Archives for Politics

Obama unveils his ‘new deal’

President-elect Barack Obama said on Saturday his plan to create at least 2.5 million new jobs included the largest infrastructure investment since the 1950s and a huge effort to reduce U.S. government energy use.

The United States will also make a big push to expand access to high-speed Internet and modernize school buildings across the country, he said.

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Obama lays groundwork for health care reform

President-elect Barack Obama has begun laying the groundwork for overhauling the troubled U.S. healthcare system, reaching out to interest groups and building grass-roots support for the huge undertaking.

Obama, who takes office on January 20, is using many of the Internet tools employed in his election campaign to engage the public. His Internet site asks people to submit ideas for changing the costly and inefficient system that leaves tens of millions uninsured.

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Obama’s diversity: How much is enough?

Barack Obama, soon to be the first black U.S. president, is on the road to making good his pledge to have a Cabinet and White House staff that are among most diverse ever, although some supporters are asking him to go even further. He added to the minority representation at the top of his administration Wednesday when he named New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Hispanic, as Commerce Secretary.

But some Latinos are grumbling it is not enough after all the support they gave him in the campaign, and gays and Asian-Americans are pushing for some representation in remaining Cabinet announcements. But overall Obama is allaying some early concerns that a black president wouldn't need to put so much importance on diversity of those working under him.

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RNC spent more money on Palin clothes

New campaign reports expected to be filed by the Republican National Committee today will show the Republican National Commitee spent even more money to buy clothes and accessories for controversial vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Previous campaign reports showed the national party spent some $150,000 for clothes for Palen to make the Alaska governor presentable to the American people. The new reports will show additional expenditures over and above the 150 grand.

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Franken drops some ballot challenges

Democrat Al Franken withdrew 633 challenges to ballots Wednesday in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race in what could be a first step toward a quicker conclusion to the recount.

Franken's attorney, Marc Elias, said many more withdrawals are likely. An attorney for Republican Norm Coleman said he may follow suit soon.

Any reduction in the pile of challenged ballots - more than 6,000 so far - will alleviate work for the canvassing board that meets Dec. 16 to begin examining those ballots.

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Richardson: Another tainted appointment?

President-elect Barack Obama will turn to another tained retread from the administration of former President Bill Clinton today when he names New Mexico governor (and former Presidential nomination rival) Bill Richardson as his new Secretary of Commerce.

Richardson wanted to become Secretary of State but settled for the Commerce job after Obama offered the higher-profile position to another rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Obama teams examine agencies

Aptly-named "agency review teams" for President-elect Barack Obama are swooping into federal agencies and asking hard questions about where the bodies are buried and who buried them.

With unprecedented swiftness the teams of at least 10 people, try to identify problems within the agencies and ways to deal with the problems before Obama takes office on Jan. 20, 2009.

And they are doing it, apparently, with the full cooperation of the Bush White House, something also unprecedented for Presidential transition.

Washington watchers say this, as much as anything the President-elect has done to date, signals change is coming.

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Bending the rules for Hillary Clinton

If President-elect Barack Obama wants Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed as his Secretary of State he may have to depend on Congress bending the rules to give her the job.

Interesting irony. The man who campaigned on honesty and openness in government may need a backroom deal from the good old boys on the Hill to complete his cabinet selections.

Seems Clinton's appointment runs afoul of the law because the salary for her new job went up during her time in the Senate. The rules say a member of Congress can't take a cabinet position if the pay went up while they were in office making laws that affect things like salary hikes for Presidential appointments.

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Republican Chambliss wins easily in GA

The South rose again Tuesday and doomed Democratic hopes for a filibuster proof Senate by keeping Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss as a Senator from Georgia.

Chambliss won easily in a race where a Democratic win was nothing more than a fantasy. McCain carried Georgia in the Presidential election in November and a Democrat hasn't won a statewide race there in the past decade.

Still, some Democrats held out hope that Jim Martin could ride the wave that swept Barack Obama into office along with more Democratic members of the House and Senate. Obama apparently did not share that illusion because he made no campaign appearances in the state for Martin.

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Can an Obama-Clinton marriage work?

By putting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton into one of the top jobs of his new administration, President-elect Barack Obama is -- depending on who you talk to -- making a brilliant tactical move or his is putting a fox in his henhouse and there won't be any eggs on the table in the morning.

During the bitter campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Obama often held Clinton up as an example of the outdated politics of the past. In the parimay, ge campaigned as much against the excesses of her husband's Presidency as on those of Geoge W. Bush.

Now he has Hillary Clinton by his side in a deal that is supposed to also muzzle the former President and limit his role on the international stage.

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