RASHAD HUSSAIN ’ 99, deputy associate counsel
to the president.
When someone mentioned Hussain to
Cassandra Butts ’ 87 during her search for
lawyers to support her in the White House,
she took action. “I stole him from judiciary,”
Hussain worked for the House minority
leader in 1999 and for the House Judiciary
Committee after Sept. 11, where he was
involved in the Democratic push to balance
the need for security with the protection of
civil liberties in the drafting of the Patriot Act.
Hussain left that job to earn a joint degree at
Harvard Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy
School of Government before returning to clerk
for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith
and then moving to the judiciary committee.
ROB NABORS ’ 96 (MA), deputy director of the
Office of Management and Budget.
“I think my career as a civil servant has
come as a surprise to everybody,” Nabors says.
He was working on a doctorate at UNC,
focused on developing a quantitative model
of why political officials make the decisions
they do, when he took a shot at a job in D.C.
“I got one interview at the White House and
got the job,” Nabors recalls. “Years later,
someone told me that was a mercy interview.
I was an academic, not a public policy guy.”
Luck or talent, Nabors ended up with the
right job. He worked at the OMB in the
Clinton administration and then became staff
D. JORDAN WHICHARD IV ’07, trip coordinator
for the White House scheduling and advance
After working on the advance team for the
campaign, Whichard coordinated activities on
the Capitol Mall during the inauguration.
As a rising sophomore at UNC, Whichard
watched Obama address the 2004 Democratic
convention. He was impressed. Obama “
represented a new approach to government,” he
says he remembered thinking. “He has a more
open attitude. It’s a politics of progress.”
Approaching graduation, Whichard says, “I
had decided that what I didn’t want to do was
sit at a desk.” He looked for a post with the
campaign, and the job Whichard found is
about as far from a desk job as you can get.
He worked for the Obama advance team, first
handling “vehicle logistics” and then scouting
sites for rallies, town meetings and other events.
“I coordinated with the Secret Service,
communications, sound and lights,” he says.
“When you flipped on the television and saw
As a part of the counsel’s office, Hussain
says, “we are jacks of all trade. We work on a
variety of legal issues regarding what you can
and can’t do in government.”
During the campaign, Obama was aggressive in the use of the Internet. “I’ll be looking
at issues of what can and can’t be done on a
dot-gov site,” Hussain says. “For example,
there can be no campaigning, no advertising
and no collecting of cookies.” That is, no
planting of code that catches and follows
users as they come and go from a site.
As for the day-to-day job, Hussain admits
that “when you are working in the Situation
Room and the Roosevelt Room right next
to the Oval Office, it is surreal. At the same
time, there is so much work to do, you don’t
have time to really think about it.”
director of the House Appropriations
Committee, responsible for the supervision of
some 12 appropriations bills each year and
following those budgets line by line. “I will
say I’m detail-oriented,” Nabors says with a
laugh, “but my staff will say I’m a pain.”
As for how he was tapped by Obama,
Nabors says, “I’m convinced they pulled my
name out of a hat.” On the other hand, he
admits, “OMB is a specialized world. It’s a
different language and a relatively constrained
group of people, so I know a lot of the people
who are in play there.” He adds, “Obama has
made a commitment to do a line-by-line
review, and I have written budgets line by line.”
COURTESY D. JORDAN WHICHARD IV ’07
Jordan Whichard IV ’07 didn’t want a desk job after graduation. He got a position with the Obama campaign and is
now in the White House planning events.
the senator in front of a ‘change’ banner, I was
one of the team setting that up.”
Whichard’s job included advance work for
rallies in Berlin and in the Smith Center in
Chapel Hill. His inauguration work included
coordinating the crews that brought in giant
video screens on the mall so the spectators
too far away from the Capitol could still see
TARSHA FRANKLIN ’ 96, campaign field
Like many other alumni, Franklin didn’t
dream of a White House job when she
joined the campaign. In fact, she deferred
her dream to help get Obama elected.
Last summer, Franklin, who also earned
a master’s degree in public health from
Carolina in 2005, was home in Fayetteville
preparing to head to medical school when
she decided to
had worked as a
Capitol Hill and
COURTESY TARSHA FRANKLIN ’ 96 CRED-
Africa, but it
Tarsha Franklin ’ 96 put plans
on hold for medical school to
on doors in her
join the N.C. campaign.
glimpse a unity that she’d only heard about
from her parents, who were active in the
1960s civil rights movement.
“I was talking to everyday folks, and
people just had so much hope,” she says.
“People of all ages, genders, races and religions were wanting to move in a singular
direction. That was just something I had
Franklin pitched in at the Fayetteville
campaign office, setting up desks, emptying
trash cans and hanging decorations. As the
historically large campaign effort in North
Carolina grew, she was offered a full-time
job as a field organizer. She took a few
weeks to think, pray and talk to family and
friends before deciding to delay medical
school for a year. Franklin recruited, trained
and organized volunteers, handling daily
administrative tasks and working a few
nights until 4 a.m. “It was a cross between
being an officer and also infantry at the
same time,” says Franklin, whose father was
in the military.
In September, she’ll leave for the Latin
American School of Medicine in Cuba, as
she had planned to do last fall, but now
feeling that she got a chance to help extend
her parents’ work. “I grew up hearing every
single day of my life about the legacy of
Dr. King and Ms. Rosa Parks and Medgar
Evers and the Kennedys. We’re called
Generation X, and we haven’t gotten the
most positive feedback. I feel like for our
generation, this was the first collective
movement we could really call our own.”