Inside the Transition: Technology, Innovation and Government Reform

The Obama Administation’s commitment to reform and transparency is embodied by the one of the Transition’s most dynamic groups—the TIGR (Technology, Innovation and Government Reform) Team.

The experts who serve in TIGR advocated for some of our most innovative features on—including the Citizen’s Briefing Book and Seat at the Table. Watch the video and get to know the people behind the ideas—and let us know your reaction to some of the initiatives they’re proposing.

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From Lady Liberty to renewable energy

Just a few days before his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama stopped in Bedford Heights, Ohio, to visit the Cardinal Fastener factory there.

In his remarks, President-elect Obama pointed out that the company's roots in the country go deep -- its bolts appear in both the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge -- but it now earns half its profits from the manufacture of parts for wind turbines.

"In some ways you can't think of a more iconic company than Cardinal Fastener," President-elect Obama said. "The story of this that renewable energy isn't something pie in the sky. It's not part of a far off future. It's happening all acorss America right now."

Watch the video of the President-elect's tour of the factory and his remarks below:

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Our democratic tradition

In his final weekly address before assuming office, President-elect Barack Obama speaks about the upcoming Inauguration activities, a tradition at the heart of our democracy.

This year's inauguration will be the most open and accessible in history. Thousands of people will come together -- not just in the capital, but across the nation -- to serve their communities and ring in a new era of change in America.

Watch the final Weekly Address from the President-elect below.

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Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Radio Address on Inauguration Week
January 17, 2009

Good morning. On Tuesday, the world will be watching as America celebrates a rite that goes to the heart of our greatness as a nation. For the forty-third time, we will execute the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next.

The first Inauguration took place 220 years ago. Our nation’s capital had yet to be built, so President George Washington took the oath of office in New York City. It was a spring day, just over a decade after the birth of our nation, as Washington assumed the new office that he would do so much to shape, and swore an oath to the Constitution that guides us to this very day.

Since then, Inaugurations have taken place during times of war and peace; in Depression and prosperity. Our democracy has undergone many changes, and our people have taken many steps in pursuit of a more perfect union. What has always endured is this peaceful and orderly transition of power.

For us, it is easy to take this central aspect of our democracy for granted. But we must remember that our nation was founded at a time of Kings and Queens, and even today billions of people around the world cannot imagine their leaders giving up power without strife or bloodshed.

Through the ages, many have struggled for the right to live in a land where power does not belong to one person or party, and many brave Americans have fought and died to help advance that right. Through the long twilight struggle of the Cold War, our transitions from one President to the next provided a stark contrast to the suffocating grip of Soviet Communism. And today, the resilience of our democracy stands in opposition to the extremists who would tear it down.

Here at home, transitions also remind us that what we hold in common as Americans far outweighs our political differences. Throughout the current transition, President Bush and his Administration have extended the hand of cooperation, and provided invaluable assistance to my team as we prepare to hit the ground running on January 20th.

There is much work to be done. But now, all Americans hold within our hands the promise of a new beginning.

That is why the events of the next several days are not simply about the inauguration of an American President – they will be a celebration of the American people. We will carry the voices of ordinary Americans to Washington. We will invite people across the country to work on behalf of a common purpose through a national day of service on Monday. And we will have the most open and accessible Inauguration in history – for those who travel to the capital, and for those who choose one of the many ways to participate in the Inauguration from their own communities and their own homes.

Together, we know that this is a time of great challenge for the American people. Difficult days are upon us, and even more difficult days lie ahead. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in great turmoil. And there is so much work that must be done to restore peace and advance prosperity. But as we approach this time-honored American tradition, we are reminded that our challenges can be met if we summon the spirit that has sustained our democracy since George Washington took the first oath of office.

Addressing the nation that day, Washington explained his decision to serve, saying, “I was called by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.” This Tuesday, we can reaffirm our own veneration and love for our country and our democracy. We can once again provide an example to the world, and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose and progress at home.


Wrapping up the Citizen’s Briefing Book

Every day, the President receives books filled with facts and recommendations to be considered while crafting and enacting policies.

The Citizen's Briefing Book -- a project that has enabled everyday Americans to share their expertise and insight with President Obama -- has been a tremendous success so far.

Michael Strautmanis, Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Transition, was particularly impressed by the enthusiastic response the feature has elicited.

"We have had an unbelievable response -- over 70,000 people participated, half a million votes, and tens of thousands of wonderful ideas," Strautmanis said.

Watch Mr. Stratumanis' reaction below:

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The Citizen's Briefing Book will be open for ideas, comments, and voting until Sunday at 6pm. President Obama will later receive the Citizen's Briefing Book: a unique compilation of the ideas and feedback submitted completely by the community.

We're eager to carry this community's enthusiasm forward in the coming months and years. We invite all Americans to join the new administration online at after President-elect Obama is sworn in.

Inside the Transition: More behind-the-scenes videos from the Office of Public Liaison

On Wednesday, we put up videos from our Office of Public Liaison's meetings with women small business owners, LGBT and youth groups. Today we're adding meetings with Asian American and Pacific Islander and Hispanic groups to the series.

The Transition has been an opportunity to get feedback from people from a huge diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Watch the videos and let us know your perspective on what the Obama Administration's priorities should be.

Inside the Transition: Asian American and Pacific Islander Groups

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Inside the Transition: Hispanic Groups

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Citizen’s Briefing Book: Brian Deese reacts

Browsing through the Citizen's Briefing Book, Transition Economic policy team member Brian Deese echoed the importance of an idea posted by a visitor to the site.

"The commentor is completely right," Deese said. "Figuring out ways to help small businesses pursue new, cutting-edge areas of our economy is going to be the key to making sure that we continue to have good, middle class job growth in this country."

In a video response, Deese runs through some of the thousands of ideas and comments posted on the Citizen's Briefing Book that focus on the bold actions needed to help get our economy back on track.

Watch the video below, then visit the Citizen's Briefing Book and make your voice heard.

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Citizen’s Briefing Book: Tom Daschle reacts

"The Citizen's Briefing Book is important to us. And we know it will be important to you, as well."

That's what Tom Daschle, Secretary-designate of Health and Human Services, had to say after sitting down to read through some of the top rated ideas and comments in our new feature.

The Citizen's Briefing Book, as Sen. Daschle points out, covers the whole range of concerns that many Americans are facing during these unsteady times.

Healthcare and wellness are just two of those important issues. In his video, Sen. Daschle picks out a few of those ideas in the Citizen's Briefing Book that have received the most praise and attention from the community. Check out Sen. Daschle's response in the video below.

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Citizen’s Briefing Book: Dr. Steven Chu reacts

In the upcoming Obama administration, Dr. Steven Chu will lead the charge to find solutions to the growing energy problems we face.

Dr. Chu has been following the comments and ideas in the Citizen's Briefing Book from Americans who understand the scope of these problems, and who are offering bold solutions of their own.

In his video response, Dr. Chu goes in-depth to explore several ideas from the community, and discusses the science behind many of the submissions.

He gives detailed feedback on issues like rising global temperatures, a nationalized energy smart grid, and a "Manhattan-style project" to modernize green technologies.

Watch his full video reaction below:

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Citizen’s Briefing Book: Arne Duncan reacts

"Working collectively, together with the President-elect, we have the chance to do something extraordinary."

That's just part of the reaction we got from talking with Secretary-designate of Education Arne Duncan about the Citizen's Briefing Book project now underway on the site.

Mr. Duncan adds an insider's viewpoint to some of the topics that the community has raised in the Citizen's Briefing Book -- issues like student loan forgiveness, more access to higher education, increasing the money going into Pell Grants, and creating alternative routes into the teaching profession.

With your input, the Citizen's Briefing Book is becoming a venue for these ideas and others to be relayed directly to the President.

Watch Mr. Duncan's video here, and then add your own ideas and comments in the Citizen's Briefing Book.

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Vice President-elect Biden returns to D.C. from fact-finding trip

Vice President-elect Joe Biden returned to Washington D.C. today and toured the Transition offices with President-elect Barack Obama.

They were joined by Armed Services Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who recently traveled with Vice President-elect Biden to Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq as part of a bipartisan fact-finding delegation.

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