(CNN) - The season just got a bit less jolly for Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman: in a Christmas Eve decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected a lawsuit calling for recount changes that would have erased Democratic challenger Al Franken’s narrow lead.
The Coleman campaign’s suit had asked the court to intervene because of what it says are double-counted absentee ballots that have been unfairly awarded to Al Franken. The incumbent’s lawyers asked the court to restore the original Election Night totals in roughly two dozen precincts, where recount gains had given Franken an overall edge.
The justices rejected that argument, agreeing with the Franken team that those allegations should be dealt with in legal proceedings after the recount was complete, and a winner certified by the state’s canvassing board.
Franken currently leads Coleman by 47 votes. In a ruling earlier Wednesday, the court extended the deadline for the completion of the Senate race recount to the first week in January.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Christmas came a few hours early for two dozen White House officials and supporters Wednesday, who were appointed to three- to six-year positions on government committees and councils.
The full list released by the White House – which includes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Karl Rove deputy Israel Hernandez – after the jump.
(CNN) - Pat Robertson is "remarkably pleased" with President-elect Barack Obama, the conservative leader told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux – and believes President Bush’s administration has not dealt with the nation’s economic crisis in a “professional manner.”
“Well, it's hard to assess blame, but I, over the years - I hate to be critical, I mean I am a Republican, and this is the president of the party that I'm a member of - but I think we've had some serious goofs along the way,” he said on the Situation Room Tuesday.
“The Katrina matter was terrible. The rebuilding of Iraq has been terrible. The [handling] of the economy right now has been terrible. It hasn't been handled in what I would consider a professional manner.”
Robertson said history may be kinder to Bush than current opinion. “But I believe I would look at about a C-minus right now if I were grading him,” he said.
(CNN) - President George W. Bush on Wednesday ordered one of 19 presidential pardons announced earlier in the week to be re-examined before a final decision on clemency is made.
The pardon was to go to Isaac R. Toussie, 36, who had been convicted of mail fraud and issuing false statements to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to a senior administration official, the White House learned new information about Toussie's case Tuesday night - only hours after announcing his pardon.
Specifically, the White House learned, according to the official, "additional information about the nature of fraud (Toussie) carried out." The White House also learned that Toussie's father had made numerous contributions to leading Republican politicians.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's holiday radio address pays tribute to troops serving overseas, and to those struggling amid the nation's economic woes.
"In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table," says Obama. "In distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and women can only wonder at the look on their child's face as they open a gift back home."
(Full text after the jump)
Minnesota's Supreme Court has approved a request by the campaigns of incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken to extend the deadline local election officials and the two campaigns have to finish sorting through improperly rejected absentee ballots to January 2, from the previous deadline of 31.
The canvassing board will have until January 4 to count the ballots, which will be delivered to the state unopened and uncounted, for voter privacy purposes.
That date doesn't mark the race's finish line: Both campaigns would still be able to challenge the state's count beginning the next day.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – This Christmas is the last at Camp David for President George Bush and his wife Laura. The president and his family will celebrate their twelfth Christmas at the presidential retreat - four when his father George H.W. Bush was president and eight during his own two terms as president.
President Bush’s entire family, including his father and mother, will sit down Thursday night to a Christmas eve dinner that will reflect Bush’s Texas roots. The menu features enchiladas, tamales, rice and beans, and guacamole.
(The first family's full, traditional Christmas day lunch menu after the jump.)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, along with family and friends, celebrated the life of his maternal grandmother Tuesday.
The private memorial for Madelyn Dunham was held at a Honolulu church. Following the service, Dunham’s ashes were scattered by family and friends at a nearby ocean overlook.
Obama paid tribute to his grandmother at the Democratic convention this summer, telling supporters Dunham had “poured everything she had into me."
A public memorial service was held for Dunham in November, shortly after her death, but the president-elect was unable to attend.
(CNN) - Hawaii's always been a great spot for honeymoons - and Barack Obama, who's spending the holiday season there on the beach at Kailua, is unquestionably having one of the best in modern presidential history.
Eighty-two percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning approve of the way the Obama is handling his presidential transition. That's up 3 points from when we asked this question at the beginning of December. Fifteen percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Obama's handling his transition, down 3 points from our last poll.
The 82 percent approval is higher than then President-elect George W. Bush 8 years ago, who had a 65 percent transition approval rating, and Bill Clinton, at 67 percent in 1992.