Obama reportedly favors Jarrett for Senate

CHICAGO Those who want the job are jockeying for position.

The decision on who will represent Illinois in the Senate is Governor Rod Blagojevich's to make. But Obama friend and confident Valerie Jarrett is the president-elect's preference.

Whether that is merely Obama's personal opinion, or if he intends to lobby on Jarrett's behalf, remains to be seen. After all, Obama has to focus on a national agenda and may not want to be seen trying to influence the governor's call.

Barack and Michelle Obama were in a suite at the Hilton Chicago watching the results that would propel him to the presidency. New photos were released by the campaign showing the Obama family on a night that made history.

Those close to Obama say he's still getting used to the idea that he is president-elect.

"Many people have been with Barack - President-elect Obama before -- but it was a different feeling. He walked in, everyone stood, as they did at the press conference, you knew it was a different day, different attitude," said *Bill Daley, Obama transition advisor

Saturday started with a trip to the gym followed by a phone conversation with Russia's President. The two are said to have agreed to a face-to-face meeting shortly after the inauguration.

In the meantime, Obama is assembling his cabinet. Insiders expect commerce and treasury secretary nominees to be named before December 1.

"While we must recognize that we only have one president at a time and that President Bush is the leader of our government, I want to ensure that we hit the ground running on January 20th because we don't have a moment to lose," obama said in a taped radio address Saturday.

"There's a lot of people telling him to rest, relax. But he's so into what's going on. There are so many serious problems, especially with the economy, he's focused on doing everything he can from day one, hour one," said Alexi Giannoulias, (D) Illinois treasurer and Obama friend.

Obama's new job means his old one will soon be open.

In addition to former Chicago Transit Authority chair and Obama family friend Valerie Jarrett, outgoing State Senate President Emil Jones, Illinois Veteran Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez and Jesse Jackson Jr. are among the names being discussed.

"I anxiously await a phone call from the governor, and I'm sure many Chicagoans do. There are many capable names being bandied about. It would be my honor, but of course, it's his decision," said Jackson.

Former commerce secretary and current Obama advisor Bill Daley said he doesn't have any interest in returning to Washington. When pressed, he said Springfield is a nice city, further hinting that the mayor's brother will be a candidate for governor.

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