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Obama's To-do List

Earlier, Brian and I were chatting about presidential priorities, wondering what Obama or Clinton (or McCain) would do first on the domestic-policy front, if elected. To kick this ball around some more, I was just at a forum featuring the candidates' energy advisors—Jason Grumet for Obama, Todd Stern for Clinton, and James Woolsey for McCain—where they were asked how much emphasis each candidate would place on global warming once in office.

Stern replied that climate change and energy would be a "top two" priority for Clinton, along with health care, and suggested that it would be an "organizing principle" for her administration. Woolsey gave a less firm answer, but insisted that McCain saw global warming as an "urgent" problem. Grumet, however, seemed to feel quite strongly that Obama would definitely make this his number-one domestic priority, period.

When the moderators tried to narrow it down and ask if the candidates would start tackling climate change in their first 100 days in office, Stern and Woolsey sort of vaguely assented, but Grumet again went further, noting that Obama would begin work on the issue as president-elect—by attending a scheduled meeting in Poland on revamping the Kyoto Protocol in December of 2008. Obviously the energy advisor is more susceptible than most to thinking that climate change is what Obama "really" cares about, but Obama himself has made similar noises, too...

--Bradford Plumer