Obama Will Hold Another Press Conference

Tomorrow, President-elect Obama will hold his third press conference of the week when he “will make an economic announcement,” according to a statement from his transition office.

Initial speculation is that he may also name his Commerce secretary, Trade Representative and/or Labor Secretary.

Obama Outlines Budget Plan, Names Orszag

President-elect Barack Obama named Peter Orszag as his budget director and said his job will be to conduct a thorough review of federal spending programs, “eliminating those programs we don’t need and insisting that those we do need operate in a cost-effective way,” the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Said Obama: “This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works.”

Obama also named Rob Nabors as deputy OMB director.

The Return of Depression Economics

The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008Paul Krugman is out with a new edition of his great book, The Return of Depression Economics.

The book, originally published in 1999, surveyed the economic crises that swept across Asia and Latin America, “and pointed out that those crises were a warning for all of us: like diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics, the economic maladies that caused the Great Depression were making a comeback.”

In this updated edition, Krugman “shows how the failure of regulation to keep pace with an increasingly out-of-control financial system set the United States, and the world as a whole, up for the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s. He also lays out the steps that must be taken to contain the crisis, and turn around a world economy sliding into a deep recession.”

The Big Story

Fareed Zakaria: “Some of us — especially those under 60 — have always wondered what it would be like to live through the kind of epochal event one reads about in books. Well, this is it. We’re now living history, suffering one of the greatest financial panics of all time. It compares with the big ones — 1907, 1929 — and we cannot yet know its full consequences for the financial system, the economy or society as a whole.”

Palin Heads Back to Campaign Trail

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin “will come to Georgia next week to campaign for incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss on the eve of the runoff election,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

She is scheduled to appear at four Chambliss rallies.

Menendez to Head DSCC

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “the architect of consecutive Democratic Senate election sweeps, will step down as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and hand the reins of the party’s fundraising and candidate-recruitment arm” to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), according to CQ Politics.

“It would have been highly unusual for Schumer to take on a third term at the helm of the DSCC because he is up for re-election in 2010, and there would seem to be little incentive for him to risk an unblemished record. But since the election, Schumer had been coy about whether he would consider staying on for a third term, repeatedly refusing to answer reporters’ questions.”

Roll Call: “It appears that Senate Democrats can play offense in 2010 for the third cycle in a row. Democrats must defend 16 Senate seats next cycle, but Republicans must defend 19 seats — including those held by more than a half-dozen incumbents in competitive states.”

Bloomberg Approval Drops From Super High to Very High

Despite being at ground zero of the country’s financial crisis, New York City voters approve 66% to 27% of the job Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing, down from a record high 75% to 20% in October, according to a new Quinnipiac poll

This is the first time in more than two years the Mayor’s approval has dropped below 70 percent.

In match ups for next year’s mayor race, Bloomberg tops New York City Comptroller William Thompson, 49% to 34%, and beats Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), 50% to 34%.

Ballot Challenges Soar in Minnesota

“The number of ballot challenges in the U.S. Senate recount surged again on Monday, passing 3,000 overall and clouding the question of who’s picking up ground in the hotly contested race,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“More than 78% of the votes had been recounted as of Monday night, and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s advantage over DFLer Al Franken stood at 210, according to a Star Tribune compilation of results reported to the secretary of state and gathered by the newspaper. Before the recount, Coleman led Franken by 215 votes out of about 2.9 million cast, a margin that has fluctuated over the past week.”

InsiderAdvantage: Chambliss Holds Small Lead in Run Off

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) holds a narrow lead over Jim Martin (D) in the Dec. 2 Georgia Senate runoff, 50% to 47%, according to a new Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll.

Said pollster Matt Towery: “This thing’s going to be a nailbiter. We don’t know who’s going to turn out and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but it’s going to be a close race.”

Beware of Transition Leaks

Felix Salmon notes that if you read Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, you would have expected the following individuals to be named today as key members of President-elect Obama’s economic team: 

  • Peter Orszag as director of OMB
  • Jacob Lew as chair of the National Economic Council
  • Jason Furman as Lew’s deputy chair at the NEC
  • Austan Goolsbee as chair the Council of Economic Advisers

However, not only were none of these individuals named today, the jobs as head of the NEC and CEA actually went to other individuals.

Writes Salmon: “If I were Lew or Goolsbee I’d be furious at the WSJ report, and at whoever the sources were for it, because now they both look as though they had the jobs in question until someone better came along.”

Vilsack Not Considered for Cabinet Post

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (D), “who had been widely favored for the position of Agriculture secretary in the Obama cabinet, said he was never interviewed for the job and is not in the running,” according to CQ Politics.

Said Vilsack: “I will not be secretary of Agriculture and I was not asked by any member of the transition team to submit any information for that position or any position in the new administration.”

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