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Joe Biden. Photo: JIM WATSON / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is considering some well-known Republicans — think Meg Whitman types — for Commerce secretary as a way to signal to red-state Americans he understands their concerns and plans to address them.

The big picture: Biden's team is debating the political upside of an across-the-aisle pick, and it's still very possible the president-elect will settle on an all-Democratic Cabinet, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • For Commerce, he also could select a mostly apolitical CEO, like former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, as a neutral way to reach out to the business community. The Commerce secretary is considered an administration's ambassador to the business world.

Why it matters: While Biden again promised Monday night to be a “president for all Americans,” his team hasn’t decided on a strategy to convince some of the 74 million Trump voters he will address their issues.

  • Democratic and progressive criticism of picking a Republican centers on the changing nature of the GOP, which has fully embraced President Trump — even during his election challenges.
  • Some possible Republican picks like Whitman, the former Hewlett Packard CEO, are considered RINOs, or traitors, by the new Republican base. She endorsed Biden.
  • Aside from short-term favorable media coverage, some Biden confidants are unconvinced there is a long-term benefit from selecting a Republican.

Flashback: President Obama nominated Republicans for the top jobs at the departments of Defense and Transportation, and initially named GOP Senator Judd Gregg to run Commerce. Gregg ultimately withdrew his name, citing differences over the stimulus package at that time.

  • President George W. Bush chose a former Democratic lawmaker, Norman Mineta, to be his Transportation secretary.
  • Trump didn't pick any Democratic politicians, though his daughter Ivanka and his first director of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, were registered Democrats.

Be Smart: While Biden and his team are working hard to satisfy all interest groups, the intensity of some of the advocacy — and a dwindling number of seats — may keep him from having room for a Republican in his Cabinet.

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
15 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

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