PHILADELPHIA (CNN) - Twelve days before he leaves office, President Bush delivered his final policy speech, choosing to focus on his signature education reform law known as "No Child Left Behind."
But as he spoke, television networks – including CNN – carried another address happening simultaneously: President-elect Barack Obama's speech on the ailing US economy.
"At the end of the presidency, you get to do a lot of 'lasts,'” Mr. Bush noted in his remarks at a school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"This is my last policy speech. As President of the United States, this is the last policy address I will give," Bush said.
"What makes it interesting is that it's the same subject of my first policy address as President of the United States, which is education and education reform."
(CNN) - Two of the first bills passed by the 111th Congress yesterday had less to do with the incoming president than they did with the man he’s replacing.
One measure would amend the Presidential Records Act of 1978 to overturn President Bush’s 2001 executive order that extended the length of time that presidential records can remain sealed.
The other would require full fundraising disclosure for presidential libraries. The lack of an existing requirement became an issue for former President Bill Clinton when his wife Hillary Clinton was tapped to serve as Obama’s secretary of state.
The former president eventually opted to release the full list of donors and the size of their donations.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Planning to attend the presidential inauguration this month in Washington? Expect a fortress-like city busting at the seams.
An influx of nearly 2 million people is expected to hit the streets of the nation's capital alongside an unprecedented security presence for the swearing in of the nation's first African-American president.
Police will be shutting bridges across the Potomac River into Washington, along with a huge chunk of downtown D.C.
Security officials are investigating any and all potential security threats to Barack Obama.
Homeland Security officials said they have no credible reports indicating that there's any terrorist threat to the inauguration, and there are no adjustments being made to the nation's threat level.
But officials also see the celebration as a potential target because it's highly symbolic and highly visible and will bring hundreds of VIPs - including foreign leaders - into the city.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A leading Senate Democrat predicts Eric Holder will be confirmed as the nation's next attorney general, despite tough questions expected from some Republicans about his Justice Department stint during the Clinton administration.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters Thursday was "a highly qualified nominee" with a "strong character" Thursday. Leahy expressed confidence about Holder's nomination saying, "the bottom line is, Eric Holder's going to be confirmed, and he will have an awful lot of Republican votes for that nomination."
(CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson says Caroline Kennedy's lack of elected office experience "does not help her" in her drive to fill the senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.
Paterson, as New York's governor, has the sole authority to name a replacement to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat after she resigns, as expected, to serve as President-elect Obama’s secretary of state.
In an interview with the Buffalo News Thursday morning, Paterson said elective experience is one factor, but not the only one, in his decision making process. Kennedy's "lack of elected experience does not help her,” he said, “but the point is, it's the combination of experiences I'll look at in terms of all the candidates, and also how balanced the ticket would look."
Kennedy, daughter of the late president John F. Kennedy and niece of Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, is one of at least a half a dozen candidates who have publicly expressed interest in succeeding Clinton. But because of her family name, Kennedy's received the most media attention - and because she's never served or even run for public office, she's received the most scrutiny.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - When President-elect Barack Obama heads to the Democratic National Committee today to formally unveil the new party chair there will be a notable absence, which is prompting some rare Democratic grumblings during these high times for the party.
Current Chairman Howard Dean left this morning for Pago Pago, American Samoa to attend the inauguration of that territory’s governor and a weekend fundraiser to raise money for the party there. Dean has so far visited all 50 states, and all territories except American Samoa.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who was on the shortlist to be Obama’s vice president, will succeed Dean and formally take over the DNC post at the party’s winter meeting on January 21st.
An Obama transition aide said the only reason Dean is not going be at the Obama-Kaine event is that it conflicted with Dean’s travel plans. But multiple sources, including party activists, say Dean was not invited and would have cancelled his trip if asked. When told he was not included, Dean is said to have taken the news in stride and continued with his travel plans.
The mystery is solved. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily: A visitor staying at the Blair House prevented the soon-to-be First family from taking up residence earlier than their expected move-in date. So who is the president’s mystery guest? CNN’s Jim Acosta reveals the answer.
Plus: With just 12 days until the inauguration, Barack Obama is making a sales pitch, arguing that his major spending program is what the economy needs to get back on track. CNN’s Jessica Yellin has the details.
And: Barack Obama’s cabinet, if confirmed, is full of political heavyweights who carry their own clout. Could the president-elect get lost in the sea of strong voices? CNN Special Correspondent Frank Sesno reports.
Millions of people will travel to Washington, DC to witness history when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. How are officials preparing to protect the city from the threat of attack on that historic day? CNN’s Jeanne Meserve takes a look at inauguration security.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Even as President-elect Barack Obama was giving a major address on his economic stimulus plan, it was running into trouble with key members of his own party on Capitol Hill.
Several Senate Democrats emerged from a closed-door meeting of the Senate Finance Committee saying they oppose central tax provisions of the proposal.
In particular, members said they did not think the idea of giving employers a $3,000 tax credit for each employee they hire would work.
“I’m not that excited about that,” Sen. John Kerry told CNN. “Having a tax credit for hiring is not going to change that dynamic - creating a direct job will. So I’d rather spend the money on the infrastructure, on direct investment, on energy conversion and other kinds of things, much more directly and much more rapidly and much more certainly create a real job.”
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Former Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho may have run out of options in a quest to reverse his guilty plea to a 2007 charge of disorderly conduct in a bathroom stall.
Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, where an undercover police officer accused him of soliciting sex.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected Craig's latest effort to withdraw the guilty plea December 9. Thursday marks the one-month deadline for filing an appeal.
His Minneapolis-based attorney, Thomas Kelly, told CNN on Thursday that Craig will not appeal to the state's Supreme Court, saying that effort would be "fruitless."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday House committees will begin action on the economic recovery package in the next couple of weeks, with a vote in the full House slated for the week after the inauguration. But if that schedule slips, Pelosi pledged to cancel the House's planned weeklong break in mid-February for the President's Day.
"We are not going home without an economic recovery package,” Pelosi told reporters.
Pelosi said Obama's plan "almost sight unseen" already has broad public support, citing a poll from Politico that says four in five Americans support the president-elect's plan.
A senior Pelosi aide said discussions about the details are ongoing between the Obama transition team and key leaders. The Ways and Means committee will focus on the tax piece, approximately $300 billion in tax cuts. Obama transition aides met this morning with Democrats on that committee to discuss various proposals, according to another Democratic aide.
The Appropriations Committee is tasked with drafting details on spending hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure projects, food stamps, and other aid to the states.