(CNN) - During his search for a successor to fill President Obama's former Senate seat, then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich considered picking talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
In newly- released transcripts of telephone conversations from 2008, introduced into evidence during his trial on Monday, Blagojevich made his case for Winfrey, saying she was "the king maker."
Speaking with his Chief of Staff Richard Harris, Blagojevich continued, "She made Obama."
Harris countered by saying, "So is it that you're tryin' to shed some grace on thee, by picking her?"
Washington (CNN) – The Pentagon is out to save $100 billion over the next five years in a major push to cut overhead costs, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Gates officially unveiled his plan at a Pentagon news conference Monday, announcing he is putting department acquisition chief Ashton Carter in charge of finding where the $100 billion will come from in the budgets beginning in 2012.
"The department's leadership has already taken strong action in this area, and needs to do more," Gates said.
"Other savings can be found within programs and activities we do need, by conducting them more efficiently. ... I'm confident we'll succeed," he said.
Washington (CNN) - West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant announced Monday afternoon that there will be no election this year to fill the remaining time in the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, ending hours of speculation. Tennant said the election will take place in 2012.
Byrd, 92, died early Monday. The nine term Democrat, who served for six years in the House prior to his move to the Senate, was the longest serving member ever in Congressional history.
But the timing of Sen. Robert Byrd's death contributed to confusion about filling the remainder of his term.
Under West Virginia law, Gov. Joe Manchin has the power to appoint a successor. Since Manchin, a popular two-term governor, is also a Democrat, it's expected he will name a fellow member of his party to succeed Byrd, thereby keeping Democrats' caucus in the Senate at 59 seats.
That was the easy part. Here's where it gets confusing.
Washington (CNN) – The President hosted Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in the Oval Office Monday morning to offer his encouragement and good luck prior to her nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A White House official says the Obama-Kagan morning pep talk only lasted " a couple of minutes" as he wanted to "wish her good luck in person."
In describing her mood before heading over to Capitol Hill, the official said "she seemed excited for the committee hearing to get started. She's well prepared."
Solicitor General Kagan's White House support team at the hearing includes White House Counsel Bob Bauer, Susan Davies (Bauer's deputy who has been running day-to-day of the confirmation process) and Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum Monday that would double commercial spectrum available for wireless broadband technologies.
The amount of information flowing over wireless networks has exploded in recent years raising concerns about a "spectrum crunch." According to the White House, wireless data will increase between 20 and 45 times 2009 levels in the next five years.
The memorandum will commit the federal government into making available another 500 MHz of spectrum during the next ten years, increasing easy and fast access to wireless across America, including rural areas. This would allow expansion of coverage for smartphones and netbooks among other devices as well as potentially increasing the services they provide.
The announcement was made in a speech Monday by National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers, who stressed the plan would provide jobs and spark innovation.
Washington (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been released from a Washington hospital, according to a spokesman for the former vice president.
Washington (CNN) - The President was scheduled to meet with grassroots leaders at 3:15 Monday afternoon to discuss immigration reform, a White House official confirms.
Two sources outside the White House involved in the talks say immigration reform is definitely on the President's radar, and that Monday's closed-press meeting comes on the heels of a number of immigration movements that have been quietly percolating over the last 48 hours.
They point to National Security Advisor for Homeland Security John Brennan's meeting with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, which is scheduled to take place as early as Monday in Arizona.
Secretary Napolitano has also recently introduced a number of border security initiatives.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The smooth passage of the final Wall Street reform bill later this week just got tougher.
Senate Democrats on Monday were scrambling to secure the 60 votes they need to overcome a GOP filibuster following the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, and critical comments by a moderate Republican senator who had been supportive of the legislation.
The House is expected to start debating the 2,300-page bill as early as Tuesday afternoon, with final passage Tuesday evening or Wednesday. And the Senate will take up the bill as soon as the House is finished.