Swiftly completing his Cabinet, President-elect Barack Obama named four officials to oversee transportation, labor, trade and small business policy in his new administration Friday but warned that economic recovery may take years.
Little more than a month before he takes office, Obama noted his speed in putting his full economic team in place, saying he had done so at an earlier point than any president in history because of the magnitude of the troubles the country faces.
"Daunting as the challenges we are inheriting may be, I am convinced that our team and the American people are prepared to meet them," he said. "It will take longer than anybody of us would like — years, not months. It will get worse before it gets better."
"But it will get better if we are willing to act boldly and swiftly," Obama said — and he promised to do just that.
At his fifth news conference in as many days, Obama announced his selections of Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois for transportation secretary, California Rep. Hilda Solis for labor secretary, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk for U.S. trade representative and venture capitalist Karen Mills to head the Small Business Administration.
Along with the Cabinet members he's already named, Obama said, "These leaders will help craft a 21st century economic recovery plan with the goal of creating 2.5 million new jobs."
All four appointments must be confirmed by the Senate.
Obama disclosed the latest members of his incoming administration on the eve of a Hawaiian holiday vacation. The Democrat has been pushing to finish putting together most of his Cabinet and White House team before his break.