WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill arrived at their future home at Washington's Naval Observatory Thursday afternoon and were greeted as they exited their black SUV by its current residents, Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne.
The couples shook hands as Mrs. Cheney arranged the photo-op on the front porch, telling Mrs. Biden, “Now Jill, I was told that you were to be in the middle.”
As the foursome headed inside for what was billed as a private meeting followed by a tour of the mansion, a reporter asked Biden if he had been there before.
“I’ve been on the ground floor a couple times,” Biden responded.
Afterwards, a spokeswoman for the vice president wrote in a statement that the meeting lasted 50 minutes and that "it was a good visit."
"Vice President Cheney and his wife Lynne were pleased to welcome Vice President-elect Biden and his wife Jill to the Naval Observatory this afternoon," said spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. "It was a good visit. The Cheneys enjoyed giving the Bidens a tour of the residence and wished them well as they make it their home in January."
A spokesperson for Biden also said the visit went well.
"The Vice President-elect and Dr. Jill Biden met with Vice President Cheney and his wife Lynne at the Naval Observatory this evening. The Bidens thank the Cheneys for welcoming them into their home and for their gracious hospitality," said spokesperson for the Vice President-elect Elizabeth Alexander.
Chances are most of Biden's visits to the residence did not come over the past eight years. The future vice president has been a regular and fervent critic of Cheney, calling him “the most dangerous vice president probably in American history” at the vice presidential debate in early October.
(CNN) - Two sources close to the Obama transition team tell CNN that Senator Hillary Clinton’s name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Secretary of State.
One source close to Hillary Clinton tells CNN that as of early yesterday, Senator Clinton had not been contacted by the transition team about a possible cabinet appointment. This same source tells CNN that Senator Clinton would not necessarily dismiss such an offer.
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reines, tells CNN “Any speculation about cabinet or other administration appointments is really for President-Elect Obama's transition team to address.”
On Monday night, while walking into an awards ceremony in New York, Senator Clinton was asked if she would consider taking a post in the Obama administration. She replied, "I am happy being a Senator from New York, I love this state and this city. I am looking at the long list of things I have to catch up on and do. But I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful."
(CNN) – Vice President-elect Joe Biden spoke with eight foreign leaders earlier this week, the transition office announced Thursday, to express “his thanks and appreciation for their congratulations on the election.”
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee talked to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Afghan president Hamid Karzai, King Abdullah of Jordan and Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Monday and Tuesday.
In addition, the country that got the most calls was Israel, with Biden speaking to three of its most senior politicians: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister (and former prime minister) Ehud Barak and Likud Party leader (and former Prime Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu.
The country’s Jerusalem Post reports that Livni told Biden to keep up the pressure on Iran’s nuclear program and to continue to fight against extremists in the region. Livni is running against both Netanyahu and Barak in Israel’s February elections to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Biden is expected to play an instrumental role in foreign policy in the Obama administration when they are sworn on January 20. When Republicans accused Obama during the campaign of not wholeheartedly supporting Israel, Biden beat back the accusations with his own friendship with the country during his 35-year tenure in the Senate.
“My support for Israel begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head,” Biden said to a Jewish group in late September. “I guarantee you, I would not have joined Barack Obama’s ticket as vice president, were [there] any doubt, even the slightest doubt, that he shares the same commitment to Israel that I share.”
The transition office has been regularly releasing the names of foreign leaders that President-elect Barack Obama has spoken with, evidence of Obama and Biden’s campaign pledge to “restore America’s standing in the world,” as Biden regularly put it on the stump.
Some GOP governors weren't happy with how Palin's press conference unfolded. (Getty Images)
MIAMI (CNN) - Some Republican governors tell CNN they were not particularly happy with the way the Republican Governors Association press conference was executed Thursday, saying that they agreed to go as a show of GOP governors’ unity - but they ended up feeling like silent Palin supporters, since it was clearly a press conference called for her.
The GOP governors spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.
One called it awkward: “I’m sure you could see it on some of our faces.”
Another Republican governor eyeing a presidential run in 2012 told CNN the event was “odd” and “weird,” and said it “unfortunately sent a message that she was the de facto leader of the party."
There has been palpable tension among some GOP governors gathered in Miami that Palin has been sucking up all the media oxygen.
In an interview with CNN, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour shrugged off that suggestion.
"That's just somebody running down a rabbit trail. There's plenty of oxygen here,” he said.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Democrat Al Franken's campaign filed a lawsuit Thursday in Ramsey County, Minnesota, requesting the names of all individuals who filed a rejected absentee ballot in the Senate race between the former comedian and incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
Mark Elias, lead recount attorney for Franken, said many absentee ballots are rejected for insufficient reasons, offering the example of an elderly woman who'd suffered a recent stroke which affected her signature, and kept it from matching the one her county had on file.
"This is not a lawsuit about putting ballots in the count or not in the count," Elias said. "This is about giving us access to the data that will allow us to determine whether or not there are lawful ballots...[that] werent counted."
The current tally of votes puts Coleman 206 votes ahead of Franken out of about 2.5 million cast in that contest. A hand recount of the Senate race is set to begin November 19.
Elias told reporters at a Thursday press conference that the campaign has asked each county for a list of the people whose absentee ballots were rejected. Elias, along with Franken spokesman Andy Barr, could not say exactly how many counties have offered their lists and how many have not, but added that Ramsey County has not.
The campaign's hope, according to Elias, is that Ramsey County would side in their favor and set a precedent that would immediately be followed by all counties in the state.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Defense Department will give president-elect Barack Obama's transition team a list of "key decision" that the new administration will face during the first three months of its administration, a Pentagon spokesman said.
The list of issues will be "non-prescriptive," in that it will not be pressing a policy per se, but will simply lay out decisions the new team is going to need to deal with in the first 90 days, according to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.
The Pentagon has not spelled out what is on the list, but some elements such as upcoming NATO meetings and preparing a new defense budget to submit to Congress are long-expected items, according to department officials.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The overall public mood may still be sour at the moment, but a new national poll suggests that most Americans think Barack Obama will make major accomplishments as president of the United States.
Nearly two-thirds of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday said President-elect Obama will change the country for the better. Twenty-five percent said he won't change the country either way, and only 9 percent indicated they think Obama will change the country for the worse.
"The bar is being set awfully high for an Obama presidency," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
According to the poll, most people think it's likely that Obama will improve race relations, improve economic conditions, bring stability to the financial markets, make the United States safer from terrorism, reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil, reduce global warming, win the war in Afghanistan, and remove U.S. troops from Iraq without causing a major upheaval in that country.
"That's a pretty big to-do list," said Holland.
The New York Times reports that congressional Democrats are going to move forward with investigations of the Bush administration even after the president leaves office in January. That could prove to be quite a task.
Where to begin… Abuse of the power of the Executive Branch… Torture of detainees… The role of former White House aides Harriet Miers and Karl Rove in the firing of federal prosecutors… Eavesdropping without a warrant. It’s a very long list.
The rub is that President Bush may be able to block subpoenas long after he leaves the White House.
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(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama has announced that he will officially resign his Senate seat as of this Sunday.
“It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate,” he said in a statement released by his campaign Thursday.
“In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future. It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President.”
Obama’s Senate office will close sometime within the next two months. His Senate staff will spend that time coordinating with his replacement, advising constituents with open requests, and archiving documents for Obama’s presidential library.
(CNN) - Al Gore won't be serving in the Obama administration, his spokeswoman said Thursday.
The former vice president, winner of the Nobel prize for his environmental education efforts, had been considered a likely candidate for the post of "climate czar."
"Former Vice President Gore does not intend to seek or accept any formal position in government," Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider told the Washington Times. "He feels very strong right now that the best thing for him to do is to build support for the bold changes that we have to make to solve the climate crisis."