President-elect Obama and his transition team now have 77 days to assemble a staff and Cabinet, determine the chief policies and goals for their first term and year in office, rework the federal budget accordingly and begin to make 7,840 presidential appointments of which 1,177 will require Senate confirmation. The FBI does the background checks.

Want to see the list of positions at the center of federal government transition? The two definitive sources on this topic are the government’s Plum Book and the Brooking Institution’s Prune book:

Plum Book

The 2004 Prune Book

GAO Lists Top “Urgent Issues” for Next President and Congress

Message to the President-elect’s Transition Team

Office of the President Elect

One White House chief of staff, who I was consoling after a particularly tough day, confessed to me that the President’s job was to tell the chosen applicant yes for the 1,177 presidential appointees requiring Senate confirmation and his job was to tell 999 applicants per position no.