We the Partnership

Intelligence briefings during presidential transitions

Michael Morell is a leading intelligence analyst with over 30 years of experience at the CIA, including running the agency. Before retiring from the CIA in 2013, Morell worked for six different presidents and served as former President George W. Bush’s daily intelligence briefer, including on 9/11. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick joined Morell for a wide-ranging discussion about intelligence-sharing during presidential elections and transitions, foreign interference during presidential elections, and how the 2020 candidates can build strong relationships with the intelligence community.

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Preparing the government for a presidential transition

Mary Gibert has one of the most important jobs in Washington today, preparing the federal government for a possible presidential transition. As the federal transition coordinator at the General Services Administration, Gibert and her team are working closely with the White House, the campaign of Democrat Joseph Biden and the federal agencies. In this Transition Lab episode, host David Marchick speaks to Gibert about GSA’s responsibilities in the transition process, the support it will provide to the incumbent president and the challenger, and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected transition planning.

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Planning presidential conventions

Presidential nominating conventions are a major moment for any campaign. Reverend Leah Daughtry and Maria Cino served, respectively, as CEO’s of Democratic and Republican conventions, and join host David Marchick on Transition Lab to discuss their experiences. The two women talk about the role of conventions in political campaigns, whether they give a boost to the candidates, and how the coronavirus pandemic will change conventions this year and in the future.

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Breaking into a male-dominated national security arena

Women are vastly underrepresented in leadership roles within the federal government and in national security fields. In this Transition Lab episode, Jamie Jones Miller, a former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, and Nina Hachigian, a former U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, talk to host David Marchick about their own careers in government, how they handled uncomfortable situations and the importance of bringing more women into leadership positions. Both women are members of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, an organization dedicated to improving gender diversity in the national security field.

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Help wanted: the critical job of selecting 4,000 presidential appointees

The Office of Presidential Personnel faces the herculean task of helping a president select about 4,000-political appointees at the beginning of a new administration and throughout a president’s four-year term. Jonathan McBride and Liza Wright, former directors of the PPO under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively, join host David Marchick on Transition Lab to share their advice on how to land a political appointment and some of the challenges they faced managing the personnel operation.

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The George W. Bush transition to power

George W. Bush had the shortest official transition in history at just 39 days, but secured more political appointees during his first year in office than any other modern president. Clay Johnson,who served as the executive director of Bush’s transition and later as director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, tells host Dave Marchick how Bush brought many of his personnel practices as Texas governor to Washington, how he started his transition early, solicited advice from seasoned Washington veterans and maintained a focus on planning for the new administration even the results of the 2000 election were in dispute.

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The man who ran Washington: James Baker

James Baker worked on five transitions and served in four presidential administrations, including as White House chief of staff and Treasury secretary under President Ronald Reagan, and as secretary of State for President George H.W. Bush. Baker joined host David Marchick on Transition Lab to discuss his long and distinguished career on the national stage.

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Navigating the screening process for high-level political appointees

The vetting process for individuals seeking a political appointment can be long and difficult. And the more senior the position, the more scrutiny appointees receive. Powerhouse attorneys Leslie Kiernan and Robert Rizzi have helped political appointees navigate the vetting process, and share their expertise with host David Marchick. They describe the appointment process, what might disqualify an individual and how the rules change with each administration.

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The worst transition in U.S. history

Abraham Lincoln faced the worst circumstances during the presidential transition in U.S. history, with seven Southern states having seceded from the Union before he took the oath of office on March 4, 1861. Historian Ted Widmer tells host David Marchick about Lincoln’s two-week train ride from Illinois to Washington, D.C. in February 1861, how this journey helped him find his voice, build public support, and set the tone for his presidency. He also described how Lincoln navigated around a plot to assassinate him in Baltimore.

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