(CNN) - Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, announced Tuesday will not seek reelection in 2010.
In a Florida press conference, Martinez said his decision was not based on the likelihood he would face a tough reelection fight.
"I've faced much tougher obstacles in my life," he said. "My decision is not based on re-election prospects, but on what on what I want to do with the next eight years of my life."
The first term senator and onetime National Republican Committee chairman narrowly won his first Senate race in 2004. Martinez also served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during President Bush's term.
One congressional source cited Martinez's age, 62, and said "he is ready for the next chapter in his life."
It currently appears 19 GOP seats will be up for grabs in 2010.
(CNN) - Former first lady Barbara Bush is feeling "much, much better" and will be released Tuesday from a Houston hospital, former President George H.W. Bush said.
"She was in extraordinary agony" before undergoing surgery a week ago for a perforated ulcer, the former president said at a brief news conference at Methodist Hospital. He referred to his 83-year-old wife as "the silver fox," and apologized that she couldn't be at his side.
(CNN) - Is President-elect Obama a hawk or dove? In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Republicans are gushing over Obama’s national security team, and his anti-war supporters are less-than-pleased over some of his cabinet picks. CNN’s Jim Acosta reports.
Plus: Roughly a month after the GOP presidential ticket failed to capture the White House, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is still grabbing the spotlight. The Alaska governor has been offered numerous book deals, and is currently one of the most searched women on the internet. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick has the latest on Palin’s superstar status.
An urgent warning delivered by a bipartisan commission says the United States is likely to face a biological or nuclear attack by the year 2013. CNN’s Jeanne Meserve has the details in her “Memo to the President.”
Finally: Governors are hitting up Barack Obama to help their states stay afloat during this difficult economic period. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on what the governors want out of the economic stimulus package, and how they will apply the funds to help create jobs.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – It may not top the list of Obama administration priorities, but Hawaii Democratic Congressman Neil Abercrombie is urging the president-elect to take on one more controversial issue - creating a new playoff system for college football.
Obama himself has already waded into the debate. In a 60 Minutes interview on CBS last month, he said he would push for a championship playoff system - adding three weeks to the current college football schedule - to replace the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS). "I'm gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do," Obama said.
Critics of the current BCS model argue that it gives a competitive and financial advantage to schools in the six BCS conferences and excludes schools with equally good or better football records in the other five non- BCS college football conferences. BCS-sponsored bowl games at the end of the season generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the schools who are selected to play in them.
Seizing on Obama's public support of a new system, Abercrombie wrote a letter to the president-elect last month urging him to have the Department of Justice investigate the issue. “With the prestige of the Presidency and vigorous pursuit by the Department of Justice in support of fairness and equity, we are certain the BCS will be persuaded to resolve the issues to the benefit of the nation’s colleges and their fans.”
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ABOARD THE CNN EXPRESS
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)– You wonder if he's getting used to the sound of it yet.
“Mr. President-elect,” Hillary Clinton said to him this week, “thank you for this honor.”
You wonder if he has begun to take it in stride.
“Thank you, President-elect Obama, for the honor that you have bestowed upon me,” Eric Holder, nominated to be attorney general, said to him.
The election was not ancient history– four weeks ago today, when the Tuesday sun was still in the sky and the polling places were still open, the nation did not know for certain who would win the presidency.
But as Barack Obama introduced his national security team here this week, the words directed at him tumbled over each other:
“President-elect Obama, I am honored by your confidence in me,” Janet Napolitano said.
“I will be honored to serve President-elect Obama,” Robert Gates said.
Joe Biden, whether inadvertently or on purpose, skipped, on at least two occasions, the future-looking part of the phrase– he dropped the “elect.”
“Well, Mr. President,” Biden said, “you've assembled quite a team.”
And, referring to that team:
“I have a long relationship, as the president does. . . .”
Biden wasn't talking about George W. Bush.
(CNN) – In the first few moments of his remarks to the National Governors Association Tuesday, Vice President-elect Joe Biden thanked fall rival Sarah Palin for attending the bi-partisan conference, saying it’s a “a metaphor for the fact that this election is over.”
“I want to thank all of you for being here and Governor Palin I want to thank you particularly," Biden said to the Alaska governor. “I think it is, I hope, the whole country can see it’s sort of a metaphor for the fact that this election is over and here we are.
“We’re all together, we’re all dealing with a common [economic] problem,” he continued. “This is not a Democrat or Republican problem, we’ve got ourselves a problem.”
President-elect Obama and his VP greeted Palin as they walked into the room to a standing ovation. In his opening comments, Biden lamented the lack of attention he now receives compared to Palin.
“As I told you when we walked in, since the race is over no one pays attention to me at all,” Biden told Palin as the governors laughed. “So maybe you’ll walk outside with me or something later and say hello to me.”
Biden’s comments were just his third set of public remarks since Election Day.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday told governors from across the country to work with him to "help design" a massive economic recovery package he hopes to sign shortly after he takes office.
"If we're listening to our governors, we'll not only be doing what's right for our states, we'll be doing what's right for our country," Obama said in prepared remarks at a meeting of the National Governors' Association (NGA) in Philadelphia. "That's how we'll grow our economy - from the bottom-up."
Watch the event on CNN.com/live
Plagued by rising unemployment, falling tax revenue and increased demand for state services, the governors were expected to press Obama for federal money to ease their fiscal strain.
All told, 41 states are facing budget shortfalls this year or next, Obama said.
"Make no mistake: these are difficult times, and we're going to have to make hard choices in the months ahead," Obama said. "I won't stand here and tell you that you'll like all the decisions I make. You probably won't."
(CNN) - The final votes of the 2008 election are being cast in Georgia this morning, in a race that could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
Polls in the state opened at 7 a.m., and close at 7 this evening in the runoff vote between incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.
Turnout will be crucial to the outcome of this election, and both sides bet on political superstars in the race’s waning days to help bring out the base. "Generally they can help boost turnout, because of all the media attention," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "Turnout in a runoff election is often very low compared to a presidential election, and each side needs to get as many of their voters to the polls as possible."
Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin teamed up with Chambliss at four campaign events across Georgia on Monday.
"You Georgians are going to have the opportunity to determine the direction this country is going to take," said Palin during a campaign rally in Perry, in south Georgia. "This election is that important and I know come tomorrow night Georgians are going to speak and Georgia's going to speak with a loud and clear voice. We want to make sure we have at least 41 Republicans in the United States Senate to make sure that we shape bad legislation, or kill bad legislation."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton has no interest in replacing his wife in the U.S. Senate, with his spokesman saying any speculation that he would be interested is "completely false."
As Hillary Clinton prepares to make the move from Capitol Hill to the incoming administration following her nomination yesterday as President-elect Barack Obama's Secretary of State, the race is on to replace her in the Senate.
Monday Hillary Clinton said 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.
(CNN) –- Republican governors are set to present President-elect Barack Obama with a list of key policy areas that they feel are vital to helping their states recover from the recent economic downturn at the annual National Governors Association meeting Tuesday.
"Today’s meeting represents an opportunity to come together and forge solutions to the current economic crisis,” said RGA Chairman Governor Mark Sanford. “It is important these solutions be based on the same common sense principles that have made America the economic envy of the world for generations.”
"We are committed as members of the RGA to working with the incoming Administration to make America more competitive in the global marketplace, and we believe the best route to strengthening America’s economy lies in focusing on things like lowering the tax burden on Americans, holding the line on spending, and bettering our business climate,” Sanford says.
The annual meeting takes place Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET in Philadelphia.