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Page last updated at 22:54 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Obama 'plans Daschle health post'

Tom Daschle
Mr Daschle will help push through Mr Obama's health reform agenda

US President-elect Barack Obama will appoint senior Democrat Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services Secretary, according to US media reports.

Mr Daschle was the Democrats' Senate Majority Leader from 2001 until 2003.

As head of the health and human services department, Mr Daschle will oversee Mr Obama's proposed reforms to the US healthcare system.

Mr Obama's transition team has confirmed a number of other key advisers and top administration posts.

Senate heavyweight

The BBC's Adam Brookes, in Washington, says the decision to appoint Mr Daschle shows that Mr Obama feels he needs a Senate heavyweight to help him persuade Congress to back major reforms.

During the election campaign, Mr Obama pledged to offer a new state-administered health insurance plan to people who are currently uninsured, while assuring people who were satisfied with their existing employer-provided coverage that they would not be forced to give it up.

The details of his reform package could change, however, as Mr Obama attempts to push legislation through Congress.

The news of Mr Daschle's probable appointment follows reports that Mr Obama has decided to appoint Eric Holder as his attorney-general, and may ask former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton to serve as secretary of state.

Key posts that were announced by Mr Obama's transition team on Wednesday were:

Senior Adviser to the President: David Axelrod - served as Mr Obama's chief strategist during the presidential campaign, and led his 2004 Senate campaign.

Staff Secretary: Lisa Brown - currently the executive director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. She served as Counsel to Vice-President Al Gore from September 1999 to January 2001.

White House Counsel: Gregory Craig - served under President Bill Clinton as Assistant to the President and Special Counsel. He worked for Senator Edward Kennedy as Senior Adviser on Defence, Foreign Policy and National Security from 1984 to 1988.

Cabinet Secretary: Chris Lu - has worked for Mr Obama as Legislative Director and Acting Chief of Staff in Mr Obama's Senate office, as well as a policy adviser during the presidential campaign. He is now the executive director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

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