Despite early reservations, New York state's most powerful legislative leader now says he'll support Caroline Kennedy for the U.S. Senate if the governor names her to the seat expected to be vacated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the New York Post he's rethinking his views on Kennedy because he feels Gov. David Paterson will soon pick her to replace Clinton, President-elect Barack Obama's choice as secretary of state.
The end drew closer on Tuesday in Minnesota's drawn-out U.S. Senate race, with Democrat Al Franken holding a slim 50-vote lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, officials said.
Franken was leading Coleman 1,211,951 to 1,211,901 -- with at least 1,346 absentee ballots still to be counted by early next week.
"We're darn close," said Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat and member of the five-member board trying to determine the winner of the November 4 contest.
Defying U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers, Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, praised the 71-year-old Burris' integrity and asked that the corruption allegations not "taint this good and honest man."
Barack Obama will inherit two wars and the worst economic conditions in three generations when he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20. Ironically, that challenge might be a blessing for the president-elect — unemployment is so high and consumer confidence so low that even modest improvements will let him claim progress.
Obama also brings extraordinary assets to the task.
With the wind of her family's legacy at her back, Caroline Kennedy says her quest for a Senate seat has been a long time in the making.
In her first sit-down interview since she emerged as a Senate hopeful, the 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy told The Associated Press that she has always pondered jumping into politics, but waited for the right moment.
President-elect Barack Obama's plan for economic revival puts a big emphasis on public works projects. It also would rely on tax cuts.
But with the nation bruised by recession, with hundreds of thousands of jobs vanishing monthly, Obama's plan raises an urgent question: Will his remedies work fast enough?
The answer won't be clear for months or longer. In the meantime, pressure on the Obama team to deliver help quickly is intensifying.
President-elect Barack Obama has said all along that neither he nor his team was involved in any eye-popping dealmaking over filling his vacated Senate seat. Obama's hand-picked investigator agreed.
"Everybody behaved appropriately," declared Greg Craig, Obama's incoming White House counsel and the person asked to conduct the internal inquiry into contacts between the transition team and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
President-elect Barack Obama and a top aide have been interviewed by prosecutors investigating Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but an internal report released on Tuesday cleared them of any wrongdoing.
Blagojevich is mired in a corruption investigation that has left Obama's transition team scrambling to distance the incoming president from the scandal-tarred governor.
Among the charges the governor faces is the accusation that he tried to sell Obama's recently vacated Senate seat. He has denied the charges and refused to resign from his job.
Officials trying to determine who won the November 4 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota recessed their deliberations on Tuesday until the end of the year without reaching a decision.
Unofficial counts showed one-time comedian Al Franken, a Democrat, leading Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman by less than 50 votes out of more than 2.4 million ballots cast.
The Minnesota secretary of state's office said the next meeting of the state canvassing board was scheduled for December 30 with additional sessions, if needed, on January 5 and 6.
President-elect Barack Obama's transition office is ready to release an internal review of all contacts his staff had with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office over the Senate seat that Obama has vacated and that the governor is accused of putting up for sale.
The report's release, expected Tuesday, comes as Obama is vacationing in Hawaii. Obama said last week he wants to answer questions about conversations his aides had over filling his Senate seat because nothing inappropriate took place. But he kept the details private while the federal investigation continues.