(CNN) - Rush Limbaugh seems to have given Hillary Clinton his stamp of approval for the second time this year.
The conservative talk show host — who urged supporters during the primary season to back Clinton in an effort to prolong the bitter Democratic presidential nomination fight — told ABC’s Barbara Walters that Clinton’s selection as Secretary of State was "a brilliant stroke" by President-elect Obama.
He said the move was a political master stroke, effectively ruling out a primary challenge in four years. "You know the old phrase, 'You keep your friends close and your enemies closer?' How can she run for president in 2012?” he asks. “She'd have to run against the incumbent and be critical of him - the one who made her Secretary of State."
Obama himself seemed to give a nod Monday to the pair’s policy disagreements during the 2008 primary season. "I assembled this team because I'm a strong believer in strong personalities and strong opinions,” he said at the event where he named Clinton as the leader of his new national security team. “I think that's how the best decisions are made.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The new National Security advisor, Gen. Jim Jones, says the challenge he will face in working with high-profile Cabinet members - including the new secretary of state, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - will be to achieve consensus among the disparate members of President-elect Barack Obama's national security team.
In taking the job and in the name of consensus, Jones also had to temper his own opinion on withdrawing from Iraq.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Jones said he needs to ensure the president-elect's vision is achieved.
"At the end of the day, (on) the major issues, he will make the decision and everyone will salute smartly and carry it out," Jones said in a phone interview soon after the official announcement in Chicago of Obama's national security team. "I think the national security advisor can make certain that the president's priorities are clearly understood and articulated and carried out so that we actually arrive to some conclusion that is well understood and well supported."
Jones himself was in disagreement with Obama about the senator's proposal to withdraw troops from
Iraq within 16 months of taking office as president.
(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton touched down in Chicago Monday and started working the phones – even before the official announcement she'd been nominated as Secretary of State - to inform key figures of the pending announcement, and tell them she looks forward to confirmation and working with them in the future, according to a source in Clinton’s Senate office. In the call to Governor Paterson, she officially informed him of her nomination, and that she was leaving the Senate.
Gov. David Paterson
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Sen. John Kerry, Incoming Chair SFRC
Sen. Dick Lugar, Ranking SFRC
Rep. Howard Berman, Chair House Foreign Relations
Rep. IIleana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Rep. John Boehner
President Bush says he wants to be remembered as a president who stuck to his values. (GETTY IMAGES)
(CNN) - President Bush told an interviewer that his presidency may have helped Barack Obama win the White House.
"I think it was a repudiation of Republicans," he told Charlie Gibson of ABC News, according to a transcript released by the network Monday. "And I'm sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for the next four years explaining policy."
Earlier: Bush reflects on legacy
As Obama — who made opposition to the war a centerpiece of his presidential run — continued to assemble his national security team, Bush would not say whether or not he would still have pushed for war with Iraq if he had known there were no weapon of mass destruction in that country.
More than 2,000 convicts are asking President George W. Bush for a pardon or a commutation of their prison sentences before he leaves office next month. Among them, junk bond king Michael Milken, media mogul Conrad Black and American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh. They’ve all applied to the Justice Department for this free pass of forgiveness.
Last week, the president issued 14 pardons and commuted two prison sentences, all for so-called “small time criminals.” During his eight years in office, he’s granted a total of 171 pardons and has commuted eight sentences. A president has complete freedom to pardon anyone he wishes, and he doesn’t have to justify his decisions or explain himself to anyone.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - Former first lady Barbara Bush started a liquid diet Monday as part of her recovery from laparoscopic surgery to repair a perforated ulcer, according to a statement from The Methodist Hospital in Houston.
Bush, 83, is "in good condition and continues to recover as expected," according to the statement. She may remain in the hospital for "several more days so her physicians can monitor the progression of her diet."
The former first lady showed up at Methodist's emergency room last Tuesday, complaining of severe abdominal pain. Doctors determined she had a perforated ulcer in her duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine after the stomach.
Doctors thoroughly cleaned Bush's abdominal cavity of any contaminants that had leaked through the hole, described by the hospital as being one centimeter in diameter. Then, doctors repaired the ulcer and sewed a piece of the omentum, fat tissue in the abdomen, on top of it to seal it.
(CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team released its donor list Monday as part of a pledge to “to run the most open and transparent transition in history,” according to a written statement from the transition.
According to the statement, almost $1.2 million had been raised from 1,776 donors as of November 15. While Congress has appropriated $5.2 million for the transition, Obama’s team anticipates overall transition costs of roughly $12 million. The estimated $6.8 million funding gap will be closed by private donations — a task complicated by Obama’s strict limitations on both sources and amounts that can be given by any individual.
“The Obama-Biden Transition project only accepts contributions from individuals’ personal funds – we refuse all donations from corporations, labor unions, and PACs,” the statement noted. “Individuals may not donate more than $5,000. We also refuse all contributions from registered federal lobbyists and registered foreign agents.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-Elect Barack Obama offered praise for at least one aspect of President Bush’s foreign policy Monday, during videotaped remarks to the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health hosted by Pastor Rick Warren.
“I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease,” Obama said. “...My administration will continue this critical work to address the crisis around the world.”
The taped message was part of a forum marking the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day.
Under the Bush administration, more than two million people suffering from HIV/AIDS – most living in Africa - have received life-saving antiretroviral treatment as part of PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief. In July, the President signed legislation reauthorizing the program and authorizing up to $48 billion to expand it.
(CNN) - The scramble to replace Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill was well underway by the time President-elect Obama officially nominated her Monday morning. Among those mentioned to to take her seat as New York's junior senator: her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Sen. Clinton said at the Monday event announcing her nomination that she wanted to "thank my fellow New Yorkers who have, for eight years, given me the joy of a job I love with the opportunity to work on issues I care deeply, in a state that I cherish."
She added that "leaving the Senate is very difficult for me."
The task of choosing a successor to Clinton will be just as tough.
That job falls to David Paterson, New York's Democratic governor. Whomever he picks would serve for two years, before a special election would be held in November 2010 to decide who fills out the last two years of Clinton's term.
Paterson — who has already taken himself out of the running - has a strong bench to choose from.
(CNN) - In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, President-elect Barack Obama unveils his national security team. Topping the list: his chief primary season rival. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on the nation’s new Madam Secretary.
Plus: Which political star did Republicans turn to in the home stretch of Georgia’s Senate runoff? CNN’s Sandra Endo takes a look at “the closer” of the GOP.
Also: CNN’s Jeanne Meserve has the latest on the immigration-related challenges facing Obama in her “Memo to the President.”
Finally: Former President Bill Clinton has pledged to release the names of some 200,000 donors who funded the efforts of his global foundation. CNN’s Jim Acosta takes a look at how this move cleared the way for wife Hillary Clinton to be nominated Secretary of State.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.