(CNN) – Drama for the Obama administration. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN White House Correspondent Dan Lothian takes a look at the stunning setback to President Obama’s plans to reform healthcare. Can the White House recover?
Plus: Politics often makes for strange bedfellows, but there’s something especially odd about President Obama’s pick for Commerce Secretary. CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on what’s unusual about Sen. Judd Gregg being tapped to head the Commerce Department.
Also: Hillary Clinton bucks tradition. The former New York senator is breaking the mold by not heading to Europe or the Middle East for her initial trip as Secretary of State. So where will Clinton travel first? CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty has the story.
Finally: What do senators say now that their former leader, Tom Daschle, has withdrawn his nomination for Health and Human Services Secretary? CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash reports.
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(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards has largely avoided the spotlight since her husband admitted to an extramarital affair last summer, but the wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards is certain to draw headlines when she releases a personal new book this spring.
In Resilience, scheduled for a May release, Edwards will discuss how she's dealt with difficult moments in her life — like her husband’s affair, said the publisher.
"She would exhibit…remarkable grace and courage again when the very private matter of her husband's infidelity became public fodder," Broadway Books said in a release announcing the upcoming publication of the book.
Edwards has repeatedly declined to discuss her husband's relationship with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.
“[Edwards is] one of the most beloved political figures in the country, and on the surface, seems to have led a charmed life,” said publishers. “In many ways, she has. Beautiful family. Thriving career. Supportive friendship. Loving marriage. But she's no stranger to adversity. "
Edwards is also expected to discuss her ongoing battle with breast cancer, and the 1996 death of her 16 year-old son Wade.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday admitted he made a mistake in handling the nomination of Tom Daschle as his Health and Human Services secretary, saying Daschle's tax problems sent a message that the politically powerful are treated differently than average people.
Watch: Pres. Obama one-on-one
Daschle, the former Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate, withdrew earlier Tuesday as news that he failed to pay some taxes in the past continued to stir opposition on Capitol Hill.
"I think I screwed up," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. "And, I take responsibility for it and we're going to make sure we fix it so it doesn't happen again."
(CNN) – A three-judge Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that approximately 4,800 out of a total of nearly 12,000 rejected absentee ballots would be considered in Republican Norm Coleman's effort to retain his Senate seat.
"This is a victory for thousands of Minnesotans whose rejected absentee ballots will now be properly reviewed in this election," Ben Ginsberg, a legal spokesman for the Coleman campaign said in a statement released Tuesday. "We've continually called for every valid vote to be counted, and counted only once. This is a strong step in the right direction, and we applaud the decision of the court today."
The Franken campaign said the ruling brought some certainty to the litigation to determine who will be declared the winner in the razor-thin race.
The "universe [of Coleman's case] has now come to a defined place," Franken attorney Marc Elias said in a statement Tuesday. "We now know the scope of ballots they will be permitted to argue from."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch officially picked Bonnie Newman Tuesday to replace Sen. Judd Gregg, who was nominated to be Commerce Secretary in President Obama’s administration.
(CNN) – Newly minted Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced his transition team Tuesday. The group is dominated by RNC members who backed the new leader during the election.
Steele also chose former rival Saul Anuzis, who endorsed him after withdrawing from the race, to be a part of the team. The group will start concentrating on gubernatorial and local elections right away, along with recruiting new candidates, building volunteer networks and forging relationships with local parties, according to a press release.
Co-chairs of Steele transition team include:
Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis
Mississippi National Committeeman Henry Barbour
Illinois National Committeeman Pat Brady
Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer
Michigan National Committeewoman Holly Hughes
Northern Mariana Islands National Committeeman Bo Palacios
California National Committeeman Shawn Steel
Maryland National Committeeman Joyce Tehres
Oregon GOP Chairman Bo Tiernan
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, standing, joined the President and first lady as they chatted and read books with children at a D.C. charter school Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A group of lucky Washington schoolchildren received a lesson Tuesday that they'll never forget.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a suprise visit to a local charter school, joking that they wanted to get out of the White House.
During their visit, the first couple read a copy of "The Moon Over Star" - a book about the 1969 moon landing - to 25 stunned second-graders at the Capital City Public Charter School.
The excited children mobbed Obama, tugging at the president and offering him drawings.
Asked to name his favorite superhero, the president identified Spiderman and Superman.
He also divulged that he didn't always want to be president. As a kid, said Obama, he wanted to be an architect.
During the presidential campaign, Obama promised, among other things, to double charter school funding, boost support for math and science education, and promote merit pay for teachers.
(CNN) – Former Senate colleagues of Tom Daschle said Tuesday they were shocked by his sudden decision to withdraw from consideration as President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.
"I'm in shock. I didn't know that. I don't know what happened," said California Sen. Diane Feinstein. "I talked to him the night before last, and he showed no signs of withdrawing."
Some, like Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, said they still believed Daschle would have survived the nomination process. "I was a little stunned,” said the Montana senator. Baucus and the rest of the Finance Committee met privately with Daschle last night to address the questions over his failure to pay some taxes. “I thought he was going to get confirmed. I thought - he's a good man and I thought he'd be confirmed. I'm surprised."
Listen: Feinstein 'in shock'
(CNN) - Controversy forced the withdrawal of two more figures from the public scene Tuesday, but these were not named Daschle or Killefer.
Ty Inc. - the company that brought the world Beanie Babies - bowed to pressure from the White House and "retired" dolls named Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia Tuesday.
The 12-inch-tall dolls, which bear a resemblance to the first family's Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, were introduced last month as part of the Ty Girlz collection.
Watch: First daughter dolls?
First Lady Michelle Obama's press secretary said it was "inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes."
While the dolls still appeared on the Ty Web site Tuesday, a red banner above them read "Retired."
(CNN) –- Sen. John McCain enlists the help of online supporters through his political action committee, Country First. The former Republican presidential nominee tapped into his campaign lists Tuesday, asking supporters to sign a petition in protest of the economic stimulus package.
“I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy,” McCain says in the e-mail. “I hope you will join me in saying no to this stimulus package as it currently exists by signing this petition.”
The Arizona senator’s request follows a similar message sent by President Obama to his online followers Monday. The president called on supporters to host gatherings or house parties to help push for the stimulus package.
McCain and nine other Senate Republicans met in Sen. Mel Martinez’s office Tuesday to discuss an alternative to the Democratic plan. The former Republican presidential candidate said the group is trying to improve the stimulus package to enable job growth.