Saturday, November 29, 2008

Obama To Name Hillary Clinton

Secretary of State on Monday

Democratic officials say President-elect Barack Obama will nominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be his secretary of state on Monday.

Obama plans to announce the New York senator as part of his national security team at a press conference in Chicago, the officials said Saturday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the transition team.

To clear the way for his wife's nomination, former President Bill Clinton has agreed to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation. He'll also refuse contributions from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference, and will cease holding C-G-I meetings overseas.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Obama Family Thanksgiving Food Drive

CHICAGO - President-elect Barack Obama and his wife took their daughters to work at a food bank on the day before Thanksgiving, saying they wanted to show the girls the meaning of the holiday, especially when so many people are struggling.

Ten-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha joined their parents to shake hands and give holiday wishes to hundreds of people who had been lined up for hours at the food bank on Chicago's south side.

Sasha wore a pink stocking hat over her pigtails and Malia had on a purple striped hat as the family handed out wrapped chickens to the needy in the chilly outdoor courtyard. Those seeking food on Wednesday at St. Columbanus also received boxes with potatoes, oranges, fresh bread, peanut butter, canned goods, oatmeal, spaghetti and coffee.

The president-elect, dressed casually in a leather jacket, black scarf and khaki pants, was in a jovial mood, calling out "happy thanksgiving" and telling everyone "you can call me Barack."

He told reporters that he wants the girls "to learn the importance of how fortunate they are, and to make sure they're giving back."

The soon-to-be first lady said the Obamas wanted to give their children "an understanding of what giving and Thanksgiving is all about."

The Obama family's activities in the courtyard quickly drew the attention of schoolchildren whose windows overlooked the courtyard. They put up a sign against the glass that read: "We love our prez" and screamed when the president-elect waved to them.Obama then turned to his wife and suggested they go visit the kids. Secret Service agents, looking surprised, disappeared inside the building to accommodate his request.

Minutes later, hundreds of children were brought down to the school auditorium, and Obama loped onstage as they screamed and cheered.

"I just wanted to come by and wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving," he said. He then asked the children what they would be eating for Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey? Stuffing? Green beans? Sweet potato pie?

Perhaps it was a hint at the planned menu for the Obamas, who are planning to host a holiday gathering at their Hyde Park home.

The president-elect then took questions from the children, one of whom wanted to know what it was like to be followed around all the time. It is a topic that seems to touch a nerve in Obama, who has lamented the lack of privacy that comes with his new job.

"I gotta admit, sometimes it's kinda strange ... you just want to go take a walk or go out and ride your bike or something, and you always have someone with you," Obama said. "So you don't have a lot of privacy and that's one of the things you have to sacrifice in order to run for president."

B4B Note: You would NEVER see the Bush's doing something this kind for the people. What a difference ! Click if photo did not appear.


VIDEO: President Obama's Thanksgiving Day Address

If video does not appear click

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama Taking Control Over U.S. Economy

...Two Months Early

Barack Obama effectively took control of the US economy - two months before he takes office - by declaring that his plan to confront the financial crisis "starts today".

As he unveiled his new economic team, Mr Obama struck a very different note from the diffident election winner of three weeks ago who stressed that America is led by only "one president at a time".

Today, he appeared fully aware that the US and global markets are looking to him, not President Bush, for solutions to the deepening crisis.

Continuing the quickest White House transition of modern times, forced upon him by the speed at which the US is plunging into recession, Mr Obama stepped aggressively into what appeared to be a growing power vacuum in Washington over the economy.

Giving the outlines of a massive stimulus package to "jolt the economy back on track", Mr Obama stressed the need to act "swiftly and boldly". He said: "That work starts today, because the truth is, we don't have a minute to waste."

At a press conference in Chicago, Mr Obama formally announced his nomination of Timothy Geithner, 47, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Treasury Secretary, and Larry Summers, Bill Clinton's former Treasury Secretary, as director of the National Economic Council, his chief White House financial adviser.

Mr Obama refused to specify how much his stimulus package will cost, but some leading Democrats on Capitol Hill are now calling for a huge injection of cash of up to $700 billion.

The president-elect repeatedly stressed the urgency of the situation and spoke of an economy "trapped in a vicious cycle" as he made clear his expectation that Congress will have a plan ready for him to sign into law as soon as he is inaugurated.

"We know this won't be easy and it won't happen overnight," Mr Obama warned.

"The reality is that the economic crisis we face is no longer just an American crisis, it is a global crisis - and we will need to reach out to countries around the world to craft a global response."

He added that on January 20, he wants to "hit the ground running".

Mr Obama spoke shortly after being consulted by Mr Bush and Henry Paulson, the current Treasury Secretary, over their decision to bailout the stricken Citigroup. The move effectively gave a US government guarantee over the the bank's potential $306 billion losses on high-risk assets - the largest bailout yet. The bank was given an immediate injection of $20 billion.

Mr Geithner has already been working for months with Mr Paulson on the Wall Street rescue plan and both he and Mr Bush appear increasingly willing to cede the ground to Mr Obama and his team, as they recognise the importance that the response to the crisis largely lies now in the president-elect's hands.

Mr Obama said Mr Geithner offered an "unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency".

Mr Summers, considered one of the most brilliant economic minds in the US, will be a particularly influential adviser to Mr Obama and is a leading proponent for a massive and bold stimulus plan. Last week he said any such scheme would have to be "speedy, substantial and sustained".

"I am glad he will be by my side... and I will rely heavily on his advice as we navigate the unchartered waters of this economic crisis," Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama also named Christina Romer as director of the Council of Economic Advisers and added Melody Barnes to his economic team, a group that he said offered "sound judgment and fresh thinking".

Mr Obama has already, informally, put together the principal players in his national security team, including Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. He has acted with almost unprecedented speed. Mr Clinton did not make his first transition announcement until mid-December 1992.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Reports: Top Adviser Susan Rice To Be
Obama's UN Ambassador

Check back for updates

Susan Rice, formerly of the Clinton administration and the Brookings institution, is rumored to be a top pick for President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

ABC has the information and it seems to be the kind of almost-announcement seen with Obama's economic team last week, which means it should be reliable.

ABC News has learned that Dr. Susan Rice has emerged as the leading candidate to be President-elect Obama's nominee as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Neither Dr. Rice nor the Obama Transition Team had any comment. The usual caveats apply -- nothing is yet a done deal, nothing has been officially offered or accepted, national security team announcements will not come until after Thanksgiving.

For complete article click


Obama To Name Desiree Rogers
White House Social Secretary

Prominent Chicago businesswoman Desiree Rogers will be named the White House social secretary, according to a series of news reports. The 49-year-old Harvard MBA will be the first African-American to hold the post.

From the Washington Post:

Rogers, 49, is a friend of Michelle and President-elect Barack Obama's, and a leader in Chicago corporate and civic circles; her appointment signals that the first couple consider the job crucial to how they introduce themselves to the country and the globe. She was a major fundraiser for Obama.

"This appointment sends a strong message that the Obamas want to use the White House strategically, to maximize its use in a way that is consistent with their philosophy -- [to] open it to a broader range of people, " said Valerie Jarrett, an Obama intimate and friend of Rogers's who also will work in the White House. "Desirée is a heavy hitter -- she comes with her own range of contacts from around the country. She's close to Michelle and she knows everyone who will be working in the West Wing, so she will be able to create a synergy."

Rogers will join the White House from Allstate Financial, where she was creating a social network of clients and consumers. She was previously the president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

If photo not shown click:


Armed agents patrol from the back of Obama's motorcade. (By Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press)

Obama Friend; 'Plain Old Barack Is Gone'

Eli Saslow/Peter Slevin

Washington Post

A familiar number showed up on Terry Link's cellphone last week, the one that belonged to the friend he tutored in politics, dominated in golf and sometimes referred to playfully as "Ears." At least once each week for almost a decade, the Illinois state senator had talked on the phone to Barack Obama, but now the number seemed to belong to somebody else.

"This time I answered, 'Hello, Mr. President,' " Link said. "When he called, it used to just be 'Hey, Barack. What's going on?' But plain old Barack is gone."

Obama's home in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood has become a compound guarded ever more closely by bomb-sniffing dogs and Secret Service agents who peer through binoculars at neighboring rooftops. When he travels around the city, it is in an armored limousine and 20-car motorcade, so he has mainly stayed bunkered at home or a downtown transition office. Last week, Obama told one friend that he felt "a little boxed in."

This is only the beginning of the transformation that awaits the president-elect and his family. In two months, they will move into a sterile house in a unfamiliar city where they have never felt particularly comfortable. Friends say Obama is savoring these final weeks in Chicago and spending as much time as possible with his family before he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.

During his political rise, Obama safeguarded times of normalcy and credited them for keeping him sane. A run on the treadmill in the early morning. An evening meander through 57th Street Books. Date night with his wife, Michelle, at one of their favorite restaurants. Pickup basketball at a gym downtown.

Obama already has learned that his mundane routine will be difficult to replicate as president, but his friends say that establishing some kind of similar comfort zone is critical to his success in Washington. They consider it one of the most pressing -- and most challenging -- issues of Obama's transition: How can he create a life as president that keeps him happy?

"Look, there are just certain things that he can't do anymore, or he can't do as easily, and that's going to be hard," said Marty Nesbitt, Obama's closest friend in Chicago. "The objective is to just make sure that things stay as similar to the way they used to be as they can. The same routines, the same conversations -- that's what he wants."

The Obamas have said they will personalize the White House by buying a dog and hosting sleepovers for their daughters. Friends expect them to occasionally spend time back in their Hyde Park home and take annual vacations to Hawaii. Inside the impermeable White House, Obama, by instinct an introvert, can read in the solarium or write in his office, alone and unbothered.

For almost five years now, Obama has lamented the way his public rise has infringed upon his personal space, calling it the most painful drawback of high-profile public service. During his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, he chafed when friends suggested it was no longer safe for him to run alone on the shore of Lake Michigan. He argued with aides a few years later when they assigned him a full-time driver, explaining that he preferred alone time in the car.

On the night of his election, Obama questioned whether it was necessary to speak to a crowd of 200,000 in Grant Park behind two panes of protective glass, agreeing to the arrangement only after staffers convinced him that it was. Although his staffers continued to party into the early hours, Obama was home before 2 a.m. He awoke by 8 the next morning, dressed in a sweat shirt and a baseball cap, and rode to the gym in a friend's apartment building for his regular morning workout.

"Like everybody else, he's got his routines," said Alexi Giannoulias, a friend who plays basketball with Obama. "There are some little things that make him enjoy life, and he's not just going to give all of that up."

Many things, though, Obama has relinquished. Only three times has he left home after dark since Election Day. He traveled with his wife to a friend's house to celebrate adviser Valerie Jarrett's 52nd birthday. One night, the couple went to dinner at Spiaggia's, a stylish and expensive Italian restaurant where the Obamas traditionally celebrate Valentine's Day over a quiet meal. This time, Secret Service agents guarded the perimeter and a crowd gathered and snapped pictures of the Obamas on their way back to the motorcade. And on Saturday night, he went to parties at the homes of Nesbitt and Penny Pritzker. He played basketball with friends Sunday afternoon in Hyde Park. Continue Article


Why America Feels Like It's Been
Ruled By A Foreign Occupier

By John Hallmann

As Obama takes over the wreckage this country is in, one can't help but feel like something alien to America has been controlling it these past eight years. The wave of emotion that has erupted with the election of Barack Obama reminds me of the Allied victory in France in WWII. After a long foreign occupation in which foreign German interests occupied the agenda of France, French governance would once again be representing the concerns of it's populace. That hope seems to pervade America after it's long neocons occupation. Here are a few of the parallels that I see.

- American Public Opinion Has Been Ignored

Polling has consistently shown that the American government pursues an agenda far to the right of American public opinion. For the slight margin of victory that Bush had in both elections he won, the sweeping changes he pursued illuminate his disregard for the sizable chunk of our society that disagree with him.

When Dick Cheney was questioned on ABC about whether the fact that two thirds of Americans were opposed to the Iraq War had any influence on decision-making, he basically said that the American people get to make their input every four years and after that they can be ignored. The government is there to represent the people and now that it seems like that is returning; joy is understandable.

- Core American Values Overturned

America fought a revolution to have its opinions represented by it's government. That has faded in Bush's term. America set up the UN after World War II to set up international law and put an end to military aggression and imperialism. That went out the window. Habeas Corpus was inherited from England where it originated in the 12th Century. Bush in that sense has embraced the morals of the middle ages. Along that line, America reinstituted the use of torture. England discontinued its use in the 1600's Frederick the Great ended it in Prussia in 1740, Italy in 1786, France in 1789, and Russia in 1801. Besides moral reasons, the practice was written off as ineffective in terms of yielding useful information. This administrations moral conduct is clearly alien to the values of most Americans.

- Basic Infrastructure Neglected

Bridges, roads, and environmental standards have degraded these past eight years. What could be of more interest to a population than the upkeep of these vital elements of society? Clearly the vital interests of the population did not matter. You would have to be completely foreign to what America is not to see it, as basic infrastructure degraded tremendously in Bush's tenure.

- National Resources Diverted Overseas

If you study any foreign occupation, one common thread would be that national wealth would be diverted into foreign lands. While American healthcare, education, and infrastructure languished, we dumped billions of dollars into Iraq and pursued an otherwise aggressive and destructive foreign policy across the world at large at tremendous cost.

On top of that, national debt doubled the past eight years. It's like America lost a war, suffered an occupation and had to pay a 5 trillion dollar indemnity. We're in a similar position to France in 1870 or Germany in 1919 in that our common interests have been ignored, we've pursued an aggressive foreign policy to our own detriment and we are now deeply in debt.

- Propaganda Tuned Up

Bush took the stance of a foreign occupier in his governance- rational argument would never win the minds and hearts of the masses so crude propaganda such as Fox News was trotted out to scare and paralyze America into obedience. The same quest for obedience through misinformation and crude scare tactics are the same you see in the totalitarian governments from South America to Asia that have brought nothing but misery to their own people and the world at large. (HuffPo)

Faiz Shakir (Think Progress)

Obama to appoint Melody Barnes as head of Domestic Policy Council.»

2760447624_37c37412c9.jpgLater today, President-elect Barack Obama will announce that our friend and former colleague Melody Barnes will be named as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. The Council “coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House and offers policy advice to the President.” In her new role, Melody will be working with allies such as incoming HHS Secretary Tom Daschle to bring about comprehensive health care reform. Her policy portfolio will include issues such as education, immigration, criminal justice, and other domestic issues. Melody was a former Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, and previously served as Senior Domestic Policy Advisor for the campaign and as co-chair of the Agency Review Working Group for the transition. We wish her the best of luck.

Update: Mike Allen notes that "Barnes, a Richmond native, is one of the top African-Americans named to the new administration."

Christina Romer, "a well-regarded economist at the University of California at Berkeley," will lead the Council of Economic Advisers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

VIDEO: A Look At Our New 1st Lady
Michelle Obama

Click B4B if video did not appear

John Kerry To Chair
Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Bryan Bender (Boston Globe)

Senator John Kerry will be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, congressional officials said, giving him enormous influence over the foreign policies of President-elect Barack Obama.

Kerry, who was elected to a fifth term from Massachusetts earlier this month, will be handed the gavel when the new Congress convenes in January. He will take over for Vice President-elect Joseph Biden Jr., the officials said.

Aides to Kerry said he was already laying out a broad agenda for the committee, beginning with new legislation to strengthen the United States' hand against terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan; provide oversight of efforts to end the war in Iraq; and seize what he sees as a new opportunity to curtail the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Kerry, 64, is still considered by some political observers to be a possible pick for Obama's secretary of state, but Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and the former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, each of whom met separately with Obama at his Chicago transition office last week, are considered far more likely selections for the position of top diplomat.

Still, from his new perch on the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry would play an "enormous gatekeeping role," said Ralph Carter, a professor at Texas Christian University and co-author of the upcoming book "Choosing to Lead: Understanding Congressional Foreign Policy Entrepreneurs."

Along with the Judiciary and Finance committees, the Foreign Relations Committee was among the first three Senate panels established, in 1816. It is responsible for vetting international treaties before ratification by the full Senate, and for conducting the confirmation hearings for presidential nominees for the State Department, including all foreign ambassadors.

The committee also oversees the State Department budget and funds foreign aid programs, helps set arms control policy and authorizes military training for allied nations.


Obama Weekly Address:
Outlines Plan to Create 2.5 Million New Jobs

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday outlined his plan to create 2.5 million jobs in coming years to rebuild roads and bridges and modernize schools while developing alternative energy sources and more efficient cars.

"These aren't just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis; these are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long," Obama said in the weekly Democratic radio address. The economic recovery plan being developed by his staff aims to create 2.5 million jobs by January 2011, and he wants to get it through Congress quickly and sign it soon after taking office.

He called the plan "big enough to meet the challenges we face" and said that it will jump-start job creation but also "lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy."

Aides said the economic plan outlined Saturday went further than the president-elect has gone before.

A trio of crises _ housing, credit and financial _ have badly damaged the economy, and financial analysts have projected the country's economic hardships will continue through much of 2009.

Obama acknowledged Saturday that evidence is growing the country is "facing an economic crisis of historic proportions." He noted turmoil on Wall Street, a decrease in new home purchases, growing jobless claims and the menacing problem of deflation.

Obama said getting congressional approval for his broad economic plan will not be easy.

"I will need and seek support from Republicans and Democrats, and I'll be welcome to ideas and suggestions from both sides of the aisle," he said. "But what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action."

Across the country, Americans "are lying awake at night wondering if next week's paycheck will cover next month's bills," people are showing up at work to clear out their desks and retirees are watching their life savings disappear, Obama said.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to 542,000. That marked the highest level since July 1992 and provided fresh evidence of a rapidly weakening job market that is expected to get even worse next year.

In this country's darkest hours, the American people have risen above their divisions to solve their problems, he said.

"We have acted boldly, bravely, and above all, together," Obama said. "That is the chance our new beginning now offers us, and that is the challenge we must rise to in the days to come. It is time to act. As the next president of the United States, I will."


Friday, November 21, 2008

Tim Geithner, Obama's Treasury Secretary

HuffPost's Sam Stein reports: Barack Obama will name his Treasury Secretary on Monday, a Democratic source confirms to the Huffington Post. NBC News and other outlets report that Tim Geithner will get the nod over former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Geithner is currently the president of the Federal Reserve and once served in the Treasury Department under Summers.

Part of the reason Obama is making the announcement so soon is the market disarray in recent days. The public roll-out of an economic team could calm those waters.

Another Democrat, however, told the Huffington Post that there is a growing recognition within the Obama circle that they need to be more assertive in the transition period about their personnel and goals for governance. There is some concern that the economic situation will grow so poor under the remaining months of the Bush administration that Obama will be left with nearly insurmountable economic tasks.

More details from NBC:

Geithner has been a key player in the current economic crisis -- helping Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his team manage the wall street bailout.

Former Treasury Secretary Summers -- also considered for the post -- might still play a major future role in the Obama administration, according to sources. Summers came under fire from women's groups because of controversial comments he made about gender issues while President of Harvard, but sources say the decision to choose Geithner had more to do with Obama's interest in "change" and getting someone new on the team.

Also expected Monday -- an announcement that former U.N. Ambassador and Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, will be Commerce Secretary.

Paul Volcker is expected to play a continuing advisory role -- not clear if he would have an appointed position.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama: Don't Hire Hillary

By Patricia DeGennaro

Anyone who has not heard that Senator Hillary Clinton is being considered for Secretary of State is definitely living under a rock. Every media station and pundit is weighing in on this decision. They say it is "restorative." It is a "gesture" from the Obama camp "healing" campaign wounds. "Everybody" agrees she should be chosen. I say if Obama wants to mend scars he should send her flowers.

As a professor of global affairs and an international security advisor to both the U.S. military and President of Afghanistan, I do not agree with the masses - again. Appointing Senator Clinton is a bad idea. If the President-elect is truly for change he needs someone who supports that and so far Clinton has held true to business as usual.

This is not a discussion about Clinton's experience. She has plenty. It is about the differences between these two individuals, the differences between their stated foreign policy and Obama's promise for change.

Clinton is a member of the establishment. She has transformed herself into one of the best politicians in recent memory. The result was a very formidable bid for the Presidency, but let's face it: she did not win. America elected Obama and change.

The repeated debates between these two candidates clearly showed one area where she and Obama differed tremendously. That area is foreign policy.

She supported the Iraq war, he is against it. Clinton was unapologetic about voting for the war despite pleas from her own constituency to admit it was a mistake. Alternatively, she took a hard stance and further disagreed with Obama's idea of withdrawal.

Under no circumstances does Clinton want to speak with Iran. Obama, on the other hand, stated that he felt speaking to Iran was a requirement for getting them past their nuclear weapons ambitions. Her policy ironically is to use ours on them if they did not submit to US demands.

Further, Clinton has said nothing of changing policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, two issues that were central to Obama's foreign policy platform. Nor has she commented on how to move beyond either war toward a more sustainable peace.

She has shown through her own statements that she is definitely more hawkish than he is. I wonder if she can stand down when he says so.

Appointing Clinton Secretary of State is not what the US needs especially when it is trying to repair its relationships in the world, end two wars and get the Middle East peace process back on track.

With Clinton America will be back to implementing the same international policies we see today. A policy that is pentagon heavy and diplomatically light. A policy that is internally fractured and divisive instead of comprehensive and cohesive. A policy that has not learned to look beyond dominance and war.

If Obama is serious about turning America around, he should not be considering another Clintonite at all. He should be considering others. Someone like Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel would be my pick and a much wiser choice.

Hagel has spoken out against the war, supported many of Obama's initiatives in the Senate, as well as during his campaign, and, as a Republican, would help bridge between party lines.

Hagel also understands that the US is in danger of putting too much focus on the pentagon and loosing America's prided civilian leadership in the foreign policy. Moreover, he understands our self-interest is tied to the rest of the world and the US can no longer afford to ignore this. Hagel will work to improve the reputation of this country throughout the world. He would represent the change that Obama has promised.

The New York Times said Clinton is unsure about taking the job of Secretary of State because she "likes being her own boss." As a New Yorker, I would have to agree. Clinton would serve everyone better by staying in the Senate. More importantly, if Obama is really serious about change, he too would be much better off if he left her there. (HuffPo)


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Official: Axelrod Joining Obama's White House !

President-elect Barack Obama made David Axelrod's White House post official Wednesday, naming his chief campaign strategist as a senior advisor to the president.

From Greg Hinz's account in Crain's Chicago Business:

Mr. Axelrod, 53, worked as Mr. Obama's chief strategist during the presidential campaign and led the new president's successful Senate race four years ago. A New York City native and former Chicago Tribune reporter, he also played key roles in the election of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Mr. Emanuel, and Hillary Clinton to the U.S. Senate.

A press release announcing the appointment did not indicate whether he will move to Washington -- that is expected -- or whether he will dispose of his interest in his consulting firm, AKP&D Message and Media.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

YES ! President Obama Selects

America's First Black

Attorney General...ERIC HOLDER !

From NBC's Pete Williams
President-elect Obama has offered Eric Holder the position of attorney general, and Holder has accepted it, according to sources involved in the process. The formal announcement has been held up while Obama transition team members ran the idea past key senators. And Obama wanted to announce members of his financial team first -- Treasury Secretary and so on.

Holder is a former superior court judge and U.S. attorney in Washington and a former prosecutor in the Public Integrity section of the Justice Department. He was Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, during which he was well regarded. At one point, he strongly considered running for mayor of Washington, D.C., but decided being the No. 2 official at Justice was too good to pass up.

He also led the search team for Obama's running mate.

His only potential hang-up for confirmation is the controversy over the pardon of Marc Rich in the closing hours of the Clinton administration. Holder approved the pardon as acting attorney general, after Reno left, without paying much attention to it, and it turned out to be a big embarrassment to Clinton.

So far, the Hill response to Holder has been positive, officials say.

The offer to Holder was made last week, officials say, and he accepted it, conditioned on a good reception from the Hill. So this is as close to a done deal as it can get before it's announced.

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Chris Donovan adds that Holder has held three jobs over his career that required U.S. Senate confirmation and he has yet to see a recorded vote against him.

In July 1997 he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a roll call vote of 100-0 for the job of Deputy Attorney General.

In September 1993 he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by Voice Vote for the job of U.S. Attorney for D.C.

In October 1988 he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by Unanimous Consent for the job of Associate Judge of Superior Court of D.C.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Historic !
President Obama's First Weekly Address

Yes We DID !
If Video Does Not Appear Click

We've Come A Long Way !
John Adams: Slaves Built The White House

Monday, November 10, 2008



President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle, have arrived at the White House for a visit, their first since Obama's landslide election victory.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were at the South Portico of the White House to greet the Obamas on a sunny fall day with moderate temperatures and colorful _ but fading _ autumn leaves.

Just a couple moments later, Bush and Obama were seen walking along the White House collonade to the Oval Office.

The Obamas' arrival had the look of a foreign head-of-state state visit _ although there were no fife and drum bands, speeches or official pageantry. The Obamas were driven up to the South Portico, where they were welcomed by the Bushes and escorted into the Executive Mansion that they'll call home in a little more than two months.


Obama Plans Guantanamo Close, U.S. Trials

WASHINGTON — President-elect Obama's advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.

During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a "sad chapter in American history" and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.

Under plans being put together in Obama's camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.

A third group of detainees _ the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information _ might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren't final.

The move would be a sharp deviation from the Bush administration, which established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at the Navy base in Cuba and strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States. Obama's Republican challenger, John McCain, had also pledged to close Guantanamo. But McCain opposed criminal trials, saying the Bush administration's tribunals should continue on U.S. soil.

The plan being developed by Obama's team has been championed by legal scholars from both political parties. But it is almost certain to face opposition from Republicans who oppose bringing terrorism suspects to the U.S. and from Democrats who oppose creating a new court system with fewer rights for detainees.

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, said discussions about plans for Guantanamo had been "theoretical" before the election but would quickly become very focused because closing the prison is a top priority. Bringing the detainees to the United States will be controversial, he said, but could be accomplished.

"I think the answer is going to be, they can be as securely guarded on U.S. soil as anywhere else," Tribe said. "We can't put people in a dungeon forever without processing whether they deserve to be there."

The tougher challenge will be allaying fears by Democrats who believe the Bush administration's military commissions were a farce and dislike the idea of giving detainees anything less than the full constitutional rights normally enjoyed by everyone on U.S. soil.

"There would be concern about establishing a completely new system," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and former federal prosecutor who is aware of the discussions in the Obama camp. "And in the sense that establishing a regimen of detention that includes American citizens and foreign nationals that takes place on U.S. soil and departs from the criminal justice system _ trying to establish that would be very difficult."

Obama has said the civilian and military court-martial systems provide "a framework for dealing with the terrorists," and Tribe said the administration would look to those venues before creating a new legal system. But discussions of what a new system would look like have already started.

"It would have to be some sort of hybrid that involves military commissions that actually administer justice rather than just serve as kangaroo courts," Tribe said. "It will have to both be and appear to be fundamentally fair in light of the circumstances. I think people are going to give an Obama administration the benefit of the doubt in that regard."

Though a hybrid court may be unpopular, other advisers and Democrats involved in the Guantanamo Bay discussions say Obama has few other options.

Prosecuting all detainees in federal courts raises a host of problems. Evidence gathered through military interrogation or from intelligence sources might be thrown out. Defendants would have the right to confront witnesses, meaning undercover CIA officers or terrorist turncoats might have to take the stand, jeopardizing their cover and revealing classified intelligence tactics.

In theory, Obama could try to transplant the Bush administration's military commission system from Guantanamo Bay to a U.S. prison. But Tribe said, and other advisers agreed, that was "a nonstarter." With lax evidence rules and intense secrecy, the military commissions have been criticized by human rights groups, defense attorneys and even some military prosecutors who quit the process in protest.

"I don't think we need to completely reinvent the wheel, but we need a better tribunal process that is more transparent," Schiff said.

That means something different would need to be done if detainees couldn't be released or prosecuted in traditional courts. Exactly what that something would look like remains unclear.

According to three advisers participating in the process, Obama is expected to propose a new court system, appointing a committee to decide how such a court would operate. Some detainees likely would be returned to the countries where they were first captured for further detention or rehabilitation. The rest could probably be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts, one adviser said. All spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing talks, which have been private.

Whatever form it takes, Tribe said he expects Obama to move quickly.

"In reality and symbolically, the idea that we have people in legal black holes is an extremely serious black mark," Tribe said. "It has to be dealt with." (HuffPo)


President Obama and New 1st Lady
To Visit White House Today

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama has never set foot in the Oval Office. Talk about making an entrance.

In a sit-down discussion Monday with President Bush, the president-elect will get his first feel for the place where momentous decisions will soon fall to him.

Bush invited Obama for the private talk, a rite of passage between presidents and successors that extends for decades.

The moment is sure to be steeped in history, part of a symbolic changing of a guard to Democratic leadership and the country's first black president. But it will be substantive as well, as Bush and Obama are expected to review the nation's enormous economic downturn and the war in Iraq.

"I'm going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship, and a sense that both the president and various leaders of Congress all recognize the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done," Obama said last week when asked about his meeting with Bush.

Obama won the presidency in an electoral landslide on Tuesday. He ran a campaign in which he relentlessly linked Republican opponent John McCain to Bush and presented his ideas as a fresh alternative to what he called Bush's failed policies.

Yet the tone changed almost immediately after Obama's win.

Bush, who had endorsed McCain, lauded Obama's victory as a "triumph of the American story." He warmly invited the Obama family to the White House.

Obama, in turn, thanked Bush for being gracious. The president-elect has made clear to the people of the United States and those watching around the world that there is only one president for now, and that's Bush. Obama is in the transition to power but does not assume the presidency until Jan. 20.

Josh Bolten, Bush's chief of staff, said Bush and Obama will be the only ones in the room when they meet.

"I'm sure each of them will have a list of issues to go down," Bolten said, interviewed on C-SPAN by reporters from The Associated Press and The Washington Post. "But I think that's something very personal to both of them. I know the president will want to convey to President-elect Obama his sense of how to deal with some of the most important issues of the day. But exactly how he does that, I don't know, and I don't think anybody will know."

Obama and wife, Michelle, are set to arrive at the White House on Monday afternoon. Bush and first lady Laura Bush will greet them.

In a bit of pageantry for the cameras, the president and president-elect are to walk along the Colonnade and into the Oval Office. The nice pictures, though, might be all people can expect; Bush and Obama are not scheduled to make any public statements during their time together.

Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama will meet privately, too.

Unlike the incoming president, Bush knew his way around the Oval Office by the time he was elected in 2000 — his father had been president. Still, like many before them, President Clinton and President-elect Bush had their own private meeting, keeping up a tradition that temporarily puts the presidency above politics.

Obama has been to the White House before, including an emergency leadership session to deal with the financial crisis in September.

But an Obama spokeswoman said the president-elect has never been in the Oval Office.


Yes We DID !


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Behind-The-Scene Photos

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Victory Speech
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
Its the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and hes fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nations promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy thats coming with us to the White House. And while shes no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what youve sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didnt start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didnt do this just to win an election and I know you didnt do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how theyll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldnt vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that shes seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we cant, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when womens voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

MSNBC Repeatedly Reporting

Wrong Poll Closing Times

Sometimes, the multitude of information and data that floods the airwaves on Election Day can be too overwhelming to keep track of.
During MSNBC's coverage today, according to Media Matters, the cable news network continually aired "graphics that purported to show "POLL CLOSING" times for each state. But in states that cross over time zones, the times listed in the graphics reflected the western-most time zone in the state, in which polls close an hour later than the rest of the state. Thus, people watching MSNBC in the eastern portion of some states could be left with the impression that local polls would be open for an hour after they actually close."
According to Media Matters:
For example, according to the Florida Department of State's "2008 Voter Registration and Voting Guide," "Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time." Since Florida is split between the Eastern and Central time zones, polls close at 7 p.m. ET in some parts of the state and at 8 p.m. ET in other parts, not at 8 p.m. ET throughout the state, as the MSNBC graphic indicated. Likewise, according to the Michigan Secretary of State, polls in the state are "open from 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m," but since the state is in two time zones, the majority of the state polls close at 8 p.m. ET, and the remainder close at 9 p.m. ET. But the MSNBC graphic suggested that all polls in the state close at 9 p.m. ET.
Moreover, MSNBC aired the graphic even after NBC News political director Chuck Todd acknowledged the differences in poll closing times in Florida. During the noon ET hour of MSNBC Live, Todd said, "And a reminder, when you see that we have polls closing at 8 o'clock in Florida, that doesn't mean polls are open until 8 o'clock in the Eastern time zone of Florida. So if you're in South Florida or Central Florida, your polls close at 7. It's in the panhandle that they close in 8 Eastern."

Election 2008 Voting InformationToday,

November 4th, is Election Day!

Remember to vote--not just for Barack Obama, but for Congressional, state, and local candidates as well.
Where and when do I vote?
Find your polling place, voting times, and other important information by checking out these sites and the hotline below. These resources are good, but not perfect. To be doubly sure, you can also contact your local elections office.
Obama's VoteForChange site:
League of Women Voters' site:
Obama's voter hotline: 877-US4-OBAMA (877-874-6226)
What should I do before I go?
After you've entered your address on either Vote For Change or Vote411, read the voting instructions and special rules for your state.
Voting ID laws vary from state to state, but if you have ID, bring it.
Check out all the voting myths and misinformation to look out for:
What if something goes wrong?
Not on the voter list? Make sure you're at the right polling place, then demand a provisional ballot.
If you're voting on an electronic machine with a paper record, verify that the record is accurate.
Need legal help? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
If you encounter a problem, try to videotape the situation and submit it to
Want to do more?
Text all of your friends: 'Vote Obama today! Pass it on!'
Make calls from home for Obama.
Now, everybody go vote!!!

Now It's Up To You...
We started this campaign in February 2007. Twenty-one months later the day we have all been waiting for is upon us.We will wake up tomorrow with a chance to make history. A chance to elect Barack Obama president. This is what we've all been working for. This is what we've sacrificed dinners out for, why we spent our summer organizing, why we stayed up late to call, why spent our weekends volunteering. One day to change the world. Our supporters have put their heart and soul into this campaign. And there is no way that we would be where we are without you. You made this campaign what it is today. We reached this point because of you.Now is the time to do what we've been working for: vote for Barack Obama for president. Go to right now and find your polling location. Invite all of your friends and family to find their polling location. Decide when you are going to vote; on the way to work, at lunch or on the way home. Remind your co-workers to vote. Go vote and make history.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Desperate McCain Now
Attacking Obama's Patriotism

Sam Stein (huffpo)

John McCain unveiled a new attack on Barack Obama's patriotism Saturday, jumping all over - and taking out of context - remarks made yesterday in which the Democratic nominee said the Iowa Caucuses vindicated his faith in the American public.
Campaigning in Springfield, Virginia, McCain told the crowd that he had always had faith in his country and - dinging his opponent - claimed that the United States "has never had to prove anything to me."
For all the politics at play here - certainly, the GOP has won many elections painting their opponents as not loving of country - there is much to quibble with.
For starters, at various points during this campaign, McCain - whose surrogates and vice president have often gone after Obama on this front - has confirmed that he believes Obama to be a patriot. Moreover, the Republican nominee at one point in his life made comments similar to those offered by the Illinois Democrat.
Speaking about his experience in Vietnam, he described his time as a POW as one that tested and affirmed his love of country.
"I think it makes you a better person," he told Fox News' Sean Hannity in March 2008. "Obviously, it makes you love America. I really didn't love America until I was deprived of her company, but probably the most important thing about it, Sean, is that I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve in the company of heroes."
Past statements aside, if one actually takes a look at what Obama said, and what he has said before, it is hard to interpret in anyway that he doubted the United States. Just look at the sentences before his "faith" remark, in which he lavishly praises the American people, who he "knew" were "decent" and "generous."
"I had confidence in the people of Iowa because I knew that the American people are a decent people and a generous people, willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations," the Senator told a crowd in Des Moines on Friday. "No where was that truer than here in Iowa."
Those remarks, as the Obama camp pointed out Saturday afternoon, are almost identical to ones made by the Senator even before the Iowa caucus.
"Most of all, I believed in the power of the American people to be the real agents of change in this country - because we are not as divided as our politics suggests; because we are a decent, generous people willing to work hard and sacrifice for future generations; and I was certain that if we could just mobilize our voices to challenge the special interests that dominate Washington and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there was no problem we couldn't solve - no destiny we couldn't fulfill. Ten months later, Iowa, you have vindicated that faith."
There were no screams of treason then. Rather those comments were interpreted for what they were: Obama thanking the Iowa public for exhibiting the characteristics that he believes make America, America.
"It's pathetic that John McCain would take a statement Barack Obama has been making for a year about his faith in the American people and distort it to attack his patriotism," spokesman Bill Burton said in response to McCain's attack Saturday. "Sadly, this is what we've come to expect from a desperate, dishonorable campaign that will say anything in a failed attempt to win this election."