Obama Echoed Predecessors

Robert Shlesinger breaks down President Obama’s inaugural speech and finds “that he nicely echoed some of his predecessors in office. A more thorough examination reveals the speech practically reverberates with them.”

Palin Wants to Write a Book

The Hollywood Reporter says Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) as apparently enlisted the help of Washington attorney Robert Barnett to sell a book proposal. 

Barnett has previously brokered book deals for President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. And he’s already handling Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s book about the the 2008 campaign.

Obama on Air Force One

A forthcoming National Geographic TV special shows then-President-elect Obama boarding one of the planes that would ultimately serve as Air Force One after he was sworn in as president.

Behind Kennedy’s Sudden Withdrawl

According to a knowledgeable Democratic source that spoke with Time, Caroline Kennedy withdrew from consideration for the vacant U.S. Senate seat “because of a personal matter that arose 48 hours before she fully expected to be chosen” by New York Gov. David Paterson. 

“Without talking to her political advisers, Kennedy called Paterson and told him she had a personal issue that made her inclined to withdraw her name. He told her to take 24 hours to reconsider. She took that time on her own, and ultimately decided to stick with her original decision.”

The New York Daily News has a similar explanation.

Update: Sources close to Sen. Edward Kennedy tell Time “that his circle — including his immediate family — is furious that his brain cancer is being cited… as the reason for her decision to withdraw her name from consideration for the Senate seat.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It felt like a 10-pound anvil was lifted off my head.”

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle, on watching former President Bush leave Washington, D.C. in a helicopter.

Geithner Clears First Hurdle

The Senate Finance Committee voted 18-5 to recommend confirming President Obama’s nominee for treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner. The nomination now moves to a floor vote.

CQ Politics tracks the confirmation process for all of Obama’s Cabinet nominees.

Obama Orders Secret Prisons, Gitmo Closed

President Obama signed executive orders directing the CIA “to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year,” the New York Times reports.

Spider-Man Saves the Inauguration

A special edition comic book released by Marvel Comics last week — in which Spider-Man identifies an imposter posing as Barack Obama at the inauguration — shot up the bestseller lists and is now in its third printing.

Earlier printings and other variations are available on Political Stuff.

Behind Vitter’s Vote

The Fix explains the real reason Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) voted against Hillary Clinton’s nomination as President Obama’s secretary of state: 

“The freshman Senator is preparing to run for re-election in 2010 despite revelations last year that his name turned up in the records of the D.C. Madam. Given those problems and talk of a primary challenge from his ideological right, Vitter’s vote against Clinton is a clear signal to conservatives in the state: ‘I am still one of you.'”

What About Dean?

First Read: “Despite the thunderous applause he received at yesterday’s DNC meeting, where Tim Kaine was formally elected as the party’s new chairman, Howard Dean’s exit hasn’t received that much attention in today’s papers. It’s quite remarkable that he is leaving without a job offer, not even an ambassadorship… Did the president call Dean and thank him for service? When is the last time the titular head of the Democratic Party spoke to the one-time ACTUAL head of the Democratic Party?”

Cheney Pressed for Libby Pardon

Noting a sharp disagreement with his former boss, former Vice President Dick Cheney told the Weekly Standard that his former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, deserved a presidential pardon.

Said Cheney: “Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and honorable men I’ve ever known. He’s been an outstanding public servant throughout his career. He was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice, and I strongly believe that he deserved a presidential pardon. Obviously, I disagree with President Bush’s decision.”

In addition to this issue, Cheney said he disagreed with Bush just four other times: On a gay marriage ban; on firing Donald Rumsfeld; on Washington, D.C.’s gun ban; and on North Korea.

Quote of the Day

“I know the place, and I have some knowledge… The disadvantage is, I know it around one President. Every President brings a different style of management, a different philosophy, and you’ve got to get yourself rewired to that.”

— White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, quoted in in Time magazine profile.

Franken Wants Senate to Decide

Al Franken (D) made a bid “to short-circuit the court case that’s intended to give Minnesota a winner in its closely contested Senate race,” CQ Politics reports.

Attorneys for Franken argued that a state court should dismiss the lawsuit filed by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) “because the three-judge panel designated to hear the case lacks jurisdiction for Coleman’s type of complaint.”

“The proper venue, Franken’s attorneys argued, is the U.S. Senate, which has the power to judge the election of its members.”

Meanwhile, Ben Smith reports Coleman has taken a job now that he’s got some time on his hands.

Kennedy Confirms She Will Not Seek Senate Seat

After a night of confusion, Caroline Kennedy released a statement confirming reports that she was no longer a contender for New York’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

The New York Times notes the leak of her decision appeared to catch Gov. David Paterson off guard, “throwing the Paterson administration into confusion and setting off conflicting news media reports. After frantic talks between the governor’s operation and Ms. Kennedy’s camp Wednesday evening, Ms. Kennedy appeared to waver on whether to withdraw, and was preparing a statement reasserting her interest in the job. But just after midnight, she decided to make clear she was taking her name out of consideration and released the statement saying so.”

The statement was one sentence: “I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate.”

Swampland has a timeline of the confusion last night.

Watching History

A new Gallup poll found that 60% of Americans tuned in live to see Barack Obama sworn in as president on Tuesday. Another 20% heard or read news reports of the event while 20% caught none of it.

Obama’s speech was also well received: 46% said it was excellent, 35% said it was good, while only 15% considered it “just okay” or worse.

Obama Takes Oath Again

White House Counsel Greg Craig released this statement:

“We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the President was sworn in appropriately yesterday.  But the oath appears in the Constitution itself.  And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one wordout of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time.”

The pool report has great details of how it took place:

At 7:35 pm, Roberts administered the oath of office again to Obama in the map room. 

“We decided it was so much fun…” Obama joked while sitting on a couch.

Obama stood and walked over to make small talk with pool as Roberts donned his black robe.

“Are you ready to take the oath?” Roberts asked.

“I am, and we’re going to do it very slowly,” Obama replied.

Oath took 25 seconds. After a flawless recitation, Roberts smiled and said, “Congratulations, again.”

Obama said, “Thank you, sir.”

Smattering of applause.

“All right.” Obama said. “The bad news for the pool is there’s 12 more balls.”

Kennedy Ends Senate Bid

Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn from consideration for the vacant U.S. Senate seat in New York, the New York Times reports.

Kennedy called New York Gov. David Paterson to say her concerns about Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-MA) deteriorating health “prompted her decision to withdraw… Coping with her uncle’s condition was her most important priority, a situation not conducive to starting a high profile public job.”

According to the newspaper’s source, Paterson “had indicated to her that the job was hers if she would accept it.”

However, the New York Post says Kennedy pulled out after learning that Paterson wasn’t going to choose her.

UpdateBen Smith, who has great New York sources, is hearing conflicting reports. “I still haven’t confirmed this, and people quite close to Caroline continue to deny it. Indeed, her New York City inner political circle appears to be out of the loop. But the story appears to be coming from Paterson’s camp in Albany, so details aside, the effect is the same.”

Update II: The New York Daily News reports everyone is denying the story. “According to multiple sources, the candidate is AWOL at the moment, and everyone close to her is blindsided by this bombshell. It appears someone might have jumped the gun early, and this news might not be, well, news.”

Clinton Confirmed

The U.S. Senate confirmed Hillary Clinton to be President Obama’s secretary of state in a 94 to 2 vote. 

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was instrumental in urging Republicans to support Clinton. Only Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) voted against her nomination.

CQ Politics has the best way to track the confirmation process for all of President Obama’s nominees.

Brazile Swipes Obama’s Blanket

Former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile acknowledged on ABC News that she took the fleece blanket that President Obama left on the platform after giving his inaugural address yesterday.

Said Brazile: “Barack Obama had this fleece. You know, we were all given this blue fleece and someone took it. When it was over with, I went over to the president’s chair and I took it… If he wants it back, I’ll give it back, but I have that. This is the blanket that was at his chair in case he got cold. He left it, I took it.”

There’s more great inauguration memorabilia over at Political Stuff.

Strickland Could Face Strong Challenge by Kasich

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds Gov. Ted Strickland (D) would start out with the lead if Rep. John Kasich (R) were to challenge him for re-election in 2010, “but it’s certainly not an insurmountable advantage.”

Strickland holds a six point lead, 45% to 39%.Obama Keeps His Blackberry
Marc Ambinder reports President Obama will get to use a Blackberry — with a new “super-encryption package” — for “routine and personal messages” to his friends and family.

However, “it’s not clear whether he yet has the device.”

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