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Obama's national security 'team of rivals'

His choice of Gates, Clinton, and Jones reflects his goal of building a bipartisan cabinet.

Strong views: National security adviser nominee Jim Jones shakes hands with President-elect Obama. Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton looks on.

Jeff Haynes/Reuters

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The new national security team President-elect Obama is assembling reflects both caution and political pluck as the commander-in-chief-to-be leans on a Bush holdover as Defense secretary to ease the US out of Iraq and a Washington-savvy retired general to oversee national security matters.

Both choices, Robert Gates to stay on as Defense secretary and James Jones as national security adviser, reflect Mr. Obama’s stated desire to build a bipartisan cabinet that is also effective.

In Secretary Gates, Obama chooses a Defense secretary popular with both parties who will temper his ambitious campaign pledge to get out of Iraq in 16 months. The choice of Mr. Jones, a retired Marine general with deep Washington roots, will help Obama to establish his own national security identity in a town wary of his military inexperience.

The two were formally introduced by Obama Monday along with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his new secretary of State and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security chief, among other new members of his cabinet.

In making his choices, Obama said he sought foreign policy pragmatists who may not agree with one another but who “share a core vision.”

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