(CNN) - The Bush Administration briefed President-elect Obama’s transition team over the last several days about options the Treasury was considering for U.S. automakers, according to a transition aide not authorized to speak publicly, though the administration did not ask for Obama or his staff's approval or opinion on the package or any of its specifics.
The aide pointed out that Obama urged President Bush, in their Oval Office meeting after the election, to grant a short term loan to the auto industry on the condition that significant changes we made toward long term viability.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich will give a statement Friday afternoon, his spokesman Lucio Guerrero said.
Guerrero said the governor - who has faced calls for his resignation since he was arrested on federal corruption charges on December 9 - will speak at the James R. Thompson Center state office building at 2 p.m. (3 p.m. ET) in downtown Chicago.
His attorney, Ed Genson, said Blagojevich will read the statement but will not answer reporter's questions. Genson he did not feel "it was prudent" for the governor to answer questions now.
The governor has not publicly addressed the charges, but told reporters Wednesday he "can't wait to begin to tell my side of the story."
Genson, has said the governor did nothing wrong and does not intend to step down.
(CNNMoney.com) - Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Karen Mills has been chosen by President-elect Obama to head the Small Business Administration, according to a spokeswoman for Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Mills is currently president of MMP Group in Brunswick, Maine. She was a founding partner of private equity investment firm Solera Capital in New York City. Her appointment will be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez, D-N.Y., was quick to praise the nomination.
"President-elect Obama's decision to name an SBA administrator so early in the transition is a good sign for small businesses," she said. "This appointment shows that his economic team recognizes the key role that small firms play in job creation and the need to take quick steps to revitalize the agency's role in spurring growth."
Velázquez emphasized that Mills has her work cut out for her. "Through budgets cuts and mismanagement during the last eight years, the SBA has become nothing more than a shell of the agency it used to be," she said, adding that it is essential for the new SBA leader to reverse this course.
Click here to read more on CNNMoney.com
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken currently holds a slight edge over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota's still unresolved U.S. Senate race, according to a running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site.
The newspaper's mid-morning tally showed Franken with a 102 vote margin over Coleman with several hundred ballots still to be reviewed. On Thursday evening, Coleman had been ahead by single digits.
But the race remains fluid: the results reported by the Star Tribune are an ongoing tally, with hundreds of challenges still to be reviewed Friday.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama praised the $13.4 billion auto industry bailout plan Friday — but called for major changes from the Big Three automakers.
"Today's actions are a necessary step to help avoid a collapse in our auto industry that would have devastating consequences for our economy and our workers,” Obama said in a statement released by his transition team. “With the short-term assistance provided by this package, the auto companies must bring all their stakeholders together - including labor, dealers, creditors and suppliers - to make the hard choices necessary to achieve long-term viability.
“The auto companies must not squander this chance to reform bad management practices and begin the long-term restructuring that is absolutely required to save this critical industry and the millions of American jobs that depend on it."
President Bush announced the bailout plan Friday morning. The money will come from the $700 billion set aside for the financial industry bailout in October.
– Senator George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio:
"The president has supplied oxygen to a patient fighting to get healthy through restructuring and becoming more competitive."
"While we are not out of the woods, there are millions of hard-working Americans today who can breathe easier this holiday season."
– Congressman Tom Price, R-Georgia:
"It is deeply disappointing that the administration has chosen to use taxpayer dollars to delay the inevitable need to fundamentally restructure these companies."
"By bailing out automakers without real reform or long-term solutions, we are only protracting uncertainty and putting billions of tax dollars at grave risk."
"It is now clear that the creation of TARP was a rueful mistake which has failed to provide urgent market stability, yet has put our country perilously in debt for the foreseeable future."
– Congressman John D. Dingell, D-Michigan:
"While I applaud President Bush's decision to provide short term loans to the domestic automakers, I have strong concerns about some of the conditions that were placed on these loans. We all want to see the Big 3 restructure and be competitive in the future, but it is irresponsible during a time of economic crisis for the White House to insist that workers take further wage cuts on top of the historic concessions they have already made."
"I strongly urge President-elect Obama to revisit this issue as his first priority upon being sworn in, and to ensure that assistance to the automakers is provided in a way that is fair to working Americans."
(CNN) - Reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward relied on FBI insider W. Mark Felt as a reliable but anonymous source for their stories on the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974.
Felt, referred to as "Deep Throat" in the Washington Post stories and in Woodward and Bernstein's book "All the President's Men," died Thursday in California at 95. He revealed his identity for the first time in 2005.
Bernstein never met Felt until this year, but praised his courage during an interview Friday on CNN's "American Morning."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In an effort to clear the way for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as secretary of state, CNN has learned that her husband’s foundation has reached a written agreement with the Obama-Biden transition team.
The five-page document states that former President Bill Clinton will not personally solicit funds for the Clinton Global Initiative, a high-profile annual gathering of the Clinton Foundation that solicits contributions from around the world in order to address global challenges like poverty, climate change, and global health issues. In the document, the foundation also agrees to separate the Clinton Global Initiative off from the rest of its operations and incorporate that initiative as a separate entity.
The foundation also agrees to seek review by State Department ethics officials of certain donations to its effort to fight HIV and AIDS throughout the world.
The agreement was turned over to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the Obama transition team Wednesday and obtained by CNN Thursday.
Click here to read the agreement.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Bush announced a rescue plan for General Motors and Chrysler LLC Friday morning that will make $13.4 billion in federal loans available almost immediately.
A senior administration official briefing reporters said he expects that GM and Chrysler LLC will be signing the loan papers to access the cash later Friday morning.
The money will come from the $700 billion fund set aside to bailout Wall Street firms and banks in October.
With these loans, Treasury will have committed virtually all of the $350 billion of that fund that it can hand out without additional authorization from Congress. Once Congress releases the other $350 billion, the two automakers will be able to borrow an additional $4 billion.
(CNN) - Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's unofficial lead over Democrat Al Franken shrank to five votes as a Minnesota Canvassing Board continued analyzing ballots from the November 4 Senate election, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Friday.
About 3 million votes were cast in the election, and the close result tripped an automatic recount.
Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and writer, gained several hundred votes Thursday night as the board ruled on ballot challenges from both sides, the newspaper reported.