CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Two sources close to the Obama transition team tell CNN retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones has emerged as President-elect's leading choice to become national security adviser in the White House.
The sources said Jones has been given the impression by the President-elect that the job is his if he wants it. But the officials said there are still private discussions underway and no final decision has been made.
The discussions are focused on precisely how much power Jones will have in the staff job since he is used to being in a command role. Among his many posts, Jones served for several years as the operational commander for NATO.
In the third and final presidential debate, Obama noted that he deeply values advice from Jones, who has four decades of military service.
One person close to the transition noted Jones is a bipartisan figure who has warm relationships with both current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who may stay on the job for at least a brief period, as well as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is now on track to be nominated as Secretary of State after Thanksgiving.
CNN first reported last week that Jones was getting serious consideration for either national security adviser or Energy Secretary.
(CNN) – With the nation’s economy stuck in the grips of a financial crisis it just can’t seem to shake, President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for the next head of the Treasury Department is among a handful of the most important Cabinet choices he will make. Indeed, in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 41 percent of those surveyed said the choice for Treasury will matter most to the country’s future.
Here’s CNN’s list of possible contenders to be Obama’s treasury secretary:
LARRY SUMMERS: The former chief economist for the World Bank also previously served as Secretary of the Treasury under former President Bill Clinton.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER: As president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Geithner played a role earlier this year in the acquisition of Bear Stearns and the bailouts of AIG and Lehman Brothers.
PAUL VOLCKER: Volcker was chairman of the Federal Reserve under presidents Carter and Reagan.
ROBERT RUBIN: Like Summers, Rubin served as treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. Rubin also spent more than two decades at Goldman Sachs.
JAMIE DIMON: As president and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, Dimon was involved in Chase’s acquisition of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual earlier this year.
Click here for additional CNN short lists for Obama’s potential cabinet.
(CNN) - He may not be going there in person, but Barack Obama is lending his voice to the Democrats' efforts to win back a Republican-held senate seat in Georgia.
The President-elect speaks out in a new 60-second radio ad for Jim Martin, the Democratic challenger to freshman Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Martin and Chambliss face off in a runoff election on Tuesday, December 2.
Chambliss won a plurality of the vote 17 days ago on Election Day, but Georgia state law calls for the winner to grab 50 percent plus one vote. Due to the inclusion of a third party candidate, Chambliss fell just shy of that threshold, forcing a runoff contest.
In the radio ad, Obama says Martin, a former state lawmaker, will “do everything he can to help me change Washington and get America moving again.” Obama ends the ad with a plea to voters, saying “please join me in supporting Jim Martin for the United States Senate on Tuesday, Dec. 2, and head to the polls just one more time this year.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Records from a cell phone used by President-elect Obama were improperly breached, apparently by employees of the cell phone company, Verizon Wireless said Thursday.
"This week we learned that a number of Verizon Wireless employees have, without authorization, accessed and viewed President-Elect Barack Obama's personal cell phone account," Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless president and CEO, said in a statement.
"All employees who have accessed the account - whether authorized or not - have been put on immediate leave, with pay."
The Obama transition team was notified Wednesday by Verizon of the breach, said team spokesman Robert Gibbs. He said the president-elect no longer uses the phone.
(CNN) – The number of ballots being challenged in the Minnesota recount is growing. This as more than 40 percent of votes have been recounted in the battle for Norm Coleman's US Senate seat. The recount kicked off Wednesday and could extend into next month.
Unofficial results from the November 4th election put Coleman, a freshman Republican senator, just 215 votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, known across the country from his days on Saturday Night Live and from his years as a talk show host on Air America, the progressive radio network. The slim margin for Coleman, far less than one half of one percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there's ever been a recount of a US senate race in Minnesota.
Now election officials, at 107 sites across Minnesota, are beginning the long process of recounting all of the ballots. They're surrounded by election observers and lawyers from both campaigns, and the media.
The Secretary of State's office reports that 734 ballots have been challenged in the first two days of recounting, with 374 questioned by Franken's camp and 360 by Coleman's camp.
Earlier: Minnesota recount could get ugly
According to the Secretary of State's office, 42.33 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the election were recounted by yesterday. It appears Franken's made a dent into Coleman's pre recount lead of 215. According to the results posted on the Secretary of State's website, Franken now trails Coleman by 129 votes.
The recount will extend well into December. The recount sites across Minnesota have a deadline of the first week of December to report their results. After that the state's canvassing board meets to rule on disputed ballots and to certify the election. And after that, if one side is not happy with the results, legal action could be possible.
Watch Al Gore talk about President-elect Barack Obama's victory.
(CNN)—Former Vice President Al Gore was fired up over the election of Sen. Barack Obama in one of his first post-election interviews.
“I can barely contain my excitement about this election,” Gore told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “Regardless of the differences over issues and politics this was a water shed election that really just gave every American a feeling of great pride in our nation’s ability to transcend our past, and redeem the revolutionary promise of our Declaration of Independence: that every human being is created equal, and it’s electrifying seeing that declaration.”
Despite the Republican’s loss, Gore also said he saw many of them express a sense of pride on election night.
Be sure to catch the full interview on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, Sunday at 1 p.m. E.T on CNN.
Watch Mukasey collapse while giving a speech Wednesday night.
(CNN) - U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed while giving a speech Thursday at the Federalist Society dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington.
Mukasey, 67, was giving a spirited defense of the Bush administration's legal policies when his speech began to slur and he lost track of his thoughts about 30 minutes into his talk. Seconds later, he became rigid and then began to slump.
Mukasey was rushed to George Washington University Medical Center, said Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman.
"The attorney general is conscious, conversant and alert," said Carr. "His vital statistics are strong and he is in good spirits.
(CNN) - President-elect Obama is on track to nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state after Thanksgiving, three aides on Obama's transition team told CNN Thursday.
Clinton senior adviser Philippe Reines repeated a statement that "any and all speculation about Cabinet or other administration appointments is for President-Elect Obama's transition team to address."
CNN also has learned that Obama is getting foreign policy advice from an unlikely source: Republican Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser in the first Bush administration.
Two sources familiar with the conversations confirm to CNN that Obama reached out to Scowcroft for phone chats even before he ran for president, and the back-and-forth has continued in recent days as the president-elect assembles his Cabinet.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – During a midday appointment at the White House, it is a surprise to see a young boy in a blazer and tie, walking in the West Wing corridor just steps from the Oval Office and anxiously clutching a shiny new baseball.
It is a sign of the times – and a sign of the president’s respect for those who keep the government working.
In his final weeks in office, President Bush just about every day he is in Washington is blocking out an hour of time to take farewell photographs with Executive Branch staffers and their families.
Aides say Mr. Bush wanted a chance to say thank you to those who work in the administration – as well as a chance to thank their spouses and children for putting up with the long hours. Not to mention sign a few baseballs.
(CNN) - Add Mitt Romney to the list of big name surrogates who are making campaign cameos in the last remaining senate election this year.
The former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate teams up today with Saxby Chambliss at campaign events in Atlanta and Savannah.
Chambliss is the freshman Republican Senator from Georgia who is fighting to keep his seat. He faces a runoff election Tuesday December 2nd against Jim Martin, a former state lawmaker in Georgia.
Romney is the latest former GOP presidential candidate to stump with Chambliss. Last week Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss, just 9 days after losing the presidential election to Obama. On Sunday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain, campaigned with Chambliss. Like Huckabee, Romney also ran for the GOP presidential nomination before ending his bid in February and backing McCain. Both men could make another stab at presidential politics in 2012.
Romney's doing more than just campaigning for Chambliss. A spokesman for Romney earlier this week announced that Romney is contributing $5,000, through his Free and Strong American PAC, to Chambliss to help with the runoff election. Romney's PAC donated $2,300 to Chambliss earlier this fall.
Martin is also getting some major league help. Wednesday former President Bill Clinton campaigned with Martin in Atlanta. And this weekend former Vice President Al Gore teams up with Martin.