POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/15

Obama Will Delay List of Blagojevich Contacts

The Obama transition team will delay releasing a review of all staff contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich due to a request from the U.S. Attorney’s office “in order not to impede their investigation of the governor.”

A statement says the review “affirmed the public statements of the President-elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the President-elect’s staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as US Senator.”

The release is now scheduled for the week of December 22.

Salazar for Interior?

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) is a leading contender to become President-elect Obama’s secretary of the Interior, the Denver Post reports.

The source said “it appeared that it was all but up to Salazar as to whether he wanted the post.”

Kennedy Begins Public Campaign for Clinton’s Seat

Caroline Kennedy “has decided she will pursue” the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reports.

“The decision came after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms. Kennedy, who friends describe as unflashy but determined, wrestled with whether to give up what has been a lifetime of avoiding the spotlight.”

“Ms. Kennedy has been making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest… She has also hired Knickerbocker SKD, a prominent political consulting firm headed by Josh Isay, a former chief of staff to Sen. Charles Schumer, to advise her.”

Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity

The Story of Modern Financial InsanityIf you want to better understand what led to the epic collapse of Wall Street, there is perhaps no better way than reading Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis.

It’s not a new book by the author of the fantastic Liar’s Poker; instead it’s a collection of his best financial writing over the last 20 years. 

It’s brilliant stuff. Very highly recommended.

Scandal Hasn’t Impacted Obama Approval Rating

As he prepares for yet another press conference later today — with more questions expected about the scandal in Illinois surrounding his old Senate seat — a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 51% say President-elect Obama has done enough to explain discussions his aides may have had with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, while 34% say he has not done enough and 14% are unsure.

Obama’s transition approval rating has risen from 67% three weeks ago to 76% today.

Blagojevich Not Quitting

Though it was rumored over the weekend that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) would possibly resign early this week, the New York Times quotes a spokesman saying the governor isn’t going anywhere.

Instead, Blagojevich may actually sign legislation taking away his authority to appoint a successor to President-elect Obama in the U.S. Senate and instead have the seat filled by special election.

Epitaph of the Bush Years?

First Read: “If Bush ever hopes to have the history of his presidency revived, a la Truman, it’s going to start with success in Iraq. That’s why it must have been that much harder for him to deal with the fact he had shoes thrown at him in his final visit to the country before he leaves office. It’s bad enough in our last NBC/WSJ poll that 79% of Americans said they wouldn’t miss him — but at least no one is throwing shoes at him stateside. In that same poll, we asked respondents to judge Bush on his greatest achievements and failures. Not surprisingly, Iraq was at the top (or near it) in both lists. Removing Saddam Hussein was seen as Bush’s second greatest accomplishment, but going into Iraq and starting a war was seen as his greatest failure. Iraq is THAT complicated for Bush and his legacy. This economic downturn in the last year of his presidency probably serves as the exclamation point on a public judgment of a below-average presidency for him. But Iraq has always been viewed as Bush’s last chance at historical redemption. The good news for him: He’s taking this with humor and, as he points out, journalists could not have done that in Iraq eight years ago. But yesterday’s shoe-throwing incident — the showing of the sole of a shoe is a great insult in Arab culture, NBC’s John Yang points out — might very well be the epitaph of the Bush presidency.”

A Craigslist for Service

Craig Newmark notes that “deep in the Barack Obama platform,” there’s a reference to “a craigslist for service.” As the founder of the enormously useful website, Newmark outlines how he would like to see this idea developed to help Obama inspire “millions of people to consider service to others, and to innovate for service.”

Recount Winds Down in Minnesota

The Associated Press analyzed more than 5,000 challenged ballots in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race and “found that most of the ballots have clear intent and no deficiencies for which they would be disqualified under Minnesota law.”

A four judge panel “has set a goal of completing the challenged-ballot reviews by Friday. The AP analysis suggests the process could move quickly once the board shows its mind on the challenge types that occurred most frequently.”

Bottom Line: Franken could pick up at least 200 additional votes which is huge considering Coleman is leading by 192 votes, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

More Campaigns Raise Big Money

USA Today: “Nearly half of the nation’s House and Senate candidates raised $1 million or more in contributions for the 2008 election, about two-thirds more than a decade ago.”

Key findings:

  • Fifty-five Senate candidates and 364 House candidates toppled the $1 million mark, up 63% from 1998 and 8% from last year.
  • The median cost of a congressional campaign increased from under $690,000 in 1998 to just over $1 million in 2008.
  • Democrats, who added 21 House and seven Senate seats to their majorities, raised 27% more campaign money than Republicans in the 2008 election cycle.

Obama Will Arrive in Washington By Train

President-elect Obama “will kick off his inaugural celebration on Jan. 17 — the weekend before his swearing in as the country’s 44th president — by traveling on a train to the nation’s capital,” USA Today reports.

“He and his family will start their day-long journey with an event in Philadelphia before boarding the train and picking up Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his family in Wilmington, Del. The president-elect and his group then will make a stop in Baltimore before making their way to Washington.”

Mark Halperin: “Yes We Can” Becomes “I Think I Can.”

Blagojevich Witnesses Come Forward

“When it comes to coming clean, nothing is as motivating as a wiretap,” the Chicago Sun Times observes.

Last week’s revelation that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) “was secretly recorded in his campaign office and on his home phone has prompted more than a dozen potential witnesses in recent days to come forward. They’ve been calling investigators and defense lawyers to talk about deals or discussions they’ve had with Blagojevich.”

Loophole Eliminates Limits on Bank Executive Pay

The Washington Post reports that “at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change” to a provision in the bank bailout bill which has now “effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.”

Obama’s Monday

President-elect Obama will hold a national security meeting in Chicago. Attendees will include:  Vice President-elect Biden, Secretary of State designee Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Attorney General designee Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security designee Janet Napolitano, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, Ambassador to the United Nations designee Susan Rice, National Security Advisor designee Jim Jones, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, White House Chief of Staff designee Rahm Emanuel, White House Counsel designee Greg Craig.

Later in the day, President-Elect Obama will hold a press conference to discuss the nation’s energy and environmental future. He’s also expected to name Carol Browner to lead the policy council on environment and energy; Steven Chu as energy secretary; Lisa Jackson as EPA chief; and Nancy Sutley as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

What About the Bigger Scandals?

Frank Rich: “What went down in the Land of Lincoln is just the reductio ad absurdum of an American era where both entitlement and corruption have been the calling cards of power. Blagojevich’s alleged crimes pale next to the larger scandals of Washington and Wall Street. Yet those who promoted and condoned the twin national catastrophes of reckless war in Iraq and reckless gambling in our markets have largely escaped the accountability that now seems to await the Chicago punk nabbed by the United States attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.”

Paterson Close to Filling Senate Vacancy

In an interview on Nightline, New York Gov. David Paterson (D) said he’s “close to making a decision about who to appoint to the Senate seat Hillary Clinton will leave vacant when she moves on to her new role as secretary of state.”

The governor doesn’t plan to name the replacement until Clinton receives her expected confirmation from the Senate.

McCain Refuses to Say He’d Support Palin

In an interview on This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) refused to say whether he’d support Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin if she runs for president in 2012.

Said McCain: “Listen I have the greatest appreciation for Gov. Palin and her family and it was a great joy to know them. She invigorated our campaign and she was just down in Georgia and she invigorated their campaign. But I can’t say something like that. We’ve got some great other young governors.” 

He added: “Have no doubt of my admiration and respect for her and her viability, but at this stage my corpse is still warm!”

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2 Comments on “POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/15”


  1. Muntathar is a hero! I wish it had been my shoes!

  2. fvmoore Says:

    After you’d walked through some deer droppings, I suppose!


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