WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters Friday that he enjoys his private life, and that he does not want a job with the incoming administration.
Powell, who crossed party lines weeks before the general election to endorse Obama, has said before that he is not interested in working for the soon-to-be president. Powell is currently an honorary co-chair of Obama’s Presidential Inaugural Committee.
“I am very happy in private life, thank you very much, and I'm trying to be as helpful as I can to the president-elect and the vice president-elect,” Powell told reporters Friday. “I look forward to assisting in anyway that I can, but I have not been offered a job, and I've kind of made it clear that I am not looking for a position.”
Powell also praised incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and called her “the most distinguished public servant.”
“I am a very close friend of hers, and I congratulate her selection and appointment as Secretary of State,” Powell said. “I think she'll do a very, very - a very, very fine job.”
Powell spoke at a Washington event Friday unveiling an Obama community service program and the web site USAservice.org, an online tool to publicize available service projects and connect volunteers with non-profit organizations.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's January 17 train trip from Philadelphia to Washington - intended to make the inauguration the most open and accessible in history - is also presenting the U.S. Secret Service with miles and miles and miles of security problems.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee says that - in addition to well-publicized "whistle stops" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and Baltimore, Maryland - the public will have the opportunity to view the train at other locations along its 137-mile route.
But the committee thus far has not indicated where those sites will be, and the Secret Service has yet to release what security restrictions will be in place.
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s office accused the media Friday of habitually taking her remarks out of context “to create adversarial situations,” and of pursuing “erroneous and often outrageous leads on a variety of non-issues.”
The statement also charged that some members of the media, including independent bloggers and the Atlantic, were continuing “to give credence to the sensational allegation that the governor’s child, Trig, is not hers.”
“As a public official, I expect criticism and I expect to be held accountable for how I govern,” Palin said in a statement released by her office Friday. “But the personal, salacious nature of recent reporting, and often the refusal of the media to correct obvious mistakes, unfortunately discredits too many in journalism today, making it difficult for many Americans to believe what they see in the media.”
Earlier: Palin takes digs at Fey, Couric
WASHINGTON (CNN) – John McCain said Friday that his former rival Barack Obama has put together an "excellent" national security team, and defended the selection of Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
"I'm not here trying to argue that this president is perfect and that there aren’t still disagreements, but I do think his national security team is an excellent one," McCain told Fox News.
He described his post-election conversations with Obama as "cordial" and said he has spoken with the president-elect about the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Asked about Obama's decision to name Panetta to run the CIA, McCain defended Panetta against early criticism that the former Clinton official lacked sufficient intelligence experience to lead the spy agency.
"Leon Panetta has great experience as chief of staff of White House," McCain said.
He called Panetta "highly qualified" and added: "In all due respect, I think it's not bad from time to time to have someone from outside the intelligence community, but with strong experience in the White House."
On the topic of Obama's economic stimulus package, McCain did not promise to support the plan, but said it deserves consideration.
"These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures," he explained. Despite the recovery package's hefty price tag, McCain said the tax relief measures included in the plan made him more inclined to examine it.
(CNN) - An aide to Sen. Dick Durbin tells us he is expected to say at his press conference later today that even though the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled Roland Burris doesn’t need the secretary of state’s signature to make his appointment official, Senate rules still require it - and congressional leaders don’t see a way to seat him without it.
But aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say their lawyers are still looking at the ruling, and deliberating. They point to a passage in the court's Friday decision that suggests an alternative way to authenticate the certificate of appointment.
Separately, Democratic aides say they are still hoping that impeachment proceedings for Gov. Rod Blagojevich keep moving - and note that the moment he leaves office, the issue is moot: if the state's lieutenant governor moves into the top spot, he will sign an election certificate for either Burris or another candidate. That certificate would then be signed by Secretary of State Jesse White, since Gov. Rod Blagojevich's name will no longer be involved.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama has requested that the words “so help me God” be added to the end of the oath of office to be administered by Chief Justice John Roberts on Inauguration Day.
That confirmation came in an affidavit filed today by Roberts' court counselor in a pending lawsuit by an atheist opposed to any mention of God in the inaugural ceremonies. Roberts said he would abide by Obama’s wishes.
The Constitution has specific language on what has to be said when swearing in the president, but the “so help me God” phrase has traditionally been added at the end of the required oath, starting with George Washington in 1789.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Hours after being impeached by an overwhelming vote in the Illinois House of Representatives, a defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich proclaimed Friday that he was not guilty of impeachable offenses and would fight "every step of the way."
He declared he would be "properly exonerated... at the end of the day." Blagojevich was impeached by the state House by a vote of 114 to 1. Three members did not vote.
The question of whether to remove Blagojevich from office now moves to the state Senate, which will conduct a trial of the embattled governor. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required to convict and expel Blagojevich from office.
(CNN) –- Making the House a home, the House of Representatives that is. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Jim Acosta has the story of a congressman who is trying to set an example in a bad economy by sleeping on the job – literally.
Also: She’s back, and she’s not happy. Sarah Palin is again taking aim at a familiar target: the media. But the Alaska governor has tough words for some members of the McCain campaign. CNN’s Jason Carroll takes a look at her frank new interview.
Plus: Cash - or crash. President-elect Obama painted a bleak picture this week of where the economy will be headed if his stimulus plan is not passed quickly. But, Obama is facing resistance on Capitol Hill as some legislators question how much money to spend - and to whom the money would go. CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin has the details.
Finally: Hours before he takes the oath of office, Obama will ride the rails from Philadelphia to Washington - a ride littered with security risks. CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve reports on the daunting task of keeping the president-elect safe.
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(CNN) –- Hollywood, shove over. Next weekend, it’s DC’s turn to sparkle.
Leading up to Barack Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday, the streets of the nation’s capital will be lined with red carpets to welcome hordes of stars in town to celebrate. Hot shots from the music industry and the silver screen will host events all over town in a four-day marathon of parties and special events.
Some celebrities coming to Washington were fixtures for Obama on the campaign trail, raising money and support for his successful presidential bid. Jay-Z is performing at a sold-out concert at the Warner Theatre on Monday night, while Oprah, one of Obama’s most powerful supporters, will tape her show from Washington inauguration week.
Bruce Springsteen, who appeared at several Obama campaign rallies, is rumored to be singing at a star-studded concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday night, along with other performers yet to be named. Mary J. Blige will be in Washington for the BET Honors on Saturday, and Nelly and Will.I.Am will perform at concerts sponsored by the Hip Hop Caucus. Pop stars Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers are reportedly headlining a free concert for children at the Verizon Center on Monday night.