WASHINGTON (CNN) - Future First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha have taken a big step in their own transition to the White House.
The Obama women left Chicago and traveled to Washington Saturday, according to a pool report from the president-elect's traveling press corps.
Malia and Sasha Obama are set to begin classes Monday at Sidwell Friends, a private school in the D.C. area. Their father will arrive in Washington on Sunday evening, according to the pool report.
The Obamas are staying at the historic Hay Adams hotel near the White House until January 15, when the official guest residence at the Blair House becomes available to them. They will move into the White House on January 20 after the inauguration.
WATCH: When Michelle met Barack
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama Saturday praised Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's choice of Michael Bennet as that state's next senator, saying Bennet reflects "the qualities of the ruggedly independent state."
Ritter officially announced his choice at a Denver press conference Saturday.
"Filling Ken Salazar's boots in the US Senate is a tall order. But in selecting Michael Bennet, Governor Ritter has made an excellent choice," Obama said in a statement released by his transition office.
"Michael Bennet perfectly reflects the qualities of the ruggedly independent state he has been chosen to serve. An innovator in the public and private sectors, he has shown himself willing to challenge old thinking and stale policies," Obama also said.
Bennet, the Denver Public Schools Superintendent, replaces Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama's choice to be interior secretary.
Ritter had narrowed down his choice to either Bennet or the popular Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, and made his final decision on New Years Day, according to reports.
In the news conference Saturday, Ritter said Bennet is "exactly who we need representing Colorado."
"Michael has this unique set of personal and professional experiences that make him the right choice for Colorado," Ritter said, according to CNN Denver affiliate KUSA.
(CNN) - A meeting has been scheduled between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin and Roland Burris, embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s choice to succeed Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois, according to a Democratic source familiar with the discussions of Senate Democratic leaders.
The meeting was scheduled at Burris’s request and is tentatively set for Wednesday, according to this source, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama will head to Washington, DC Sunday afternoon, a transition aide tells CNN.
According to the aide, Obama will depart Chicago for the nation's capital around 5 p.m. ET.
The Obama family is moving to Washington early in part so daughters Sasha and Malia can begin school when classes reconvene after winter break.
The Obamas are set to stay at the Hay-Adams, a hotel directly across from the White House.
They had hoped to move earlier into nearby Blair House, which presidents-elect traditionally occupy five days before moving into the White House. But the Bush administration said the house, which is used as a guest house for visiting dignitaries, already had events scheduled there and guests who could not be displaced.
The Obamas will move into Blair House on January 15.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - One of the last remaining steps in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race recount was temporarily halted Saturday morning when attorneys with Republican Norm Coleman's campaign attempted to stop the counting of about 950 improperly rejected absentee ballots.
Currently, Coleman trails Democrat Al Franken by about 50 votes.
The state's Supreme Court had previously ordered that rejected absentee ballots be counted if local officials and each campaign could agree that the selected ballots were rejected mistakenly.
Local officials identified 1,350 such ballots. The Franken campaign wanted to count those and leave it at that. The Coleman campaign took issue with hundreds of those and also wanted to add about 650 more. Since the Franken campaign would not agree to these ballots, the Coleman campaign sought the intervention of the state's high court. The court is currently considering their request but has not set a hearing at this point, and it is still unclear if they will.
At the start of Saturday's meeting, Coleman attorney Tony Trimble asked Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann to cease any counting today.
After about an hour recess to consult the state attorney general's office, Gelbmann returned saying the decision was to "not slow down this process today, get the counting underway."
"We are relying on the oral advice of the attorney general," he added.
Trimble wanted to respond.
"We understand the decision you've made, we–," Trimble said before sharply cut off by Gelbmann.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A clash over the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama will intensify next week on Capitol Hill when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill that seat arrives in Washington.
A longtime friend and confidant of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris said late Friday that Burris will be in Washington Monday night and hopes to be seated in the Senate the next day.
That puts him on a collision course with members of the Senate Democratic majority, who have vowed to prevent Burris from taking the seat. At issue: a federal prosecutor's charge that Blagojevich had hoped to barter the Senate seat for either money or influence.
(CNN) - Bristol Palin, the teenage daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is going on the record about the recent birth of her son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston.
In a statement dated Wednesday but posted on the Alaska governor's Web site Friday, Bristol says the pregnancy was "not ideal," but is thankful to have a family who supported her.
“Teenagers need to prevent pregnancy to begin with – this isn’t ideal. But I’m fortunate to have a supportive family which is dealing with this together," Bristol Palin said in the statement. "Tripp is so perfectly precious; we love him with all our hearts. I can’t imagine life without him now.”
In the same statement, Gov. Palin said she at first greeted the news of her daughter's pregnancy with "fear and a bit of despair."
"Isn’t it just like God to turn those circumstances into such an amazing, joyful blessing when you ask Him to help you through?" she said in the statement.
“The road ahead for this young couple will not be easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Bristol and Levi are committed to accomplish what millions of other young parents have accomplished, to provide a loving and secure environment for their child," added Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee.
Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston was born Saturday and is the son of Levi Johnston, a former high school hockey standout currently studying to be an electrician. Johnston and Palin reportedly plan to get married this summer.
A spokesperson for the Alaska governor told CNN Johnston is currently working to earn his GED while Palin is set to begin her final high school semester.