POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/2

More Nixon Tapes Released

NBC News: “Richard Nixon’s reputation takes a fresh pounding every time the National Archives releases another batch of audio tapes from his presidency, and today’s opening of nearly 200 hours of Nixon White House recordings is no exception.”

Becerra Tapped for Trade Rep

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) “has been offered the post of U.S. Trade Representative in the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama,” CQ Politicsreports.

“Becerra is weighing whether to give up his House seniority and newly won spot as vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus to take the Cabinet-level post… But another Democratic source said the job has been offered and accepted.”

New Ballots Found in Minnesota

In the final day of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race recount, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that 171 uncounted ballots suddenly turned up and “apparently had been uncounted because of a ballot-counting-machine malfunction on Election Day.”

Al Franken (D) made a net gain of 37 votes from the ballots, as he got 91 of the total, to 54 for Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and 26 for other candidates.

The Secretary of State’s office gives Coleman a 305 vote edge, however, this assumes all challenged ballots will remain uncounted. The Franken campaign insists Coleman’s lead is about 50 votes.

Nate Silver, who previously projected Franken would win in the recount, now calls Coleman a “slight favorite.”

Obama Talks About Clinton’s Senate Seat

President-elect Obama spoke to New York Gov. David Paterson (D) about the vacancy he created when he chose Sen. Hillary Clinton to be the next secretary of state, according to Politico.

“What he said to me was, ‘I’m sure I made your life easier,'” Paterson recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, thanks.'”

It’s widely speculated that Paterson will name someone to fill the Senate seat who would otherwise challenge him in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Obama did not offer Paterson any advice.

The First Draft of History

A Collection of Newspaper Front Pages Selected by the Poynter InstituteHere’s a great holiday gift: President Obama Election 2008: A Collection of Newspaper Front Pages.

This is a collection of over 75 newspaper front pages from around the world announcing Barack Obama’s historic victory in the 2008 presidential election.

Obama Holds Another Press Conference

President-elect Obama will hold another press conference on Wednesday morning at 11:40 ET.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is expected to be named Commerce secretary at the event.

Obama Meets the Press

President-elect Obama flew back to Chicago from Philadelphia today and took some time to visit with the press at the back of his plane. 

From the pool report filed by Christina Bellantoni of the Washington Times:

At 12:15 he came back, saying hello to the regular press he knew and meeting people on his plane for the first time. He got some congratulations and then said the following.

“Kind of like old times but not really,” he said. “It doesn’t have that breathless pace … just one city a day!”

Asked about future cabinet selections he pantomimed a zipped lip.

As Emanuel came back, introducing himself as “Rahm,” Obama laughed.

“My minder here is getting nervous,” he said, snacking on a handful of nuts.

The Presidential Book of Lists

From Most to Least, Elected to Rejected, Worst to Cursed-Fascinating Facts About Our Chief ExecutivesIn the mail: The Presidential Book of Lists: From Most to Least, Elected to Rejected, Worst to Cursed-Fascinating Facts About Our Chief Executives by Ian Randal Strock.

This is a fun trivia book for anyone interested in politics. It offers a fascinating collection of facts that rank the presidents in more than 100 unique, interesting, and sometimes unexpected categories.

Murkowski Warns Palin

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sent a sharp message to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), according to the Politico: “If you want to make a run at the White House, keep your hands off my Senate seat.”

Said Murkowski: “I can guarantee it would be a very tough election… If she wants to be president, I don’t think the way to the presidency is a short stop in the United States Senate.”

“Impeach Bush” to Hang on White House Christmas Tree

The Reliable Source notes a Christmas ornament saluting Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) efforts to impeach President Bush was accepted for the White House Christmas Tree.

Said the artist: “Apparently, they didn’t read it — or Laura Bush is more progressive than I believed.”

Clinton Will Not Seek Wife’s Seat

Bill Clinton “has no interest in replacing his wife in the U.S. Senate,” his spokesman told CNN, “adding any speculation that he would be interested is ‘completely false.'”

“Only two former presidents have made the move from the White House to Capitol Hill. President John Quincy Adams lost his re-election bid in 1828. Two years later he returned to Washington after winning election as a congressman from his home state of Massachusetts. He served in the House of Representatives until his death in 1848. 

“President Andrew Johnson, who served out the remainder of President Abraham Lincoln’s term, also served briefly in the Senate in 1875, seven years after Congress voted to impeach him.”

Martinez Will Not Run Again in Florida

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) “plans a major announcement” in today and “a highly-placed Republican source says Martinez will announce that he’s not seeking re-election and that he may leave his seat in advance of the end of his term in 2010,” according to the St. Petersburg Times

“That would open the door for Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint a replacement in advance of a wide-open Senate race in 2010.”

The Washington Post notes Martinez’s retirement “creates the second open seat of the 2010 cycle for Republicans. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is expected to leave the chamber to run for governor. Republicans must defend a total of 19 seats in 2010 as compared to 16 for Democrats.”

The Passing of the Football

Baltimore Sun: “On Jan. 20, an unobtrusive military officer carrying a small leather-bound metal briefcase will follow President George W. Bush up to Capitol Hill. After the inauguration ceremony, he will accompany President Barack Obama back to the White House. Inside the attaché, known as ‘the football,’ are the codes to identify and authenticate a presidential order that could launch nuclear weapons and ignite a global holocaust.”

Quote of the Day

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the world in such a mess — that’s a diplomatic term.”

— Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, quoted by Politico.

Gregory Picked for Meet the Press

According to Huffington Post, NBC News plans to name David Gregory as moderator of Meet the Press.

However, the New York Observer says Gregory’s agent wouldn’t confirm or deny the reports and the New York Times reports NBC executives said “that no announcement of the replacement for the late Tim Russert is planned for Tuesday, though the executives did not deny that Mr. Gregory may be named to the position at some point.”

Sources suggest Gregory will be formally named on Sunday’s show.

Obama Won Without Voter Surge

President-elect Obama “bet on an unprecedented surge of new voters to carry him to victory last month,” Bloomberg reports, but “he won without the record turnout.”

“About 130 million Americans voted, up from 122 million four years ago. Still, turnout fell short of the 140 million voters many experts had forecast. With a little more than 61 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, the 2008 results also didn’t match the record 63.8 percent turnout rate that helped propel President John F. Kennedy to victory in 1960.”

The Billion Dollar Man

When the 2008 campaign books are closed, President-elect Obama “will shatter another record by coming close to, or capturing, the title of the first billion-dollar candidate,” Politico reports.

“That’s roughly how much the Obama finance team will have raised for his campaign, convention, transition and Jan. 20 Inauguration events.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me.”

— President Bush, in an interview with CNN.

Franken May Appeal to Senate

Al Franken’s (D) campaign said “that as many as 1,000 absentee ballots were improperly disqualified in Minnesota’s Senate race, and that it may appeal to courts or the U.S. Senate to order that those ballots be counted,” according to The Hill.

The U.S. Constitution allows each congressional chamber to be the “Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members.”

According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called the Board of Canvassers’ decision to not count the absentee ballots “a cause for great concern,” fueling speculation that the Senate would explore the legality of the Minnesota recount’s results.

The Key to Hillary’s Success

Robert Shrum notes that if Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton “still aspires to the top job, she can’t afford to treat this period as an eight-year transition to her Presidency.”

“She will also have to foreswear a shadow political operation, including poll briefings from her strategist Mark Penn, the salient points of which would no doubt find their way into the press. (Come to think of it, she would have been better off without those poll briefings during her campaign, as well.) And President Bill Clinton will have to discipline himself to play a supporting role — for Obama as well as for his wife. Any hint of a policy split with the former president would be instantly attributed to Hillary.”

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