Who Will Be Obama's CTO?

At least one observer thinks Google's Eric Schmidt could be tapped.

One highly touted area of President-elect Barack Obama's platform has been his pledge to appoint a chief technology officer for the nation -- a move that may have dramatic implications for driving sweeping changes in tech policy and the country's economy.

"The big question is, specifically, where does this person fit in this hierarchy in the administration?" said Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Forum, a conference and Web site that tracks how technology is influencing politics.

"Is it a cabinet-level position, like a national security advisor, who sits at the right or left hand of the president and advises him on all kinds of tech issues? Or is it an administrative position, buried in the general services administration without impact on other agencies? Or is it someone who works hand-in-hand with the White House chief of staff, or with legislative aides to the president?"

"It remains to be seen whether that commitment will play out," Rasiej said. "Still, it's a good sign that we have at least the first presidential candidate mentioning the term 'CTO' during a presidential campaign.

As for who might get the nod for the position, Rasiej suggested that Google CEO Eric Schmidt might be a likely candidate. Late last month, Schmidt endorsed Obama and joined him during a roundtable discussion on the economy.

"I can imagine Eric Schmidt having a role in the White House ... having as strong a voice as the national security advisor on the economy, education, healthcare -- you name it," Rasiej said.

TAGS: Google,policy,Congress

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