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Obama acting increasingly presidential

Not 'a minute to waste' in addressing economic woes, the president-elect says.

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At a time when millions of worried Americans are looking to Washington for economic and political leadership, President-elect Obama appears to be acting more presidential and less "-elect" by the day.

As he unveiled his team of economic advisers Monday, Mr. Obama emphasized that action to try to stimulate the economy is coming. While he remained deferential to the current administration, he said he wanted to hit the ground running and in general conveyed an air of imminent control over ongoing US financial-rescue efforts.

Obama seems to recognize the obvious: The state of the US economy – indeed, the world economy – is so fragile that repair efforts will dominate his initial years in office. His success or failure could well end up defining his entire White House term.

"That work starts today. The truth is, we don't have a minute to waste," said Obama at his economic personnel announcement.

The US has only one president at a time. Obama does not yet have his hands on any of the US government's levers of power. But given the evident efficiency so far of his transition efforts, and the fact that the next Congress will be firmly in Democratic control, it is reasonable for him to emphasize his own policy proposals to fill a perceived power vacuum in the nation's capital, says Stephen Hess, a Brookings Institution scholar and author of "What Do We Do Now?," a just-published book on presidential transitions.

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