POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/23

Palin Wants Huge Book Advance

According to the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wants as much as $11 million for the book she’s reportedly pitching to publishers.

“But there is more than money at stake. Palin has been trying to stay in the spotlight, presumably with an eye on 2012, and a book could help as well as giving her some sort of a base beyond Alaska.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I won.”

— President Obama, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, in response to Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on why he’s not including more Republican ideas in his economic stimulus plan.

Gillibrand Chosen to Replace Clinton

As expected, New York Gov. David Paterson (D) named Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as his state’s newest U.S. Senator, replacing Hillary Clinton.

However, the most interesting thing about Paterson’s acceptance speech was that former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-NY) was standing just to her right.

Ben Smith: “It’s intended, perhaps, as a visual mark of her electablity and crossover appeal; it’s also a mark of how wired she and her family are on both sides of the aisle, with her father a major Republican lobbyist close to the last GOP governor, George Pataki.”

Obama Cabinet Still Not Complete

While 12 of the 18 people in President Obama’s Cabinet have now been confirmedby the U.S. Senate, there are still five nominees still awaiting action:

  • Tom Daschle for Health and Human Services
  • Eric Holder for Attorney General
  • Hilda Solis for Labor
  • Timothy Geithner for Treasury
  • Ron Kirk for Trade Representative

In addition, Obama still needs to appoint a new nominee for Commerce secretary.

Blagojevich Speaks

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave his first interview since his arrest on corruption charges. 

Best line: “I apologize for some of the profanity, but had I known they were listening I wouldn’t have used those words.”

Original “Hope” Photo Found

Journalists found the original photograph used as the underlying image for Shepard Fairey’s popular poster of Barack Obama.

The Most Exclusive List in Washington, D.C.

Though President Obama won his battle to use a Blackberry to email his friends, he’s limited to a small list of e-mail addresses, according to the Washington Post.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs “would not say who, or even how many people, will be on the list. But it’s a good bet that it will be easier to get invited to the Academy Awards after-party at Steven Spielberg’s house, or to the VIP reception at the World Econmic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.”

Senate Appointments Not Helping Democrats in 2010

First Read: “Looking ahead to 2010, you could argue — at this very early stage — that the appointments to fill the vacant Democratic Senate seats haven’t helped the party’s midterm prospects, despite what looks like a favorable map for the Democrats.”

“In Illinois, Roland Burris is tainted by the Blago affair, and you’re certain to see a Democratic primary, even if he decides to run for a full term. In Colorado, no one really knows what they’re getting in Michael Bennet, who was sworn in to the Senate yesterday; as one Republican strategist told First Read, Bennet could be a great statewide candidate or he could be a disaster. The same holds true for Gillibrand, who won her congressional seat in 2006 due in large part to the Democratic wave and a last-minute news report alleging that the wife of her Republican opponent (the incumbent Rep. John Sweeney) had called police to complain that he was ‘knocking her around.'”

See CQ Politics for the 2010 Senate map.

Quote of the Day

“It was a complete surprise, completely unexpected. And just like the United States prevailed in that, we’ll prevail in this.”

— Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), quoted by the AP, comparing his impeachment to the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

McCain the Maverick is Back

The Washington Post says “a joke made its way around the Capitol yesterday: How do you know the 2008 election is really over? Because John McCain is causing trouble for Republicans again.”

Less than three months since his defeat, McCain “bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. In some instances, he’s even carrying water for his former rival.”

McCain on Larry King Live last night: “These are difficult times and whatever way I can assist and work with the president of the United States, I want to do it. And again, the American people are tired of the bitter partisanship.”

Schumer Backed Gillibrand for Senate

Despite the protests of many liberal New Yorkers, Gov. David Paterson’s pick of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to be a senator “was strongly backed for the post by Charles Schumer, the state’s senior senator, who said a woman and an upstater was needed on next year’s ticket,” according to the New York Post.

Sources said “at least five” members of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation called Paterson to protest the possibility of Gillibrand’s selection. One, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), even threatened a primary challenge in 2010.

The New York Times notes that even though Gillibrand “is largely unknown to New Yorkers statewide,” she “is considered an up-and-coming and forceful lawmaker in her district and has gained considerable attention from Democratic leaders in Washington.”

Ben Smith: “The notion that a serious Democrat in New York would cross Chuck Schumer and mount a primary is… farfetched.”

Biden Shows Up at State

Just a few days after his wife suggested he could have been Secretary of State, it’s interesting that Vice President Biden decided to appear at the State Department today with President Obama where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced two new envoys.

Biden “has no formal or statutory role” at the department, Ben Smith notes, yet “these are the days in which turf is being won and lost; he has evidently claimed a chunk of it today.”

The Biden-Clinton relationship will be an interesting one to watch in the coming months.

Tax Problems May Have Derailed Kennedy’s Bid

Hard feelings toward Caroline Kennedy “were clearly building” among New York Gov. David Paterson’s staff, the New York Times reports. 

Sources close to the governor now say “problems involving taxes and a household employee surfaced during the vetting” of Kennedy “and derailed her candidacy for the Senate.” The New York Post adds that “the state of her marriage may have presented a problem as well.”

These sources also suggest Kennedy “never had a shot” at being appointed to the Senate.

Earlier, sources close to Kennedy suggested a “personal matter” that arose caused her to drop out but that Paterson urged her to reconsider.

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