His call for greater discipline follows a series of missteps, gaffes and embarrassments over the past week, which represent his first wobble ahead of his inauguration and have underlined the difficulty he faces in the transition from campaigning to governing.
He is planning major announcements on the economy, torture, green energy and healthcare during his first week in power, as part of what insiders say is an “audacious” programme which will “stun” his supporters and fans worldwide.
But The Sunday Telegraph has learned that in a series of pep talks with senior aides, Mr Obama has hammered home that they must be at the very “top of their game” if they are to achieve their ambitious goals after he is sworn in to office on Jan 20.
By Tim Shipman in Washington
The Telegraph (UK)
Careless errors led to inadequate vetting of Bill Richardson, Mr Obama’s choice for commerce secretary, who withdrew his nomination last week after it emerged he is under investigation for steering state funds in New Mexico, where he is governor, to a political donor.
Insiders said that Mr Obama’s senior staff have also had a “wake up call” about the truculence of fellow Democrats in speaking out publicly against Mr Obama’s selection of Leon Panetta as the next CIA director and details of his economic stimulus package.
Mr Panetta’s selection was particularly contentious since no one on Mr Obama’s team bothered to brief senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee before the name was leaked.