Obama Gets High Marks for Transition

President-elect Obama’s honeymoon is underway: 67% in a new ABC News pollapprove of his work on the transition so far.

“Approval of Obama’s handling of the transition is slightly better than Bill Clinton’s 62% in mid-November 1992. Clinton improved from there, to 72% in mid-December and 81% just before his inauguration in mid-January 1993.”

“George W. Bush’s grade late in his transition also was high, albeit not as high as Clinton’s — 72% in mid-January 2001.”

Rice Headed to United Nations

ABC News has learned that Dr. Susan Rice has emerged as the leading candidate to be President-elect Obama’s nominee as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

“Dr. Rice, a member of President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, was involved in President-elect Obama’s campaign as a senior foreign policy adviser.”

Biden Aide Picked for His Senate Seat

Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) will appoint Ted Kaufman, a longtime, close adviser to Sen. Joe Biden to fill the senator’s seat until a 2010 special election, according to the Wilmington News Journal.

“The selection of the former Biden chief of staff was widely seen as a move by Vice president-elect Biden to protect his seat for his oldest son, Attorney General Beau Biden, now deploying to Iraq with his Delaware National Guard unit.”

“Snubbed with the choice was Lt. Gov. John Carney, considered a party favorite for the appointment. Carney as recently as last week had said he would take the job under any terms offered, including as a ‘placeholder’ who would serve only until the 2010 regular election.”

Suspending Campaign Doomed McCain

A post-election assessment by Wilson Research Strategies concludes that though Barack Obama “leveraged a Democratic advantage on the economy throughout the campaign,” it wasn’t until John McCain’s “ill-fated efforts to ‘lead’ on the bailout that he truly lost control of the issue.”

Chambliss Expands Lead in Georgia Run Off

In Georgia’s U.S. Senate run off, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has expanded his lead to six points over Jim Martin (D), 52% to 46%, an improvement from the three point advantage he had on election day.

Chambliss is benefiting from increased support with independent voters since the general election.

However, a new DSCC poll shows Chambliss leading by only two points, 48% to 46%.

Who’s the Budget Director?

Missing from today’s roll out of President-elect Obama’s economic team: Peter Orszag, rumored to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Ben Smith offers a possible clue: “Obama’s staff won’t elaborate, but the President-elect said just now that he’d roll out a plan to cut the federal budget tomorrow — something both presidential candidates said they’d do, but neither detailed.”

Another press conference is scheduled for tomorrow.

Biden Replacement to be Named?

Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s office “said she will make an announcement this afternoon about the U.S. senate seat that will be vacated by Vice President-elect Joe Biden,” according to the Wilmington News Journal.

A press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.

The only problem: Earlier reports suggested Biden may not resign until he’s sworn in as vice president and it will no longer be Minner’s appointment to make.

Quote of the Day

“I’ll give you eight months.”

— White House press secretary Dana Perino, quoted by the Washington Post, on how long the “glowing press” will continue for President-elect Obama.Stimulus Package Will Be Waiting for Obama
Democratic sources tell ABC News that President-elect Obama’s transition team “is working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill so that on Mr. Obama’s first day in office, January 20, 2009, an economic stimulus package has passed both house of Congress and is awaiting his signature.”

Reports suggest the size of the package may be $700 billion.

Jindal Heads to Iowa

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is in Iowa today, according to CNN.

“Jindal’s considered by many in the Republican party to be a rising star and his trip to Iowa, the state that kicks off the presidential primary season, is raising speculation that he might be interested in making a bid for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2012. But Jindal says such talk is misplaced and that he has no plans to make a run for the White House.”Obama Taps Romer for CEA Chair
ABC News has learned that President-elect Obama had tapped University of California -Berkeley economics professor Christina Romer to be the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

“Romer, a widely respected economist with an expertise on the U.S. economy, will be one of the key economic advisers whom Mr. Obama will introduce to the nation this morning.”

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