POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/16

It’s Over

Even though President Bush will officially hold his office until Tuesday at noon, Politico notes most of his aides will turn in their security cards at close of business today.

“Only about 20 to 25 political staffers are expected to show up for work at the White House on Monday. Less than a dozen will be on the premises on Inauguration Day.”

Top Florida Democrat Will Not Run for Senate

Florida CFO Alex Sink (D) today announced she won’t run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

“Sink, elected in 2006, apparently also ruled out a challenge to Gov. Charlie Crist. She said she plans to seek re-election to her Cabinet post.”

The Hotline says that without Sink in the race “the advantage shifts, marginally perhaps, to the GOP.”

New York Senate Pick Still Days Away

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) said he would name a replacement for Sen. Hillary Clinton “right after the inauguration” and he “hinted that he was still considering lower-profile prospects than Caroline Kennedy and Andrew Cuomo,” according to Ben Smith.

Said Paterson: “I would probably have done it this weekend, but i just kind of decided I didn’t want to trample on Senator Clinton’s ability to come back and say farewell to her constituents nor … the inauguration.”

“My job is not to pick the person who is popular today,” he added. “It’s the person who is going to be popular in 2010, when they run for re-election.”

Pelosi Builds Her Bench

According to CQ Politics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “has been working to keep promising Democratic leaders in the House by offering carrots such as leadership posts, extra duties, and choice slots on the Rules Committee and other panels.”

Fast Start Planned

According to Mike Allen, “they’re not kidding about this ‘Day 1’ thing. Some senior Obama aides have been assigned to report to the complex while the parade is still going on.”

Politics of the Bailout Vote

NBC News notes that the 52-42 Senate vote on the second half of the TARP bailout money yesterday “broke down mostly along partisan lines. Six Republicans, however, voted with Obama (Alexander, Gregg, Kyl, Lugar, Snowe, Voinovich), and nine Democrats voted against him (Bayh, Cantwell, Dorgan, Feingold, Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Shaheen, Sanders, Wyden). But to show you how hot of a political potato the TARP money is, FIVE of those nine Dems are up for re-election in 2010  (Bayh, Dorgan, Feingold, Lincoln, Wyden). And out of the six GOPers who voted with Obama, just ONE is up for re-election in 2010 (Gregg).”

Incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel wasn’t shy about calling the vote a major victory for Obama, the New York Times notes, likening it to an 80 yard pass on the first play of the game.

Huge TV Audience Expected for Inaugural

A new Pew Research poll finds two of three American adults plan to watch President-elect Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday. Almost nine in 10 Obama voters (89%) will tune in, while less than half (46%) of those who backed Sen. John McCain expect to watch.

Obama’s Washington Post Interview

The Washington Post released the audio of his very interesting meeting with theWashington Post editorial board yesterday.

High Hopes for Obama

The latest Associated Press-GfK Poll finds nearly two-thirds of those surveyed say Barack Obama will be at least an “above average” president, including 28% who think he’ll be “outstanding.”

That compares to previous inauguration polls showing a 47% “above average” rating for George W. Bush, 56% for Bill Clinton and only 51% for Ronald Reagan.

USA Today/Gallup Poll says there are “stratospheric expectations for Obama that even his own supporters acknowledge may be unrealistic.”

Pew Research finds more of the same: “Public confidence in Barack Obama to deal with the nation’s most pressing problems is quite high, with about seven-in-ten saying they have at least a fair amount of confidence that he  will do the right thing when it comes to mending the economy, preventing terrorism, and in dealing with Iraq.”

Even the latest National Journal Insiders Poll shows high hopes for the next president. An astonishing 96% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans think it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to be successful.  

Quote of the Day

“That’s a lot better than a poke in the eye with a stick.”

— Ted Kaufman (D), the new U.S. Senator from Delaware, joking with the AP that “if his colleagues try to dismiss his views, he has an ace up his sleeve — a close personal relationship with the new vice president.”

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