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Sen. Schumer Proves Worthy of 'The Amazing Race'

The Communicators

Speaking of HHS, Linda Douglass, former ABC News correspondent and more recently Obama spokeswoman and even more recently press secretary for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, is expected to be named the department's assistant secretary for public affairs. Jenny Backus, a longtime Democratic media strategist who is doing media work in the transition for Daschle, is expected to get a top communications/strategy post at the department.

More Personnel Rumors

Buzz is that John Berry, who was assistant interior secretary for policy, management and budget and then executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation before becoming director of the National Zoo, has accepted an Obama offer to be director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Goldman Sachs executive Mark Patterson, now volunteering on the transition team, is said to be Treasury secretary-designate (and Goldman Sachs alum) Timothy F. Geithner's pick for his chief of staff. Jason Furman, who was most recently at the Brookings Institution and worked hard on the presidential campaign, is in line to be deputy to White House economy czar Lawrence H. Summers.

Judge of Judges

Most every lawyer who yearns for the black robes is now recalling going to summer camp, high school, college or just being really good friends with Washington lawyer Mark Gitenstein, former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's rumored to be the choice to head the Justice Department's Office of Policy Development -- making him the point man for screening Obama's judicial picks.

Still on the Job

Need to postpone the farewell party. Mark Dybul, President Bush's global AIDS coordinator, informed his staff via e-mail Friday that he was asked to stay on for an indeterminate length of time. Dybul, an openly gay physician, has overseen the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. Some reproductive rights and AIDS advocates have complained that the international relief program has been hampered by the president's conservative social views.

Earlier speculation had Nils Daulaire, president and chief executive of the Global Health Council, as a top contender. But apparently nothing's happening just yet, according to an e-mail that Dybul sent Friday night to his staff, our colleague Ceci Connolly reports.


"I wanted to let you know that I have been asked to rescind my resignation so I will be continuing in the coordinator position beyond the inauguration. Look forward to our continuing work together."

With Philip Rucker

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