President-elect Obama has named Melody Barnes, the former general counsel to Sen. Ted Kennedy and the policy guru at the Center for American Progress, as the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Her top priority will be health care, but she’ll also work on education issues, according to the CAP’s Think Progress blog.
Barnes, of Portfolio-gate fame, is taking a key domestic policy position in the White House that will undoubtedly help shape Obama’s education proposals. After all, current Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings started out serving in a similar role for President Bush, as his domestic policy assistant, from where she helped write No Child Left Behind and had significant influence over its implementation. (And some—AKA Mike Petrilli—would say Spellings micromanaged implementation of NCLB’s Reading First program from the White House.)