(CNN) - Two Democrats close to the transition tell CNN that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is now expected to be nominated as Secretary of Commerce by President-elect Barack Obama, pending the final vetting process.
Richardson, one of the leading Hispanics in the Democratic Party, had been seeking the Secretary of State post but lost out to Sen. Hillary Clinton. Obama aides have told CNN that Obama is “on track” to nominate Clinton as his secretary of state after Thanksgiving.
The precise timing on the announcement of Richardson’s appointment is unclear.
Two Richardson advisers said privately that Richardson had been hoping State would be his prize after facing political heat for picking Obama over Clinton, but the governor is willing to accept another post in hopes that he will move up in the Cabinet later in the administration.
Richardson served as Energy Secretary and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration.
Obama’s pick will now mean that at least three former rivals from the Democratic presidential primaries will be in senior posts in the Obama administration - Richardson, Clinton and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's top adviser insisted Sunday that Obama's economic plan would be big enough to handle the country's financial challenges, but he declined to speculate about how large the plan would need to be.
During the presidential campaign, Obama proposed a $175 billion stimulus package over a two-year period, but some of his economic advisers have said recently that the package would need to be much larger.
Asked if Obama would scale up the package, given the economic conditions, Obama's incoming senior adviser, David Axelrod, said he thinks Obama is "going to do what's necessary."
"I'm not going to throw a figure out here. What he said is, he wants a plan big enough to deal with the large challenges we face. And I think there's a growing consensus across the spectrum among economists that we're going to have to do something big," Axelrod said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
Obama on Saturday offered an outline of his economic recovery plan to create 2.5 million jobs by 2011, saying American workers will rebuild the nation's roads and bridges, modernize its schools and create more sources of alternative energy.
Details of the plan are still being worked out by his economic team, Obama said, but he hopes to sign the two-year, nationwide plan shortly after taking office January 20.
Obama noted he will need support from both Democrats and Republicans to pass such a plan, and said he welcomes suggestions from both sides of the aisle.
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama has assured Afghan President Hamid Karzai the U.S. will send more aid and pay more attention to his war-torn country, according to Karzai's office.
However, Obama aides said the Saturday call did not include specific promises.
Karzai's office said Obama told him the United States was committed to helping the people of Afghanistan and bringing peace and stability to the country.
The Afghan president again congratulated Obama on his election and told him that he hoped his presidency would lead to prosperity for the American people, his office said.
But two aides in Obama's transition office downplayed the significance of the call.
Obama told Karzai he "looked forward to working together on Afghan security after January 20," according to one aide, but the incoming president stressed that "until then there is one president, and it is President Bush."
Obama takes office on January 20.
The incoming administration continues to be careful to show they are not stepping on the White House's toes or making any promises to world leaders.
(CNN) - Add Al Gore to the list of big name surrogates who are making campaign cameos in the last remaining Senate election this year. The former vice president teams up with Jim Martin at a campaign event in Atlanta, Georgia.
Martin is a former Georgia state lawmaker who is the Democratic challenger to Saxby Chambliss, Georgia's freshman Republican senator who's fighting to keep his seat. The two candidates face off in a runoff election Tuesday, December 2.
Chambliss won a plurality of the vote 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.
Gore's campaign appearance follows that of former President Bill Clinton, who teamed up with Martin on Wednesday in Atlanta.
President-elect Barack Obama is lending his voice to the Democrats' efforts to win back the Republican-held senate seat in Georgia. Obama speaks out in a 60-second radio ad for Martin that hit the airwaves Friday.
A trio of former Republican presidential candidates have campaigned Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss, just 9 days after losing the presidential election to Obama.
Last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain, campaigned with Chambliss.