Obama set to choose his team, Kerry angling for secretary of state.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;}.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;}Barack Obama got down to the task Thursday of choosing a presidential team that faces a mountain of problems, not least the economic crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the euphoria of his historic election win.

The Democrat ducked out of the limelight after becoming America's first black president, but behind-the-scenes activity picked up with the formal creation of a team to handle his transition to power ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Several Democrats said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who won a new six-year term on Tuesday, was angling for secretary of state, AP reported. Sources spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss any private conversations, it added.
Kerry’s spokeswoman, Brigid O’Rourke, disputed the reports.
James Steinberg, a former Clinton adviser, is a top contender for national security adviser. Susan Rice, another former Clinton aide, could be considered for that job or another senior post.
Obama had relied heavily on three foreign policy experts in his campaign staff who are likely to end up in the White House or the State Department. They are Mark Lippert and Denis McDonough, both former Senate aides, and Ben Rhodes, Obama's foreign policy speechwriter.
With wars under way in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama might consider keeping Robert Gates on as secretary of defense. He might also consider tapping former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, a close adviser.
In light of the financial crisis, Obama is expected to quickly name members of his economic team. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who served in the Clinton administration, and Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, are among the names being mentioned for Treasury secretary.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has pledged to work with Obama to ensure a smooth transition. He has already set up desks and phone lines at the department where Obama’s incoming Treasury team can work between now and the inauguration.
Obama’s transition team is headed by John Podesta, who served as chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton; Pete Rouse, who has been Obama’s chief of staff in the Senate, and Valerie Jarrett, a friend of the president-elect and campaign adviser.