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365 Days, and Not a Single Cute Kitten

Barack Obama is joined on the golf course in Hawaii by 24-year-old aide Eugene Kang. (Kang is the one wearing the regulation pants.)
Barack Obama is joined on the golf course in Hawaii by 24-year-old aide Eugene Kang. (Kang is the one wearing the regulation pants.) (Pool Photo Via Getty Images)
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So you have to be in the business -- or know someone.

No Bureaucrat, Wolfson

There's been chatter that the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign's communications director, Howard Wolfson, was in line to become perhaps assistant secretary for public affairs or some other top post in Sen. Clinton's new job at Foggy Bottom. We heard yesterday that that's not happening and that he may be landing a new gig in Manhattan.

Maybe he couldn't handle the salary reduction. The State Department position pays but $153,200 a year, a small fraction of his recent earnings. By one calculation, he was paid about $1 million for 18 months on the campaign trail. Another calculation has it at about $800,000.

Either way, government work would be a serious whack in the wallet.

By the way, for that kind of money, Clinton could have hired up to half a dozen Obama stars, including campaign manager David Plouffe, who received around $192,099; Steve Hildebrand (to win Iowa), $194,048; Jeff Berman (to work delegates), $161,589; and the communications team of Robert Gibbs ($194,847), Dan Pfeiffer ($152,515.51), maybe even Bill Burton ($147,438) -- but only if Wolfson's take was closer to the million-dollar estimate.

Nice Approach

When Barack Obama teed off in Waimanalo, Hawaii, on Sunday, his golf partner was a 24-year-old campaign veteran who has risen to become one of Obama's closest confidants.

Eugene Kang, who was photographed on the course with Obama with his red golf shirt tucked in (while Obama was sporting cargo shorts -- what's with that?), is among a small coterie of aides accompanying the president-elect on his vacation.

His official duties include helping connect Obama with political leaders and elected officials across the country. He's so close to the president-elect that some call him "Reggie Jr.," after Obama's ever-present personal assistant, Reggie Love.

It's been a meteoric rise. As a college junior, Kang ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in Ann Arbor, Mich. He worked for Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on the 2006 campaign that landed her in the Senate before he joined Obama's campaign, where he worked on Obama's outreach programs to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

That alone can't account for his ascent. Maybe it isn't lost on the president-elect that Kang has a good drive. He apparently played on his high school golf team.

Moving Out . . .

Army Secretary Pete Geren, who was named acting secretary in March 2007 after Pentagon chief Robert Gates booted former secretary Francis Harvey in the wake of the Walter Reed scandal, won't be staying on in the Obama administration, a senior Army official said yesterday.

Obama transition officials told Geren, a former Texas congressman, that he would be there only until his successor is confirmed, our colleague Ann Scott Tyson reports. Obama transition officials were making calls to various Pentagon officials yesterday telling them they should be prepared to leave on or around Jan. 20.

Transition officials, with the Cabinet and most senior White House posts now filled, are starting to fill in the next tiers of top officials, the nearly 500 deputy and undersecretary and assistant-secretary slots.

At the State Department, career diplomat and Middle East expert C. David Welch, who has been ambassador to Egypt, an assistant secretary of state for international affairs and more recently assistant secretary for Mideast affairs, announced his retirement last week.

With Philip Rucker and Alice Crites

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