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Obama's Other Running Mate: Tech

Stocks in this article: GOOG AMZN MSFT

President-elect Barack Obama already is beginning to lay the groundwork for changes in the landscape for technology in this country.

Obama's agenda was spelled out in his technology platform during the presidential campaign.

From the creation of a chief technology officer to an ambitious electronic medical records plan, he is seeking to renew Washington's focus on technology.

There is plenty of speculation over who will become the country's first chief technology officer. The cabinet-level position will help federal agencies implement the latest technology tools and practices and will serve as a link between government IT and the wider tech sector.

Media reports suggest Google (GOOG) CEO (and vocal Obama supporter) Eric Schmidt, Internet guru Vint Cerf, and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt as possible candidates.

Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, recently threw his weight behind Obama because of the president-elect's commitment to net neutrality, while Hundt served as a proxy for Obama in a key debate on technology issues during the campaign.

Other potential candidates identified by the media include Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) CEO Jeff Bezos, Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten, and even Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) CEO Steve Ballmer.

A Washington insider such as Hundt would bring a high level of regulatory and political expertise to the CTO's role, while Schmidt and Bezos could use their experience with cutting edge technologies to bring information technology in the federal government into the 21st century.

Whoever becomes chief technology officer, Silicon Valley is expected to have the ear of the president during the coming years. Employees at Microsoft and Google were amongst Obama's top campaign contributors, according to research from the Center For Responsive Politics.

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