WASHINGTON (CNN) - Members of the President-elect's transition team at the Pentagon have completed their reviews and reports and are no longer working in the building, making way for the next wave of Obama staffers to come in, according to Pentagon officials.
The initial transition team was conducting policy reviews and getting to know the inner workings of staffing and logistics as well as talking to the Secretary of Defense and other staffers that will be staying on through the transition.
"All of their reports are written and turned into the Obama transition team and they have left the building," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.
Most of the group of more than 20 transition members left before Christmas, but the team kept two or three on to help prepare Obama appointees through the Congressional confirmation process as they are named.
(CNN) – While the country is fixated on what kind of dog President-elect Barack Obama’s family will get when they move into the White House, his Vice President-elect Joe Biden quietly picked out a puppy of his own last week.
Biden’s wife, Jill, promised the future VP a dog if he and Obama got elected. Biden found the as-yet-unnamed pup, a three-month old male German Shepherd, in a breeder’s kennel in southeastern Pennsylvania, the area’s Daily Local News reports.
Biden revealed his wife’s pledge on Election Day, telling reporters flying with him to Chicago that she had first promised him a dog if he was elected president, and when his primary bid failed, if he was elected vice president. Mrs. Biden even taped pictures of dogs on the seatback in front of Biden on the plane, according to the report.
“I’ve always had a big dog my whole life, even the time I was a kid. I’ve had German Shepherds and Great Danes and Labs and Golden Retrievers,” Biden said on November 4. “So with Barack inquiring about would I be willing to get vetted, Jill said, ‘I’ll make you a deal: if you get the vice presidency and get elected, you can get a dog.’
“I know what kind I want, I don’t know what kind I’m going to get yet,” he added before reiterating that the ticket hadn’t won yet.
Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said the vice president-elect had owned three German shepherds in his life, “so he's familiar with the breed and its personality."
“He's excited to bring it home when it gets a little older and has promised that his grandchildren can name it after the New Year,” Alexander said.
Biden was reportedly accompanied to breeder Linda Brown’s kennel by New Castle County Police K-9 coordinator Mark Tobin, who will train the puppy for the next six weeks before delivering it to the Bidens when they move into the vice presidential residence in January.
Brown told Delaware’s News Journal that the puppy is “the pick of the litter.”
Tobin added, “He's well-tempered, people-friendly and social…It's just a happy-go-lucky puppy."
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama will hold the first meeting of his national security team on Monday in Chicago, according to a transition aide for the incoming administration.
Participants will include, among others, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary nominee Gov. Janet Napolitano and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, according to a source who was briefed on the planning.
(CNN) - "Corruption has replaced leadership.” That is what Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in television ads when he ran his 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Now, the Illinois governor is indicted on federal corruption charges for scheming to sell former Sen. Barack Obama’s vacant seat to the highest bidder. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Drew Griffin has the details as political scandal erupts in the Illinois State House.
And: Did President-elect Obama or his aides know anything about Blagojevich’s pay-to-play tactics? CNN’s Elaine Quijano covers the story from Chicago.
Plus: Barack Obama versus the NRA. The president-elect has yet to be sworn into office, but he may already be battling the National Rifle Association. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick breaks down whether Obama is to blame.
Finally: It’s an interesting and controversial dilemma. Should the U.S. build more nuclear weapons in the efforts to eliminate them later? It could be one of the most important issues facing a president since the Cold War. CNN’s Jamie McIntyre takes a closer look at nuclear priorities in “Memo to the President.”
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(CNN) - Want to apply for a job in the Obama administration? You may think twice when you hear about the privacy-invading background search. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, what happens to that personal information when the application process ends? From credit reports, private emails, and incriminating photos, CNN’s Jason Carroll has the details.
Also: Online thieves attempt to gain access to top-secret information from the pentagon, state department, and NASA every day. One commission says that the Obama administration will face more cyber attacks than any previous administration. CNN’s Jeanne Meserve takes a closer look.
America’s infrastructure has been neglected for decades as water systems, bridges, roads, and electrical grids are currently out-of-date. Barack Obama says he can fix it, and create jobs. So how exactly will the president-elect do it? CNN’s Chris Lawrence has the story in the latest “Memo to the President.”
Plus: President-elect Obama and former Vice President Al Gore met Tuesday to discuss environmental policy and job creation, but their talk is raising speculation. CNN’s Elaine Quijano tells us why.
Finally: President Bush gets down. CNN’s Jeanne Moos takes a look at the lighter side of the presdent
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell defended his recent off-microphone remark about Homeland Security Secretary-designate Janet Napolitano, calling the comment “100 percent true.”
While having a private conversation at the National Governor’s Association meeting in Philadelphia on Tuesday, an open microphone picked up Rendell labeling Gov. Napolitano, D-Arizona, as “perfect” for the cabinet position because she has no family, and the position requires a person with “no life.”
On Tuesday CNN’s Campbell Brown railed against the governor, commenting that it was a sexist statement that would have never been uttered had Napolitano been a man.
But the outspoken Pennsylvania Democrat shrugged off the criticism in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sunday.
“What I said about Janet is true. I think she's the gold standard for governors. She works hard, she's dedicated, she's focused,” he said on Late Edition.
“Campbell Brown, who I love, as a person and respect as a newsperson, couldn't have been more wrong. She said that it was somehow sexist or a comment on single women. Let me tell you—If Janet Napolitano was Jim Napolitano and had no family, I would have said the exact same thing,” Rendell confidently stated.
Though Rendell claimed that he sent the Arizona governor a hand-written note apologizing for any discomfort he caused her, he strongly defended his controversial comment.
“Wolf, we've gotten really far off field in the way we cover news if that statement which is absolutely 100 percent true is construed as something. I would have said it about man or woman in similar position. It was meant to comment on how tough the job is and how great a choice Janet is,” Rendell told Blitzer.
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama announced Sunday that retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki is his pick for secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The nation needs "a 21st Century" Department of Veterans Affairs "that will better serve all who have answered our nation's call," he said at a news conference in Chicago.
"And there is no one more distinguished, more determined, or more qualified to build this VA than the leader I am announcing as our next Secretary of Veterans Affairs - General Eric Shinseki. No one will ever doubt that this former Army chief of staff has the courage to stand up for our troops and our veterans. No one will ever question whether he will fight hard enough to make sure they have the support they need."
He said Shinseki "understands the changing needs of our troops and their families. And he will be a VA secretary who finally modernizes our VA to meet the challenges of our time."
Shinseki, who stepped to the microphone after Obama, made a vow to his fellow veterans. If confirmed, he said, he will "work each and every day" to ensure the nation is serving them "as well as you have served us."
In an interview that aired earlier on NBC's "Meet The Press," Obama said, "When I reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and I think about how so many veterans around the country are struggling even more than those who have not served - higher unemployment rates, higher homeless rates, higher substance abuse rates, medical care that is inadequate - it breaks my heart," Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"And I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who's going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home."
The official announcement took place in Chicago on Sunday, the anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
(CNN) - Bill Richardson and Janet Napolitano: Both are governors of neighboring states in the Southwest. Both are headed to Washington. But their departure is triggering very different succession scenarios in their home states.
CNN has learned that New Mexico Governor Richardson will be nominated tomorrow as President-elect Obama's Commerce Secretary. For Richardson, who was Energy Secretary and UN Ambassador under President Clinton and a former Congressman from New Mexico, it means a return to the nation's capitol.
But who takes Richardson's job?
That person would be the state's lieutenant governor, Democrat Diane Denish, who stands to become become New Mexico's first female governor. Denish was Richardson's running mate in the 2002 and 2006 elections and with the governor term-limited out of the 2010 race, was planning a gubernatorial run of her own.
While the governorship in New Mexico stays in Democratic hands, it's just the opposite in neighboring Arizona.
That state's governor, Janet Napolitano, was nominated yesterday by Obama to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security. Arizona doesn't have a lieutenant governor, so when Napolitano steps down to head to Washington, Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer — a conservative Republican - takes over the job.
(CNN) - Is President-elect Obama a hawk or dove? In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Republicans are gushing over Obama’s national security team, and his anti-war supporters are less-than-pleased over some of his cabinet picks. CNN’s Jim Acosta reports.
Plus: Roughly a month after the GOP presidential ticket failed to capture the White House, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is still grabbing the spotlight. The Alaska governor has been offered numerous book deals, and is currently one of the most searched women on the internet. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick has the latest on Palin’s superstar status.
An urgent warning delivered by a bipartisan commission says the United States is likely to face a biological or nuclear attack by the year 2013. CNN’s Jeanne Meserve has the details in her “Memo to the President.”
Finally: Governors are hitting up Barack Obama to help their states stay afloat during this difficult economic period. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on what the governors want out of the economic stimulus package, and how they will apply the funds to help create jobs.
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(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's transition team on Saturday announced several key appointments to his communications team.
Ellen Moran, the executive director of EMILY's List, will serve as Obama's communications director. Moran worked for the AFL-CIO, coordinating "Wal-mart corporate accountability activities," before returning to EMILY's - an organization dedicated to helping Democratic women get elected to office.
Robert Gibbs, an Obama campaign spokesman who also has acted as spokesman for the transition, will become Obama's press secretary - one of the most highly visible roles in the administration.
Gibbs, an Auburn, Alabama, native who has worked for Sen. Fritz Hollings, the Democratic Senatorial Committee and Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, was communications director, then a senior strategist, for the Obama campaign.
Dan Pfeiffer, current communications director with the transition team, will be Obama's deputy communications director. He began work with the Obama campaign in January 2007 as traveling press secretary before returning to Chicago to work as communications director.
"These individuals will fill essential roles, and bring a breadth and depth of experience that can help our administration advance prosperity and security for the American people," Obama said in a written statement. "This dedicated and impressive group of public servants includes longtime advisors and a talented new addition to our team, and together we will work to serve our country and meet the challenges of this defining moment in history."