POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/18

Clinton Could Still Reject State Offer

Sen. Hillary Clinton “isn’t certain she would accept the Secretary of State post even if Barack Obama offers it to her,” according to Politico

“Press reports that portray Clinton as willing to accept the job – once the Obama transition team vets Bill Clinton’s philanthropic and business ventures – are inaccurate.” 

Holder Tapped as Attorney General

President-elect Obama has decided to pick Eric Holder as his attorney general, “putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department,” Newsweek reports.

“Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal ‘vetting’ review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days, Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted.” 

“The announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments.”

UpdateMSNBC confirms the report.

Patterson Strong in New York Gubernatorial Race

If Sen. Hillary Clinton moves on to become Secretary of State in the Obama administration, the buzz in New York has Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) a likely candidate to fill her seat. 

That might be a good thing for Cuomo since a new Siena Research Institute poll finds Gov. David Patterson (D) beating Cuomo handily in a Democratic primary for governor, 53% to 25%.

In general election match ups, Patterson beats Rudy Giuliani (R), 49% to 43%, while Giuliani bests Cuomo, 46% to 44%.

Obama Interview Seen By 25 Million

The 60 Minutes interview with President-elect Barack Obama drew 25.1 million viewers last Sunday, the largest audience among all the programs on television so far this season.

The audience was also the program’s largest in nearly a decade.

Lieberman Keeps Committee Post

Senate Democrats “backed away from a major rebuke” of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), “keeping their colleague as the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the next Congress and stripping him only of his slot on a lesser subcommittee,” according to Roll Call.

Democratic senators approved the motion by a resounding vote of 42 to 13.

Holbrooke Pushing for Secretary of State

The Los Angeles Times notes former Ambassador Richard Holbrooke “faces a diplomatic test like none before: persuading President-elect Barack Obama and his team to give him the prized job of secretary of State.”

“But this most recent task is a challenge because of Holbrooke’s history of conflict with core members of Obama’s foreign policy team. In addition, some liberal Obama supporters, fretting that leading candidates for his Cabinet seem too centrist, believe Holbrooke is too much of a hawk for the job.”

If that doesn’t work out: “There also has been discussion of a senior intelligence post for Holbrooke. And some Obama team members have raised the possibility that Holbrooke might be named a high-level envoy for Iraq and Afghanistan — an assignment that could impinge on the secretary of State’s duties.”

No Leaks, No Drama

Marc Ambinder: “It’s kind of amazing, if you think about it, that Obama, according to reports, is a step away from picking his chief political rival to be Secretary of State, and not one hint of serious anxiety about the choice has gotten out.”

“Seriously — think about the legions of former staffers Daschle and Kerry staffers who work for Obama; they’re not talking to the press about their disappointment. If the decision’s been made, then the drama’s done. No looking backwards.”

Burrowing Bushies

The Bush administration is shifting dozens of key deputies into senior civil service posts, the Washington Post reports.

“The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called ‘burrowing’ by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs…”

“The practice of placing political appointees into permanent civil service posts before an administration ends is not new. In its last 12 months, the Clinton administration approved 47 such moves, including seven at the senior executive level. Federal employees with civil service status receive job protections that make it very difficult for managers to remove them.”

Senate Race Update

U.S. Senate races in Georgia, Minnesota and Alaska remain unresolved.

In Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes the first day of early voting for the run off between Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Jim Martin (D) began yesterday with elections officials “across the region reporting steady voting — and, in some places, lines.”

In Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Al Franken (D) wants erroneously rejected absentee ballots to be counted in the state’s official tally, which will be certified today. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) leads Franken by 215 votes. A manual recount is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

In Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News notes the vote count begins again with approximately 24,000 left. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) trails challenger Mark Begich (D) by 1022 votes.

Meanwhile, Roll Call notes Senate Republicans “hope to get through today’s Conference organizational meeting with as little drama as possible and could decide to punt on the thorniest question — whether to formally expel Stevens from their ranks.”

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