POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/8

Panel Urges Impeaching Blagojevich

“The special Illinois House panel investigating Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) issued adraft report today recommending impeachment, putting lawmakers on a path toward removing the two-term Democrat from office,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

A full House vote on impeaching the governor may come as soon as Friday. If passed, the case would then go to the Senate for trial.

Pelosi Sets Deadline for Stimulus Package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she “will keep Congress in session through the Presidents Day recess if an economic stimulus package isn’t completed for President-elect Obama by then,” The Hill reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I knew it didn’t go well the first day and then we gave her a couple of other segments after that. And my question to the campaign was, after it didn’t go well the first day, why were we going to go back for more? Because of however it works in that upper echelon of power brokering in the media and with spokespersons, it was told to me that, yeah, we are going to go back for more. And going back for more was not a wise decision either.”

— Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview by documentary filmmaker John Ziegler, on her interviews with Katie Couric during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Snubbing Dean?

First Read: “After delivering his speech on the stimulus today, Obama will head to Democratic National Committee to hold a press conference with the man he has selected to lead his party, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. But there will be one notable absence — Howard Dean, the current DNC chair. Dean is reportedly traveling today to American Samoa, but had he been invited to participate at today’s event, those travel plans could always be rescheduled. Why wasn’t Dean invited? Your guess is as good as ours. While it would be wrong to suggest that Obama’s victory in November was somehow directly tied to Dean, the former Vermont governor did provide Obama with a roadmap he used (internet fundraising, 50-state strategy, a people-powered campaign). Perhaps more important, as head of the DNC, Dean was a pretty even-handed referee during the contentious Obama-Clinton fight. Does anyone not think that the decisions on the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries would have turned out differently had a Terry McAuliffe or Harold Ickes been DNC chairman instead? No doubt that Obama will have some nice words about Dean, and Obama’s transition office insists they aren’t snubbing Dean here. But the current chairman’s absence is hard to explain away.”

Bond Not Running for Re-Election

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) will not run for re-election in 2010, according to Politico, “giving Democrats a shot to pick up a seat in a state that has emerged as a major battleground.”

“The announcement is a blow to Senate Republicans, who now will have at least four of their incumbents seeking retirement at the end of the session, a sign that 2010 could be another tough cycle for the weakened GOP minority. ”

Quote of the Day

“I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry. They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”

— President-elect Obama, quoted by the New York Times, on keeping his “essential link” to events “outside his ever-tightening cocoon.”

Selling Stimulus

President-elect Obama makes the case today for a massive economic recovery package even as some key Republicans leaders are suggesting they may try to limit the size of the stimulus.

Phil Singer has good advice on how to sell the plan: “But instead of allowing the debate about the stimulus to be shaped by its size, Democrats should heed Tip O’Neill’s All Politics is Local mantra and sell the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan by emphasizing what it will do for local communities.”

“By detailing how the stimulus will impact individual congressional districts and states, Democrats will shift the debate over the proposal from the overall price tag (which is a loser) to how local communities will benefit (which is a winner).”

Confirmation Hearings Kick Off

Confirmation hearings for President-elect Obama’s top administration appointments begin today with former Sen. Tom Daschle facing questioning to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. CQ Politics notes he “may be in for a relatively easy time of it.”

Roll Call: “Unlike with previous new administrations, where nomination fights often wound up being brutal and politically costly, the vast majority of President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks appears headed for a smooth confirmation within a matter of weeks.”

Obama to Address the Economy

Here’s a brief excerpt from President-elect Obama’s speech on the economy scheduled for 11 a.m. ET at George Mason University:

“I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible.  If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years.  The unemployment rate could reach double digits.  Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four.  We could lose a generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs of the future.  And our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.

“In short, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.”

Congress to Count the Votes

CQ Politics notes that Congress will meet in a joint session today to officially count the electoral votes for president — “an exercise that has great meaning but holds absolutely no suspense.”

Spoiler alert: Barack Obama defeats John McCain, 365 to 173.

Matthews Not Running for Senate

Before Hardball yesterday, Chris Matthews “informed the show’s staff in a production meeting that he’s not running for Senate,” Politico reports.

“Matthews’ flirtation with running in 2010 for the Pennsylvania Senate seat held by Arlen Specter has captivated political and media watchers for months.”

Coleman Unlikely to Prevail in Court

MinnPost looks at Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-MN) court filing challenging the recount in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race and concludes “the chance that the courts will reverse the result seem slim. It seems unlikely that the courts will agree to reconsider all the votes that Coleman is raising, and some of those involve issues that might add to Franken’s lead.”

“The petition has an almost generic quality. Think of every imaginable way that a vote for Coleman that should have been counted was rejected, add every way that a ballot given to Franken should have been disqualified, assert that all of these things happened and that if the courts will simply revisit the entire recount they will come to a different outcome.”

The Bush Years

NBC News compiles a devastating list of statistics to show what the United States looked like when George W. Bush entered office in January 2001 and what it looks like today as he’s leaving.

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