Fox News Shut Out Again

Fox News hasn’t gotten a question in during President-elect Obama’s five press conferences since the election, according to Fishbowl DC.

Today’s questions were from Liz Sidoti (AP), Caren Bohan (Reuters), Jake Tapper (ABC News), Peter Baker (New York Times), John McCormick (Chicago Tribune) and Dean Reynolds (CBS News).

Should Matthews Quit MSNBC?

Phil Singer: “If Chris Matthews is seriously considering a run for Arlen Specter’s Senate seat, he shouldn’t be on the air right now… To avoid the appearance of conflict, Chris should do the right thing and remove himself from the air until he has made a decision.  If he won’t do it, NBC should suspend him.”

Perhaps that’s why Matthews denied reports he’s looking to hire staff.

Recession Began a Year Ago

Despite the insistence of some presidential candidates that the American economy wasn’t in a recession, the Wall Street Journal reports the official declaration is that the recession actually started in December 2007.

Chambliss Maintains Lead in Georgia Run Off

The final Public Policy Polling survey in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff finds “overwhelming support from white voters” likely to result in the reelection of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) over challenger Jim Martin (D), 53% to 46%.

A big caveat: “Polling a special election is hard. You usually don’t have a lot of precedent to base turnout projections on, and that makes it difficult to figure out ahead of time what the electorate is going to look like. Polling a special election over a holiday weekend is even harder. People are out of town, at the mall, and generally just harder to reach than usual.”

The run off election is tomorrow.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.”

— President Bush, in an interview with ABC News, blaming poor information for his decision to go to war in Iraq.

For a refresher course on what actually happened, it’s more informative to read The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Frank Rich.


From the pool report: “The press announcement ended at about 10:30am central time and Obama walked out of the room arm in arm with Clinton.”

A Glimpse Into the Future

President-elect Obama noted at his press conference today that the media likes to “have fun” digging up old quotes from the Democratic primary campaign, but few are as interesting as this exchange from a debate in Iowa.

Email Could Be Powerful Governing Tool

Bloomberg: “Obama finished the presidential race with 13 million names and e-mail addresses, more than 3 million of whom donated what is believed to be more than $700 million to his campaign. That gives him a grassroots organization rivaling any competing interest group, a tool to pressure Congress that no other president has had. The list represents a number equal to 10 percent of those who went to the polls on Nov. 4.”


Behind the Scenes of the Nixon InterviewsThis morning, C-SPAN ran an interesting interview with Ron Howard, director of Frost/Nixon, which looks at the 1977 televised interviewbetween David Frost and President Richard Nixon. 

The movie gives us a glimpse into the mind of the former Commander in Chief about the Watergate scandal, which ultimately lead to his resignation.

Also worth reading: The Conviction of Richard Nixon: The Untold Story of the Frost/Nixon Interviews by James Reston Jr..

Not Yet Like Lincoln

The Biography of a WriterEven though President-elect Obama was seen with a copy of Fred Kaplan’s book, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, the author tellsPolitico that Obama is no Lincoln — at least not yet.

Said Kaplan: “It’s possible that he may create something that future generations see as equal to Gettysburg or the first inaugural. I myself don’t think that’s going to happen. I think he’s greatly talented with language, but he’s not a genius. He doesn’t have Lincoln’s capacity to put words together in a way that resonates with literary and poetic power… Obama can give an ordinary Obama performance and can seem like he is reaching the heavens, which is not to downgrade Obama’s effectiveness as speaker and writer; he just gets an extra boost because he is playing in an arena where the bar has been very low,”

Kaplan thinks the race speech Obama delivered during the primary was his best so far “because it treated a delicate subject with nuance.”

Jones May Be Most Interesting Pick Today

President-elect Obama’s selection of retired Gen. Jim Jones as his national security adviser “will elevate another foreign policy moderate to a team that will include Robert M. Gates, a carry-over from the Bush administration, as defense secretary and Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state,” the New York Times notes. 

In addition, by “bringing a military man to the White House, Mr. Obama may be trying to cement an early bond with military leaders who regard him with some uneasiness, particularly over his call for rapid troop reductions in Iraq.”

First Read: “Some advice for our friends in the media, don’t focus on Clinton, focus on Jim Jones, someone personally more close with John McCain than Obama. And with an office in the West Wing, it will be Jones who has the day-to-day ear of Obama, not Clinton. In fact, of the three big national security posts, it’s possible a President McCain could have picked Jones and Gates as well. This is a throwback to the Bush years, not Bush 43, but Bush 41. Jones and Gates, in particular, seem to be from the Brent Scowcroft school of foreign policy.”

The Clinton Pick

The Political Genius of Abraham LincolnExpect to hear hundreds of references to Doris Kearns Goodwin’sTeam of Rivals today as President-elect Obama announces his intention to appoint Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state.

USA Today: “Obama’s pick is non-traditional on several fronts. Not since James Garfield appointed James Blaine to head the State Department in 1881 has a president chosen a major political rival for the job. What’s more, Clinton’s grounding in women’s rights contrasts with her predecessors, most of whom had pursued careers in academia, the military or law steeped in U.S. relations with major world powers.”

Ben Smith: “The choice says as much about Obama’s strategic judgment and his temperament as anything else he’s done. It says that he’s confident he can control the Clintons. I think it also says that his understanding of the new media cycle is that Clinton-driven distractions will be no more than that and won’t consume his administration if he doesn’t let them.”

Scrambling Continues for Clinton’s Seat

Though President-elect Obama will only officially announce Sen. Hillary Clinton’s selection as Secretary of State later today, CQ Politics notes “the wrangling to determine her successor in the Senate has already been underway for weeks.”

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) “has signaled that he is likely to wait until Clinton’s appointment in January before naming her successor.”

Meanwhile, the only thing we know is that Paterson “has ruled out nominating himself.”

Specter Not Afraid of Potential Matthews Bid

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) “says he’s ready for a tough-reelection race in 2010 no matter which candidates he faces,” the AP reports.

“He’s not speculating on whether the challengers might include MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews who reportedly met with Pennsylvania Democratic leaders last week to talk about a Senate run.”

The 78-year-old says he’ll “be prepared,” no matter what.

Quote of the Day

“The truth is… we will be fine on most major issues. We will almost always have some moderate Republican support.”

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), quoted by the Washington Post, on Senate Democrats currently lacking the 60 seats needed to prevent a filibuster.

Obama Picks Progressives for White House Staff

Washington Independent: “While liberal critics sound increasingly uneasy with President-elect Barack Obama’s nominations of centrist, Clinton-era Democrats to Cabinet positions, some are overlooking how Obama has also been assembling a tight progressive cadre to serve with him in the White House.”

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