OBAMA WHITE HOUSE TEAM STARTS TAKING SHAPE…. These guys aren’t wasting any time.

With his history-making election behind him, Barack Obama was moving ahead with his transition on Wednesday as he prepared to confront the daunting challenges that he will have to face as president in just 76 days, amid two wars and the gravest economic crisis to afflict the country since the Great Depression.

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a close friend of Mr. Obama, has been offered the post of his White House chief of staff and is expected to accept, according to Democrats familiar with the process.

And the three co-leaders of Mr. Obama’s transition team are to be announced Wednesday — John D. Podesta, the former Clinton chief of staff; Valerie Jarrett, a longtime Obama adviser; and Pete Rouse, Mr. Obama’s Senate chief of staff.

MSNBC reports that Emanuel has accepted the job, though I haven’t seen confirmation elsewhere. (I can appreciate the concerns about Emanuel; in fact, I share many of them. But as far as I can tell, the COS position is more managerial than ideological. I don’t see any reason to think Emanuel will be setting the WH agenda, but rather, will help execute it.) Update: MSNBC has now walked its report back, saying Emanuel has not agreed to accept the offer. This does not mean he won’t.

What’s more, the Politico reports that Obama’s team is considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Caroline Kennedy as a possible U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Colin Powell for secretary of defense or education. (Powell dismissed talk of a possible role in Obama’s administration).

As for the rest of the team, the Obama-Biden transition team also announced an advisory board consisting of Carol Browner, William Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Governor Janet Napolitano, Federico Pena, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein, and Ted Kaufman.

For those following the transition very closely, the Huffington Post has set up a page solely devoted to the subject.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.