WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held a private closed door meeting in Chicago Friday for 45 minutes, according to a U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the talks.
The meeting was a "get acquainted session," the official said.
President George Bush personally approved the meeting, and it was also "encouraged" by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the official said. The approval was not required, but was given because of the sensitivity of the sitting president's advisers giving advice to a president not yet in office.
Obama extended the invitation to Mullen.
CHICAGO (CNN) - The logistics for today's economic team rollout had a taste of Chicago baseball mixed in. The room was divided into two sides: reporters on the south side of the room have small White Sox tickets on their seats. Those on the north have tiny Cubs scraps of paper, complete with semi-official MLB insignias. The President-elect, of course, is a South Sider who roots for the Sox.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson told supporters Monday he will seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, pledging to help rebuild the party after devastating losses on Election Day.
CNN’s Short List: The next RNC chair
Three weeks ago, Democrats gained control of the White House after eight years of Republican rule, and won at least 20 additional House seats and at least seven Senate seats to add to their majorities in both chambers. Democrats are now two seats shy of securing a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate. That result which will be determined when the winners of the Georgia and Minnesota Senate races are called next month.
(CNN) – After years of decline in the U.S. image abroad, one of President-elect Barack Obama’s many tasks will be reaching out to the global community. Obama’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will play a key role in rehabilitating the country’s image and relationships around the world.
Here’s CNN’s list of possible contenders for the post of U.N. ambassador:
LEE HAMILTON: Hamilton was a member of the House of Representatives for decades, and chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs during his tenure in Congress. Hamilton also was vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission and co-chair of the Iraq Study Group.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: The daughter of former President John F. Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama during the Democratic primaries and also served on Obama’s vice presidential search committee.
DR. SUSAN RICE: This veteran of the Clinton administration previously worked for the National Security Council and the State Department. Rice was also a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign.
Click here for additional CNN short lists for Obama’s potential cabinet.
(CNNMoney.com) - President Bush said Monday that the first step toward economic recovery is to stabilize the financial system – and that the government may step in to help financial institutions again the way it did with Citigroup.
"This is a tough situation for America. But we will recover. The first step is to secure our financial system," Bush said after meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. "If need be, we're going to make these kind of decisions to safeguard our financial system in the future."
The president said he spoke with President-elect Obama about the decision. "Anytime we're to make a big decision during the transition, he will be informed, as will his team," Bush said.
Watch: Bush promises close cooperation with Obama
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President-elect Barack Obama will hold a press conference Monday to announce key members of his administration's economic team.
Mission No. 1 over the next few weeks for that team will be hammering out the details of what the president-elect described this weekend as a two-year economic recovery plan intended to create 2.5 million jobs.
Watch: Obama to announce his picks for economic team
Estimates for how much might be spent on a multi-year stimulus package range as high as $500 billion to $700 billion.
At the center of the plan are investments in the nation's roads, bridges, schools and alternative-energy infrastructure.
Obama's top economic team member – his Treasury Secretary – will also be charged with overseeing the dispersal of funds from the controversial $700 billion financial rescue package that Congress passed in October.
(CNN) – As the Senate recount resumes this morning in Minnesota, the number of ballots being challenged is growing. Nearly two-thirds of the votes have been recounted in the battle for incumbent Republican Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate seat.
The recount, which began last Wednesday, could extend into next month.
Unofficial results from the November 4 election put Coleman, a freshman senator, just a few hundred 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 1 percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there's ever been a recount of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.
Now election officials are in the middle of the long process of recounting all of the ballots at 107 sites across Minnesota, surrounded by election observers and lawyers from both campaigns, and the media.
The Secretary of State's office reports nearly 2,000 ballots have been challenged so far, with 948 questioned by Coleman's camp and 945 by Franken's.
(CNN) - CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Sources close to the Obama transition team say Berkeley Economics Professor Christina Romer will be the Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
What makes this selection more interesting than some of the other Obama picks is she's a female, a California academic, and a Washington outsider.
An important distinction is that this is different than the job Lawrence Summers is expected to get as director of the National Economic Council.
The Council of Economic Advisers is a group of economists, including three who are appointed by the president and need Senate confirmation, who advise the president on economic policy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Forbes magazine President and CEO Steve Forbes called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “the worst treasury secretary we’ve had in modern times”, citing, among other things, the government’s handling of the housing crisis.
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday, Forbes repeatedly called on the treasury secretary to be more straightforward about the money used to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“Have Henry Paulson do at least one thing right, and that is, have the government explicitly guarantee the debt of Fannie and Freddie,” the financial mogul and former Republican presidential candidate said.
When asked if he has confidence in Paulson, Forbes responded “No, sadly, Wolf. He's about the worst treasury secretary we've had in modern times.”
The Treasury Department had no comment on Forbes’ remark, but in a speech on Thursday, Paulson said that the administration’s proactive response to the troubled economy “prevented a far worse financial crisis.”
Bill Clinton’s former labor secretary Robert Reich was slightly less blunt than Forbes, but equally uncertain on Paulson’s ability to turn around the economy.
“I think that the great bailout that he engineered was really sold to Congress on false pretenses,” Reich said on Late Edition. “Paulson has not been very transparent. He's been very opaque. And it has riled markets.”
CNN: Obama will 'do what's necessary' to fix economy, aide says
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.
CNN: Richardson expected to be commerce secretary, sources say
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.
CNN: Forbes: Paulson is 'worst' treasury secretary in modern times
Forbes magazine President and CEO Steve Forbes called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson “the worst treasury secretary we’ve had in modern times”, citing, among other things, the government’s handling of the housing crisis.
CNN: Karzai: Obama promises Afghanistan more aid
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said President-elect Barack Obama assured him Saturday that the United States would send more aid and pay more attention to his war-torn country, according to Karzai's office, but Obama aides declined to confirm the call had included specific promises.
CNN: Why's Bobby Jindal in Iowa?
Bobby Jindal's in Iowa today. Louisiana's Governor will make a stop in Cedar Rapids to tour some of the damage from devastating floods earlier this year. He'll also participate in a fundraiser with some of the victims from the flooding.
CNN: Secret service steps up inauguration security
Law enforcement officials bracing for the largest crowds in inaugural history are preparing far-reaching security — thousands of video cameras, sharpshooters, air patrols — to safeguard President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in.