Barack Obama argued for months that victory for his opponent would be akin to a third term for President Bush. But as he embarks on his own presidency, Mr. Obama faces the challenge of building an administration that does not look like a third term for former President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Obama tried to balance his initial announcement by naming two co-chairmen to work with Mr. Podesta on the transition, and he will soon introduce other key advisers without any Clinton pedigrees.
But this is only the beginning of a delicate balancing act for Mr. Obama: between bringing a new generation of leadership to Washington as a signal of his commitment to his pledge to change politics, and recruiting, at a time of intense economic and national security challenges, from the biggest pool of Democrats with national executive branch experience.
The tension has already generated concern among the Obama aides who labored for two years to turn an underdog into a president, in part by beating Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York to win the Democratic nomination, only to watch him turn to the Clinton crowd when it comes time to stock a government.
As loyalists in his Chicago headquarters spent the final weeks of the campaign focused on finishing the election, they were deliberately kept away from the fledgling transition efforts begun by Mr. Podesta under Mr. Obama’s direction in Washington.