POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/20

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done.”

— Nelson Mandela, in a letter delivered to President Obama earlier today.

White House Site Open to Search Engines

An early indication of greater transparency from the federal government can be seen at the new White House web site

According to Jason Kottke, the Bush administration set more than 2,400 rules to prevent search engines from indexing certain material on the site. The new Obama site eliminates nearly all of these rules.

Chia Obama

Of all the Obama merchandise floating around, this is the oddest: Chia Obama.

Kennedy Falls Ill at Obama Lunch

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), “who is battling a brain tumor, was taken away from the congressional luncheon in convulsions,” ABC News reports.

“Kennedy was at a table with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and others, and was taken out of the room. President Barack Obama went out of the room with him, but he is back in the luncheon room now.”

CQ Politics has the latest.

Obama’s Mistake

Political Wire reader notes that President Obama actually made a factual mistake in his inaugural address when he said, “Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.”

It’s actually 43. Although Obama is the 44th president, President Grover Cleveland served two terms which were not consecutive, making him both the 22nd and 24th president.

The First Presidential Blog

The new official White House web site went live just after noon.

The first presidential blog is part of the Obama administration’s new media efforts which will center around communication, transparency and participation.

President Obama

Shortly after noon, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.  In his inaugural address he proclaimed that the nation must choose “hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord” to overcome our current economic crisis. He called all Americans to service in this effort.

This was one of the most memorable passages:

“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled.  In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river.  The capital was abandoned.  The enemy was advancing.  The snow was stained with blood.  At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

‘Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

“America.  In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”

It was an extraordinary speech. It’s amazing to think that Obama was still a State Senator just over four years ago.  If he governs half as well as he can inspire, he’ll be an outstanding president.

Chief Justice Slips Up

For an Inauguration so smoothly choreographed, the flubbing of the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts was particularly striking. Roberts slightly misspoke the oath, which then tripped up Obama.

Quote of the Day

“I have reached a decision. I thought that since there are just 17 women in the Senate… I am going to go with Michelle Obama.”

— New York Gov. David Paterson (D), quoted by NBC News, on his pending U.S. Senate appointment. He’s now expected to make his official pick on Friday or Saturday.

Previewing Obama’s Speech

Time reports Obama’s Inaugural address “is said to be relatively short, just over 20 minutes-long — a mere bulletin compared to the longest, by William Henry Harrison, whose speech in 1841 clocked in at over two hours… The shortest: George Washington’s at a loquacious 135 words. The President-elect is said to be taking inspiration from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech and Abraham Lincoln’s second, notable for their focus on shared sacrifice at transformational moments in U.S. history.”

The Case for Obama’s Blackberry

BlackBerry 8820 Smartphone (AT&T)Former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta says President-elect Obama needs his favorite gadget to be a successful president:

“An off-line Obama isn’t just bad for Barack. It’s bad for all of us. The president’s ability to reach outside his inner circle gives him access to fresh ideas and constructive critics; it underscores the difference between political ‘victories’ and actual solutions; and it brings the American people into a battle we can only win by working together.”

Bush Leaves Note for Obama

“Continuing a White House ritual, President George W. Bush left a note in the Oval Office for President-elect Barack Obama, wishing him well as he takes the reins of the executive branch,” the AP reports.

The White House “declined to provide intimate details of the message the two-term Republican left for the incoming Democrat, saying only that Bush wrote it on Monday and left it in the top drawer of his desk.”

Moving Day

The New York Times runs an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how the Obama family will move into the White House during today’s festivities.

“The highly orchestrated quick-change operation, conducted by the 93-member White House residence staff, has no parallel in the outside world. The entire affair is over and done with in a matter of hours, without a single moving man setting foot inside the Executive Mansion.”

Cheney Injured Moving Out

Vice President Dick Cheney pulled a muscle in his back while moving boxes and will be in a wheelchair for today’s inauguration, the AP reports.

The Rise of Barack Obama

The Washington Post has a must-read piece on the political rise of Barack Obama. 

“There is improbability in the making of any president, some more than others, none comparable to Obama… Obama is the creation of restlessness, searching, odd connections. He springs out of this wide world, defined by disparate locations that together enfold many of the central themes and movements of modern times.”

Coleman Seeks New Recount of Absentee Ballots

“In the clearest sign yet that he has dramatically shifted strategies since falling behind in the U.S. Senate recount,” Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-MN) campaign said “that it will push to have all 12,000 absentee ballots rejected in the election reconsidered and to ensure that those wrongly set aside are counted,” theMinneapolis Star Tribune reports.

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