Barack Obama will bring a careful, deliberative style to the White House that differs from President George W. Bush’s tendency to rely more heavily on his gut instincts.
The Democrat made history on Tuesday by becoming the first black US president-elect and did so despite his Republican rival John McCain’s efforts to highlight the absence of executive experience on Obama’s resume.
But even critics of the 47-year-old Illinois senator credit him with having run a highly effective campaign that was marked by discipline and organisation and honed by his long battle against Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination.
That political operation offers insights as to how Obama will govern when he takes office on January 20 amid a financial crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One trait that his aides played up during the campaign was the calm demeanour that earned him the nickname among his staff of “No Drama Obama.”
Staff members say they rarely, if ever, have heard Mr Obama raise his voice, though he has ways of making it known if he is dissatisfied with a decision.
“His management style is to choose people in whom he has confidence and to give them a lot of authority and to hold them accountable,” said Mr Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod. “He wants to know what the plans are to achieve those objectives and holds you accountable for that.”
Mr Axelrod, known for his skills at shaping political messages, is one of a handful of top aides in whom Obama has put his trust.
Also part of that inner circle are Mr David Plouffe, Obama’s hyper-organised campaign manager who kept a zealous watch on campaign spending, and Ms Valerie Jarrett, a lawyer and businesswoman steeped in Chicago politics. Ms Jarrett is part of a team of three people who will head Obama’s transition team.
For advice on press relations, Mr Obama turns to Mr Robert Gibbs, a tough-minded Southerner with a genteel manner who oversaw tight control of media access to the...