Archives for Politics

Blago scandal took time away from real issues

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.

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Obama report clears staff in Blago probe

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.

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No decision yet in Minnesota Senate race

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.

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Obama team set to spin role in Blago scandal

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.

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Hillary plans a more powerful State Dept.

Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to build a more muscular US State Department, with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys dispatched to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with the global economic crisis, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times cited an unnamed Hillary Clinton adviser as saying her push for a more vigorous economic team stems from her belief that the State Department needs to play a part in the recovery from the global financial crisis, while economic issues also are at the heart of key diplomatic relationships, notably with China.

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Minnesota: The election that never ends

With the state Canvassing Board ready to award the last pile of votes in Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount, Democrat Al Franken clung to a narrow lead over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. The final count, however, showed no sign of being settled soon.

On Tuesday, the board was scheduled to award votes from a remaining group of about 5,000 challenges that had been withdrawn by both campaigns. Based on a draft report released late Monday by the secretary of state's office, Franken will have earned 48 more votes than Coleman once those votes are allotted.

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Is Emanuel tangled in Blago’s web?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is legendary in Illinois political circles for not picking up the phone or returning calls, even from important figures like the state's senior senator, Dick Durbin.

But there was always one call Blagojevich regularly took, say his aides, and that was from Rahm Emanuel — his congressman, his one-time campaign adviser and, more recently — and troubling for Emanuel — one of his contacts with President-elect Barack Obama's transition staff.

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The candidate of change opts for experience

The candidate of change has wholeheartedly embraced experience in choosing his Cabinet.

President-elect Barack Obama has tapped senators and representatives, governors and veteran bureaucrats to help him confront the challenges of two wars, a crippled financial system and a deepening recession.

His reliance on experienced officials may seem a bit at odds with his campaign theme of "change we can believe in." But some Democratic activists and nonpartisan analysts say it makes sense, given the dire economic problems and public anxiety.

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Is Palin hanging out with drug dealers?

During the Presidential campaign, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin accused Democratic nominee Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" because he happened to know former Weather Underground bomber William Ayers.

Now it looks like her daughter's future mother in law may be a drug dealer. So who's palling around with whom? Keith Olbermann examines the issue on MSNBC:

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