President-elect Barack Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel

Photo: AP/Wide World Photos

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As he makes his transition into the White House, what's next for President-elect Obama? "One thing I think the Obama team has learned a lot from is the mistakes we made in the Clinton transition," George says. Choosing U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a fellow Chicagoan, as his chief of staff right off the bat is an indication of this. "It's one sign he wants to have some order and discipline and control," he says. "One of the reasons that President-elect Obama picked him is that he told friends that he knows Rahm Emanuel has got his back. You need someone like that."

Although Rahm took some time to accept the position, George says he understands the hesitation. "He's in the Congress right now on track to one day possibly to be Speaker of the House," he says. "Plus, even more important, he's got three young kids in Chicago." But when U.S. Rep. Emanuel chose to accept the position, George says he wasn't surprised. "When the president-elect says, 'I need you to do this,' it's almost impossible to say no."