WASHINGTON (CNN) –- Obama popped in for lunch Saturday at Ben’s Chili Bowl, the 50-year-old Washington fast food institution famous for its “half-smokes” –- sausages smothered in spicy homemade chili sauce, mustard, and onions.
The visit came as a complete surprise to Sonya Ali, one of the owners of the family-run business.
“Do you think I’d look like this if I knew?” she said, referencing her red blouse and slacks. The Secret Service came in and secured the location. Ali asked them how soon they could expect the president-elect. “Within minutes,” they told her.
And sure enough, he did, with Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in tow.
Security barricaded the U Street block, and hundreds rushed out of restaurants and apartment buildings to catch a glimpse of the incoming president.
Listen: Hear the crowd react and the owner reflect on the visit
Obama posed with diners and staff in all three rooms of the restaurant, before returning to the counter to collect his order: a chili half-smoke and sweet tea. Fenty had cheese fries and water.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Just days after being sworn in for another term, Vice President-elect Joe Biden has sent the Senate a letter officially announcing his resignation.
"I am resigning my seat in the United States Senate as the senior senator from the state of Delaware to assume my duties as vice president of the United States," wrote Biden.
The resignation will be effective as of Thursday, January 15 at 5:00 pm ET.
(CNN) - A senior Democratic congressional source tells CNN the document Illinois secretary of state Jesse White stamped Friday "could" allow them to seat Roland Burris, but they're spending the weekend examining the law and Senate rules.
"We have the parliamentarian, Senate legal counsel and the secretary of the Senate looking at that issue right now," says the aide. "[Senate] Rule II says six things are required - name, date of appointment, date the certificate was signed, state, signature of the governor, and signature of the secretary of state. So now we have all six elements on two separate pieces of paper - they are looking at whether that works."
A Burris associate tells CNN while he had considered returning to Washington on Monday, that is no longer the plan.
Instead, they are going to wait and see what Democratic leaders discuss this weekend.
This associate said it is possible that Burris attorneys could file a federal lawsuit in US District Court on Monday, but that option is also up in the air as they watch and wait.
(Updated after the jump with new details on Burris plans)
(CNN) – President Bush has flown on Air Force One to Washington for the last time.
The President and Mrs. Bush landed at Andrews Air Force Base at 3:20 pm, ending their final flight aboard Air Force One. They returned to Norfolk, Virginia, where the USS George H.W. Bush was commissioned Saturday morning.
Watch an Air Force One inaugural kickoff in Washington
Air Force One, with President Bush still on board, taxied directly into its hangar at the base. The president met privately with workers who are part of the presidential airlift group that handled operations for the planes.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino said President Bush wasn’t aware this was his last flight on Air Force One until he was told by an interviewer.
The next time he’ll be on the plane, it will be as a former president being flown back to Texas after President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office. The plane will have a different designation for that flight, since it is only Air Force One when the sitting president is on board.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Thousands of pro-Palestinian activists rallied outside the temporary residence of President-elect Barack Obama Saturday, and called on the incoming leader to stop the violence in Gaza.
About 3,000 people carrying signs and chanting "Free Palestine" flooded Lafayette Park, which is sandwiched between the White House and the Hay-Adams Hotel, where the president-elect is living with his family.
Carrying a Palestinian and wearing a keffiyeh, Abdel-Kader Elkabil called on the president-elect to take action.
"Please Mr. Obama, do something. We love you. We voted for you," said Abdel-Kader Elkabil. "I'm expecting you to do something...you're the only one who can do something."
The economy and national security are two of Obama's biggest worries heading into office, CNN's Candy Crowley reports.
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) - Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Lindsey Graham arrived in Kabul on Saturday for meetings with U.S. military commanders and Afghan leaders, a U.S. military spokesman said.
Biden and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina arrived in the Afghan capital after a one-day visit to Islamabad where they met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Pakistan's government is waging a bloody battle against Taliban and al Qaeda militants in its tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Yes, it's early. Very early. Barack Obama hasn't even moved into Blair House yet.
But it's time - for an intervention.
How else to confront the oddly self-destructive behavior of congressional Democrats? How else to figure out why they seem intent on depriving their new president of a swift - and truly bipartisan - victory on his all-important economic stimulus package?
Watch Candy Crowley report on Obama's sales pitch
It's as if they haven't quite figured out what the public meant when it voted to change business as usual. Or that sometimes, in order to get something done, the perfect is the enemy of the good, as the cliché goes. Or to effectively cripple the Obama presidency in its infancy would be, er, bad for them.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressional Democrats were notified Friday afternoon by the White House that they could get a request soon for the remaining $350 billion of funds from that massive $700 billion financial bailout package, a Democratic leadership source confirms to CNN.
According to this Democratic source, who did not want to be named because no decisions have been made, Democratic leaders are not sure if the votes would be there to block President Bush from accessing the funds.
Although there is widespread criticism of the way the Bush administration has handled the rescue program, the source said that if President-elect Obama signs onto the Bush request, it may make it easier for Democrats to vote yes.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Obama will host a series of dinners the night before his inauguration honoring Ret. Gen. Colin Powell, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and his former presidential rival, Republican Sen. John McCain, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Saturday.
"In these times of great challenge and great change, leadership requires rising above the same old narrow partisanship," the president-elect said in a statement released by the committee.
"Each of these distinguished Americans has spent his life in service to his country, at each and every moment placing the interests of America before issues of political party. That is precisely the spirit of common purpose we need as we begin the work ahead."
The committee said the events will be held at the National Building Museum, Union Station and the Hilton Washington.