Outside of the White House in Washington DC in the early hours of Wednesday, thousands of people crowded the streets , chanting "goodbye!" and "pack your sh*t!" in anger at the unpopular administration of president Bush as well as hailing Obama with cries of "yes we can!" and "yes we did!".

'Decisive victory'

In his victory speech at Chicago's Grant Park the previous night, Obama told tens of thousands of supporters: "Change has come to America".

"If there's anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer," he said.

US Elections 2008
Electoral Map
Track electoral results state-by-state
As it unfolded
Follow the day's events as they happened
Watch Al Jazeera's election coverage live
Stay informed with instant updates

With results given in 48 states and Washington DC, Obama had swept past the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory, taking 349 to McCain's 162.

Rob Reynolds, reporting from Chicago, said the election was a "decisive victory".

"It is truly a national victory with a national mandate for change," he said.

Obama's race for the White House began to turn decisively in his favour after he won the key battleground state of Ohio. The result was a blow to McCain, as no Republican candidate has managed to gain the presidency without winning the state.

The Democratic candidate's victory marked the pinnacle of four centuries of striving for equal rights for African-Americans in the country.

Jesse Jackson Jr, the Obama campaign co-chair, said: "Barack Obama as the 44th president ... it is mind-boggling, mind-blowing.
"Our children walk into a very different America tomorrow," he told Al Jazeera.
"For some people it is the end of a two-year campaign and for others it has been a 200-year trek ... The civil rights movements, among others, have made this moment possible."

Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list