(CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will be announced as President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary Thursday, according to a Democratic source.
CNN had previously reported Daschle was the likely choice for the post.
(CNN) - Bobby Jindal - the Indian-American Louisiana governor who is widely viewed as one of the frontrunners for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination - flatly said Tuesday he's not interested in seeking the White House.
"No," Jindal said definitively when asked if he was interested in being president, according to The Associated Press.
Jindall made the comments at a Richmond, Virginia, news conference, during which he endorsed Bob McDonnell – a Republican running for governor of Virginia.
Jindal said instead he has his sights set on seeking reelection to his current office in 2011.
But AP reports Jindal, whom many Republicans view as best positioned to transform the party's image, did not rule out the possibility he may change his mind about a White House run.
Jindal ventured to Iowa last month for a set of appearances and fundraisers - a move that fueled speculation he was begining to lay groundwork in the crucial early presidential voting state.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama is likely to name Dr. Steven Chu, a physicist who runs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as his new Energy Secretary, three Democratic officials close to the transition told CNN.
The three officials said the announcement is expected to come next week in Chicago and that Obama will also unveil Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton administration, as the newly-created "climate czar" inside the White House itself.
Chu won the 1997 Nobel prize in physics and is highly respected in energy circles. But some Democrats have privately expressed concern that Chu has no political experience as he takes on the monumental task of passing a landmark energy reform bill early next year.
While Browner is seen as a shrewd inside player who could help the incoming Energy Secretary navigate Capitol Hill, Obama will face questions about how effective his team will be going up against oil companies and other special interests that do not want to change the status quo.
(CNN) - Democrat Paul Carmouche Wednesday conceded his race for a seat in Congress to physician John Fleming in Louisiana's 4th congressional district.
Louisianans went to the polls Saturday to choose between Carmouche, the former Caddo Parrish district attorney, and Fleming. Unofficial results show Fleming leading Carmouche by less than 400 votes.
"Of more than 92,000 votes cast throughout the 13 parishes of this district, it appears that our campaign has fallen slightly short," Carmouche said. "I will not ask for a recount of any of the paper ballots, and I offer my warmest congratulations to Dr. Fleming."
Fleming takes the seat held by long-time Republican Rep. Jim McCrery, who is retiring after 10 terms in office.
Elections in the 4th district and the 2nd district - won by Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao over indicted Democratic incumbent Rep. William Jefferson - were delayed because of Hurricane Gustav in August.
In those two districts, the Democratic and Republican primaries were held on November 4.
Fleming's election gives the GOP 178 seats in the House of Representatives. The Democrats hold 256, and there is one seat still unresolved - the 5th congressional district of Virginia.
In that race, Democratic challenger Tom Perriello was certified the winner over incumbent Republican Rep. Virgil Goode, but the margin - less than 800 votes - was close enough for Goode to request a recount under state law.
The recount takes place on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois state politics read more like a script from "The Sopranos" than a page out of the history books.
On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested on federal corruption charges involving an alleged pay-for-play scheme to award Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder - among other accusations.
Each was charged with a count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and a count of solicitation of bribery, authorities said. If convicted, the two could spend a maximum of 30 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called Blagojevich's actions a "political crime spree" and said his behavior would make Abraham Lincoln "roll over in his grave."
Lincoln, after all, is one of the state's most famous figures, having served as a congressman and later as president.
The FBI special agent in charge of the case, Robert Grant, went so far as to say that "if [Illinois] isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor." Video Watch more on the complaints against the Illinois governor »
But accusations of corruption like those against Blagojevich are nothing new to Illinois.
"Corruption is in the DNA of this state," said CNN contributor and Chicago resident Roland Martin. "The voters in this state, when I talk to people, since I have been here, they're pretty much like, 'You know what? This is what we expect.' "
(CNN) - A law enforcement official connected to the investigation into Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich confirmed Wednesday that the person referred to in a FBI affidavit as "Senate Candidate 5" is Jackson.
The law enforcement official said there was no evidence - other than the governor's taped remarks - that Jackson or others on his behalf ever approached the governor in an improper way. The official also emphasized that no conversations with Jackson were ever picked up on bugs or wiretaps, and there is no evidence that he was aware of anything improper. J
ackson's attorney, James Montgomery Sr., told reporters Wednesday, "Everyone is speaking of Jesse Jackson Jr., as 'Senate Candidate 5.' My comments will assume that is the case." Montgomery said he has spoken with federal prosecutors and confirmed Jackson is not a target of the investigation.
He said there was no "pay to play conversation" with the governor or anyone else on Jackson's behalf.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the midst of a corruption investigation concerning Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the incoming Obama administration is being urged to keep veteran U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on the job.
Those doing the urging include Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, who sits on the Judiciary Committee. Fitzgerald's office is heading the politically sensitive probe which is likely to continue for months.
"The U.S. Attorney for Chicago has a deserved reputation of being totally non-political and totally on the merits and a tough and strong prosecutor, and I think leaving it in his hands is exactly the right way to go. And I think all... that President-elect Obama and his incoming administration have to say is
just that - we are going to leave it in Fitzgerald's hands because we have faith in him," Schumer told reporters Wednesday after he met with Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday joined calls for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign.
"The president-elect agrees with [Illinois] Lt. Governor Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
On Tuesday Blagojevich was arrested on federal conspiracy charges. Prosecutors alleged in their complaint that Blagojevich pressured candidates to replace Obama in the Senate for campaign contributions and other benefits.
Gibbs said Obama also supported legislation that will be considered by Illinois lawmakers on Monday to authorize a special election to choose his successor.
Obama believes Illinois lawmakers should "put in place a process to select a new senator that will have the trust and confidence of the the people of Illinois," Gibbs said.
(CNN) - Illinois lawmakers were quickly moving to take the decision of who will replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate out of the hands of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The 17th Amendment to the Constitution allows governors to fill vacant Senate seats, but politicians from both sides of the aisle have said it would be unacceptable for Blagojevich to choose Obama's successor.
"No appointment by this governor under these circumstances could produce a credible replacement," said Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois' sole senator at the moment. Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on federal conspiracy charges.
(CNN) - "Corruption has replaced leadership.” That is what Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in television ads when he ran his 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Now, the Illinois governor is indicted on federal corruption charges for scheming to sell former Sen. Barack Obama’s vacant seat to the highest bidder. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Drew Griffin has the details as political scandal erupts in the Illinois State House.
And: Did President-elect Obama or his aides know anything about Blagojevich’s pay-to-play tactics? CNN’s Elaine Quijano covers the story from Chicago.
Plus: Barack Obama versus the NRA. The president-elect has yet to be sworn into office, but he may already be battling the National Rifle Association. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick breaks down whether Obama is to blame.
Finally: It’s an interesting and controversial dilemma. Should the U.S. build more nuclear weapons in the efforts to eliminate them later? It could be one of the most important issues facing a president since the Cold War. CNN’s Jamie McIntyre takes a closer look at nuclear priorities in “Memo to the President.”
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