NAME: Patrick Gaspard

AGE: 41

NEW APPOINTMENT: White House political director (the position Rahm Emanuel initially held under Clinton)

HOW HE KNOWS OBAMA: Worked as the campaign's political director from June 2008 until the election; now associate personnel director for the transition.

OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Until de-registering a few weeks ago, he was lead political operative (lobbyist) at 1199, the SEIU's mid-Atlantic healthcare labor union; also national field director in 2004 for America Coming Together (ACT), a 527 get-out-the-vote group.

KNOWN FOR: Organizing successful ground operations for state and local races, including SEIU primary support for Obama in states like Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

CONTROVERSIES: Under his watch, ACT employed convicted felons as canvassers; ACT was later found to have violated some campaign finance laws and fined $775,000

TRIVIA: Gaspard is Haitian-American; he is considered one of the few outsiders with no strong Clinton ties thus far on Obama's staff; he told Obama after the first presidential debate, "[You're] more clutch than Michael Jordan."

--Seyward Darby