CHICAGO (CNN) - The Obama transition team has just set up a special team to interact with the State Department’s Operations Center as well as the office of the Director of National Intelligence, according to an Obama aide. That information is then being filtered to President-elect Obama, who is getting regular updates at his residence here in Chicago. He is scheduled to be home all day Thursday celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends.
An Obama spokesman told reporters the president-elect had spoken by phone with both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen.
(CNN) - The Obama Transition team's chief national security spokesperson, Brooke Anderson, released a statement late Wednesday reacting to the attacks in Mumbai, India:
"President-Elect Obama strongly condemns today's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and his thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the people of India. These coordinated attacks on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism. The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks. We stand with the people of India, whose democracy will prove far more resilient than the hateful ideology that led to these attacks.”
(CNN) - Former first lady Barbara Bush was resting comfortably Wednesday after undergoing "routine" surgery Tuesday night to correct a perforated ulcer, according to Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.
Surgeons patched and closed a one-centimeter hole in Bush's stomach caused by the ulcer, the hospital said in a news release Wednesday.
Bush, 83, is expected to be discharged next week, it said.
She was taken to the hospital Tuesday evening for tests after complaining of stomach pain for several days, said a family spokeswoman, Jean Becker.
After she began feeling ill, Bush called her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, at his office to ask him to take her to the hospital. His Secret Service detail drove them both to the hospital, Becker said.
(CNN) – The Obama transition team declined comment Wednesday on a report that Cuban President Raul Castro might be interested in meeting with the president-elect at Guantanamo Bay, and had told an interviewer Cubans could "send [Obama] home with the American flag that waves over" the U.S. base there.
Asked whether he would be willing to visit Washington to speak with Obama, Castro instead suggested to actor Sean Penn Guantanamo Bay could serve as "neutral ground" for discussions. Castro also told Penn, in an interview published in The Nation, that the two leaders "must meet and begin to solve our problems."
Raul Castro’s brother, longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, criticized Obama this spring for his position in favor of altering – but retaining – Washington’s nearly five-decade trade embargo on the island nation.
Obama came under fire from campaign rivals for his statement at a CNN/YouTube Democratic primary debate that he would be willing to meet without preconditions with Castro and other leaders hostile toward the United States.
–CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama is already making presidential history by naming - or at least his transition team is leaking to the press - his Cabinet picks faster than nearly all of his predecessors.
"If we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year," Obama said Monday.
With an economic crisis spiraling out of control and a lame duck in the oval office, presidential scholars say the next commander in chief simply had no choice.
Watch: Obama cabinet vetting process underway
"This is really unprecedented. But it's an unprecedented situation," said Larry Sabato, a presidential scholar at the University of Virginia. "Obama is doing what the public and the markets demand be done - and that is to show that the next president is really in charge before he even takes the oath of office."
(CNN) - Minnesota's Canvassing Board voted unanimously to reject Franken's request to include thousands of absentee ballots that are not included in the recount in the Minnesota senate race between the Democratic challenger and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman.
The Canvassing Board, which oversees the recount, stressed during a hearing today, that they weren't rejecting the merits made by Franken's attorneys. The panel also indicated that the fight over the exclusion of the absentee ballots from the recount will most likely land in court. Some 12,000 absentee ballots were rejected from the initial vote count because of technicalities and errors.
Franken's campaign argued that the ballots were wrongly rejected. Coleman's team said the board doesn't have the authority to include the disputed ballots in the recount.
Earlier: Uncounted ballots deemed crucial to race's outcome
ABOARD THE CNN EXPRESS
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)– For all the words that President-elect Barack Obama has spoken at news conferences here during the last several days, there are two specific words uttered by Obama this month that will resonate in town longer than any of the others.
Most of his recent words– appointments of White House advisers and staff members, discussions of his potential cabinet, analyses of the economy– have been, of necessity, on the dry and formal side.
Yet the two unforgettable words, at least in the ears of people who live around here, were spoken by Obama earlier in November. They were a combination of words that no winning presidential candidate in the history of the nation had used to greet his supporters on an Election Night.
You won't find the words in the prepared text of Obama's Election Night speech. They weren't included.
They were added by Obama himself at the last moment, and they were the first words he said in public as president-elect.
Check the tape– you'll find it:
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush is issuing his final Thanksgiving turkey pardons in the Rose Garden to 'Pumpkin' and 'Pecan.'
Watch it happen on cnn.com/live
(Update: this event has concluded)
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday named former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, 81, to lead a new economic recovery board.
"Paul has been by my side throughout this campaign, providing a deep understanding of financial markets, extensive experience managing economic crises, and keen insight into the global nature of this particular crisis," Obama told reporters, calling Volcker "one of the one of the world's foremost economic policy experts."
Obama said a key purpose of the board would be to provide a perspective from outside the walls of the Washington "echo chamber," which he said "can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking."
The announcement came during the president-elect's third news conference in three days on the economic situation.
Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who has been one of Obama's top economic advisors, will serve as Staff Director and Chief Economist of the board.
Obama said he would name other members of the board "in the coming weeks." He is due to take office on January 20, 2009.
The board will brief Obama, offering independent, nonpartisan information, analysis and advice to the president as he formulates and implements his plans for economic recovery, Obama's transition office said.
It will be established initially for a two-year term, after which Obama will determine whether to continue its existence based on its continued necessity.
(CNN) - President-elect Obama is announcing the creation of an Economic Recovery Board, to be headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.