(CNN) - Two of the first bills passed by the 111th Congress yesterday had less to do with the incoming president than they did with the man he’s replacing.
One measure would amend the Presidential Records Act of 1978 to overturn President Bush’s 2001 executive order that extended the length of time that presidential records can remain sealed.
The other would require full fundraising disclosure for presidential libraries. The lack of an existing requirement became an issue for former President Bill Clinton when his wife Hillary Clinton was tapped to serve as Obama’s secretary of state.
The former president eventually opted to release the full list of donors and the size of their donations.
(CNN) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich set a spring date Monday for a special election to fill the congressional seat formerly held by Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
Blagojevich said primary voters in the state's 5th Congressional District will head to the polls March 3, and make their final pick April 7. The dates are based on recommendations by local elections officials.
Emanuel's resignation of the congressional seat formerly held by Blagojevich himself was effective Friday, January 2.
(CNN) - A day after warning critics of Roland Burris’s Senate appointment not to “hang or lynch” the former Illinois attorney general, Chicago congressman Bobby Rush said Democrats opposing Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s move to fill the open seat risk finding themselves “in the same position” as segregation-era figures Bull Connor and George Wallace.
"You know, the recent history of our nation has shown us that sometimes there could be individuals and there could be situations where schoolchildren - where you have officials standing in the doorway of schoolchildren," Rush told CBS Wednesday morning. "You know, I'm talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Ark. I'm talking about George Wallace, Bull Connor and I'm sure that the U.S. Senate don't want to see themselves placed in the same position."
Rush told CNN Tuesday that the lack of African-Americans in the Senate was "a moral outrage" that "should make most fair-minded Americans very, very angry."
Watch: This is a good decision,' says Rush
Congressional Democratic leadership said Tuesday they will oppose seating any candidate appointed by the scandal-scarred Illinois governor to fill the remainder of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate term.
(CNN) - There are still a host of question marks around next month’s inauguration festivities, but one thing is undeniable: the day may be geared less to your average middle schooler, and more to a field-tested U.S. Marine.
In the latest blunt advisory released Monday, the presidential inaugural committee said ticket-holders for President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony will need to arrive no fewer than three hours before the outdoor ceremony’s scheduled 11:30 a.m. start time.
But getting there in the first place poses a logistical challenge that’s not for the faint of heart or limb. Despite a new plan to turn big sections of the city into parking lots for charter buses and a peak rush hour schedule plan for the city’s Metro system, most cars and buses are unlikely to be allowed to enter the city, let alone the designated two-mile security zone around the swearing-in site.
(CNN) – Republican Party reaction remains divided over the decision of a candidate for party chairman to distribute a CD that featured the parody tune “Barack the Magic Negro,” with the majority of Chip Saltsman’s political rivals criticizing the move.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan – battling to keep his job as head of the party – was the first prominent member of the GOP to criticize Saltsman for sending committee members the song.
"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a Saturday statement.
"I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
Michigan party chairman Saul Anuzis also questioned Saltsman’s judgment. "In my opinion, this isn't funny and its in bad taste," he said in a statement. "Just as important, anything that paints the GOP as being motivated in our criticism of President-elect Obama by anything other than a difference in philosophy does a disservice to our party."
(CNN) - The chairman of the Republican National Committee has become the first major GOP figure to criticize a CD distributed by one of his challengers that included lyrics from a song called "Barack the Magic Negro."
"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement reported by Politico Saturday afternoon. "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
Chip Saltsman – who sent RNC members a parody CD for Christmas that included the controversial tune - defended his decision Friday, telling CNN the song was clearly intended as a joke.
(Update after the jump: Blackwell defends Saltsman)
(CNN) - He wasn’t on the ballot this year, but President Bush still lost – to Karl Rove.
For the third consecutive year, Rove has bested Bush in their annual reading contest, the former presidential advisor writes in today’s Wall Street Journal.
The president's reading list this year was weighted towards historical chronicles of conflict, from David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter" and Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle" to Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief."
(CNN) - A candidate for Republican National Committee chairman said Friday it was clear the content of a CD he sent committee members for Christmas - that included lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro” - was intended as a joke.
“I think most people recognize political satire when they see it,” Chip Saltsman told CNN. “I think RNC members understand that.” Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.
The song, set to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” was first played on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in 2007. Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation’s history of mistreatment of African-Americans. Saltsman said the song, penned by long-time friend Paul Shanklin, should be easily recognized as satire directed at the Times.
The parody CD sent to RNC members this Christmas, first reported by The Hill Friday, is titled “We Hate the USA”, and includes songs referencing former presidential John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton isn't the only former candidate still fundraising long after Election Day: an analysis released this week found that one out of every four prospective officeholders this year ended the campaign season in the red.
The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics found that 665 out of 2,339 candidates for political office still don't have enough to pay off their campaign debts - a combined deficit of roughly $144 million.
But many won't face much pressure from their creditors: $125 million of that debt is money candidates lent their own campaigns. "Eight out of the top 10 debtors reached into their own pockets for more than 40 percent of their campaign funds," CRP reported.
(CNN) - How have the aftershocks of California’s Proposition 8 - the legal challenges to the states same-sex marriage ban, the protests and boycotts, the controversy that greeted President-elect Obama’s decision to invite evangelical minister Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration –- affected national public opinion on the issue?
Not at all, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday.
In June, 44 percent of those surveyed said that gay marriages should be recognized by law as valid, and a slim majority – 53 percent – said they should not. Six months later, public opinion seems frozen in place, at least for the moment: support for gay marriage remains at 44 percent. So does the opposition –- at 55 percent, it’s statistically unchanged from the summer result, given the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.