NEW YORK (CNN) - Gov. David Paterson had no intention of appointing Caroline Kennedy to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, a source close to the New York governor told CNN Thursday.
The source told CNN that Paterson did not think Kennedy was "ready for prime time," citing her efforts, at times awkward, at trying to win the appointment. She told the press at midnight as Wednesday turned into Thursday that she was withdrawing her name from consideration.
Paterson is charged with naming a replacement for Clinton, who resigned her seat to become the secretary of state in President Obama's administration.
"She clearly has no policy experience and couldn't handle the pressure," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. "Why would he pick her given how badly she handled herself in recent weeks?"
A Kennedy ally, though, denied that she had any indication he was leaning against choosing her to fill out Clinton's term.
And another Kennedy confidante said that Kennedy allies are getting frustrated about what they perceive as the governor's insiders slighting her.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The head of the Senate Armed Services committee said Thursday that he needed more information on how the nominee for deputy secretary of defense would handle conflicts of interests in his Pentagon post.
President Obama has nominated William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense during President Clinton's second term, to be deputy to Secretary Robert Gates.
Lynn was a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts. It is is the maker of the Army's Patriot missile system and the Navy's Tomahawk missile and is developing a global positioning satellite communication system for the Air Force.
As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - George Bush should have pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney said after stepping down as vice president this week.
"He was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice, and I strongly believe that he deserved a presidential pardon. Obviously, I disagree with President Bush's decision," Cheney told Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard, a leading conservative Washington magazine.
Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation into the revelation that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA agent.
He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000. Bush commuted the sentence, which he called "excessive," so that Libby served no jail time.
But he did not pardon Libby, much to the aggravation of many influential conservatives.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was a funny moment in the White House Press Office. And a rare one. I was in the White House press office when in walks President Obama. It happened so fast, it even startled his aides.
President Obama walked in to see his Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. An aide, looking down at her papers, didn't notice who was whisking by her, and said Gibbs was on a conference call. "I'm the President. I can do anything I want," joked Obama, proceeding directly into Gibbs’ office with a single photographer in tow as staffers laughed.
I overheard the president say "congratulations, congratulations man." Today, after all, had marked his press secretary's first official briefing with the White House press corps. Then, just as soon as he'd come in, the President moved off in the direction of the Oval Office - too fast for even a shouted impromptu question.
Moments later, I left the White House through the front gate and ran into the president's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, with her young daughter. She greeted me warmly and said "you remember my daughter." A couple of passersby began to assemble with cameras. When one recognized her as the President's sister, we said goodbye.
(CNN) - New York Mayor David Paterson is set to announce Friday his choice to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
According to the governor's office, Paterson will make the announcement at 12:00 p.m. ET Friday.
Caroline Kennedy, considered the frontrunner for the post, formally withdrew her name from consideration Wednesday night, citing personal reasons.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration began its expected shake-up of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, as staff members learned that every department and job at the organization will be subject to a review over the next four weeks.
At a full staff meeting of the DNC, executive director Tom McMahon introduced his successor, Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who walked staff members through what they can expect in the next month, according to a person present at the meeting.
The staff will be asked to resign by the end of February, but will have the chance to say if they’d like to remain on board. It's the same transition process that's been undertaken at the DNC after every political changeover since 1992.
O'Malley Dillon was received "warmly," according to the meeting attendee, and she welcomed input from staff as the new leadership figures out the new party structure.
She was joined at the meeting by two other Obama campaign veterans - Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird - who are expected to have leadership roles at the party under the new White House.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine took over as chairman yesterday, replacing Howard Dean - a sainted figure among the DNC's rank-and-file. Some party members are concerned that the popular 50-state strategy will be re-tooled under Kaine, but O'Malley Dillon promised Thursday that the program is here to stay.
(CNN) –A record crowd lined the National Mall and parade route on Inauguration Day, Washington officials said Thursday.
About 1.8 million came to the city for the day’s inaugural events, according Leslie Kershaw, a spokeswoman for Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. That estimate — 50 percent higher than the previous record - came from local and federal agencies in the Joint Operations Command Center, which was responsible for managing the crowd.
The National Park Service, which was banned by Congress from releasing crowd estimates after controversy over its count of participants in the Million Man March in 1995, said it would not challenge the 1.8 million figure, according to the Washington Post.
The figure far surpasses the 400,000 former President George Bush drew in 2005 and 800,000 former President Bill Clinton drew in 1993.
(CNN) - Congressional Republicans’ big pitch late in the 2008 campaign was the need for a GOP-controlled Congress to check a President Obama - but a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll Thursday suggests most Americans think the country is better off with Democrats in charge of both chambers.
According to the new survey, 56 percent of Americans say Democrats should control Congress, while 31 percent say Republicans should.
Meanwhile, the same survey found the country divided on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 39 percent of Americans approve of the job she’s doing, while 37 percent disapprove. A third of Americans have no opinion on the California Democrat.
The poll surveyed 1,245 adults January 12-15, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was named special envoy for the Middle East during an event at the State Department on Thursday afternoon.
The move could signal that Obama plans to get involved in the Mideast peace process early in his term. It was announced just before 3 p.m. at an event with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Also Thursday, former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was named special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced.
Holbrooke, who worked as a diplomat, journalist and investment banker, became one of the most influential diplomats in U.S. history when he worked in the mid-90s to end the brutal fighting in the Balkans.
(CNN) - Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand - considered one of the top candidates to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate - said Thursday she was "still in the running."
Gillibrand said he last time she spoke with Governor Paterson was at the New York reception the day before the inauguration. "I wished him luck and said I was available to talk if he needed more information," she said.
"I think I am still in the running. It's obviously an enormous honor to be even considered and to be reviewed for this position, and we'll all find out tomorrow, tomorrow or Saturday."