WASHINGTON (AFP) - Barack Obama picked former Senate leader Tom Daschle to end the US healthcare crisis and stocked his White House staff with loyal campaign aides, as new contenders emerged Thursday for key cabinet posts. The president-elect, who will take office in January, spent Wednesday in his Chicago transition office, but a Democratic official said he had asked ex-South Dakota senator Daschle to be health and human services secretary. Obama was also reported to have candidates in mind to head the key departments of Homeland Security and Commerce. US media reported he was likely to name Democratic Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, 50, to run the Department of Homeland Security, which was created following the 9/11 terrors attacks. The popular two-term governor was an early Obama supporter and has been frequently mentioned as a possible cabinet member. On Thursday the Washington Post cited Democratic sources as saying Napolitano was Obama's choice to head the sprawling federal agency responsible for immigration policy and protecting US territory from terrorist attacks. On Wednesday she downplayed the prospects of joining the administration, saying she was "not campaigning nor seeking a job," CBS News reported. Chicago billionaire businesswoman Penny Pritzker, 49, is the leading candidate to be commerce secretary, CNN reported citing multiple sources. Pritzker, an heir of the Chicago family that founded the Hyatt chain of hotels, raised record amounts of money as Obama's national finance chair for his campaign. Daschle, 60, will be tasked with shepherding healthcare reform legislation through Congress in line with Obama's campaign vow to revamp the US medical system to help 45 million Americans who have no health insurance. The last major healthcare reform attempt by a Democratic president, piloted by Hillary Clinton during her husband Bill Clinton's administration, ended in a notorious failure. More than a decade on, there was no firm indication Wednesday on whether the former first lady would accept Obama's overtures concerning the key post of secretary of state " but reports suggested the two were inching towards a deal. The Wall Street Journal reported former president Clinton had removed a barrier to the appointment by offering to submit his future charitable and business dealings to an ethics review if his wife became the top US diplomat. Some analysts have questioned whether Bill Clinton's myriad business deals, donor lists and contacts with foreign governments could raise conflicts of interest if his wife became the face of US foreign policy. And political publication Politico reported Thursday that a Clinton source said the job is likely to be offered to and accepted by Clinton. "She does have a sense of history, and we are at a critical moment in our history," the unnamed official was quoted as saying. "It's all hands on deck as far as making the Obama administration a success," the source said. Sixty-two days before Obama is sworn in on January 20, he announced a raft of new top staff appointments in the White House, and offered broad hints of the make-up of his national security council team. David Axelrod, a Chicago political consultant who is perhaps Obama's closest aide after they first met in the early 1990s, will work in the White House as senior advisor to the president. Greg Craig, another advisor who was in at the start of Obama's presidential campaign, will serve as special counsel " the president's top lawyer. Craig is a former director of policy planning in the State Department and directed Bill Clinton's impeachment defense. Obama announced a list of former campaign advisors who will lead working groups to frame policy and ensure his administration gets off to a fast start. Daschle will lead the healthcare panel, while James Steinberg, a hot tip to be national security advisor, was named to head a national security working group. Another close foreign policy aide, Susan Rice, also tipped for a top White House or State Department post, will work alongside Steinberg.