The head of Obama's transition team, John Podesta, was interviewed by Chris Wallace. Read the full transcript.
WALLACE: President-elect Obama made it clear in his Friday news conference that job one is the economy, but he left it unclear how active, how involved, he's going to get before his inauguration.
Will he give congressional Democrats clear direction about what he wants them to do in a lame duck session on economic stimulus?
Will he actively engage with the Bush administration on the financial bail-out, or is he going to wait until he takes the oath of office?
PODESTA: Well, we have one president at a time, as President- elect Obama said on Friday, so it's up to — the job is up to President Bush to move that legislation forward and try to keep economic recovery moving today.
But I think what the president-elect wanted to do — he sent a strong signal that we need an economic recovery program moving forward. He'd like to see the stimulus that's pending on Capitol Hill pass.
He wants to see unemployment insurance extended, aid to the states that are struggling with medical insurance — and try to fix their problems and their own budgets so they don't need to lay people off, and try to get job growth going again.
He hopes that will happen during this lame duck session, that the — that President Bush will cooperate. If it doesn't, it would be the first item of business when he comes back.
WALLACE: But for instance, on the financial rescue plan, there are some decisions that are going to be made over the course of the next two months on things — various financial institutions, how to spend that $700 billion, even talk about appointing a permanent head of the — to deal with the rescue.
If the Bush administration asked President Obama — President- elect Obama, "What do you think of this? Will you sign off on this person," is he going to say, "Yes," or, "I'll wait?"
PODESTA: Well, I think that he's going to put his own people in place when he comes to office, and we're moving very aggressively to select both people at the top for cabinet secretary, treasury secretary in particular, but we're also looking at people below the level of cabinet secretary — the undersecretary for domestic finance, the head of the TARP, the so-called TARP, et cetera.
So he's going to put his own team in place. In the meantime, he's designated Dan Tarullo as one of his senior economic advisors to — to have discussions, to be fully informed, fully briefed, with what's going on right now.
Mr. Tarullo has reached out to Secretary Paulson. They've already spoken. They're meeting tomorrow. And we'll have other people who are available to be at the Treasury to understand the decisions that are being made.
But we have one administration at a time. And those are decisions that the Bush administration needs to make while they're in office.
WALLACE: Does the president-elect feel some pressure to name his treasury secretary and his economic team first and quickly to reassure the financial markets?
PODESTA: Well, I think across the board, whether it's national security, the economy, the senior leadership that will manage health care, energy and the environment, I think he intends to move very quickly.
And you know, he's beaten a lot of records during the course of the campaign. I think people probably don't know this, but with the exception of President Bush 41, which was an intraparty transition, no new president has named a cabinet secretary before December, going back through the Kennedy administration.
And I think we're moving aggressively to try to build out that core economic team, the national security team, and you'll see announcements when they're ready.
But again, I'll reference back to what he said on Friday. He said he wants to move with all deliberate haste, but he put the emphasis on deliberate. So he's deliberating what — the strongest team that he could put in place to manage the very, very difficult problems the country is facing, and there will be announcements forthcoming.