WASHINGTON (CNN) – Could an African-American President be the one who finally ends the cultural civil war that has been roiling American politics since the 1960s: liberal versus conservative, red versus blue, Democrat versus Republican? Both Bill Clinton and George Bush set out to end it. Clinton was "new Democrat." Bush was the compassionate conservative and the uniter. Both got trapped in the culture wars and ended up leaving the country more divided than ever. Clinton and Bush were the bookend Presidents of the Baby Boom generation.
Obama is technically a Baby Boomer – he was born near the tail end of the Baby Boom. But his approach and philosophy look beyond the Baby Boomers’ experience. He wrote in "The Audacity of Hope" about his desire to move beyond "the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation –- a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama team has acknowledged that inviting pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation was a "stumble.’"
They underestimated the anger people felt after the passage of Proposition 8 in California - a measure Warren supported. In an effort to be inclusive (toward evangelicals), they ended up excluding others. Warren just acknowledged the problem when he called for "civility in our attitudes, even when we differ."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bush goes out on a wave of disapproval and discontent. Since World War II, only Richard Nixon went out with less public support - and Nixon resigned. For the last couple of years, we’ve seen a brisk sale of calendars counting the days down until today, when President Bush leaves office.
Barack Obama comes in on an unprecedented wave of good will - not just because he is the nation’s first African-American President, but also because he aims to break barriers. He is a new generation, unencumbered by the culture wars of the sixties. He can speak a language of faith that many Democrats are uncomfortable with. His appointments and his policies reach across lines of party and ideology. And he said throughout the campaign that his aim was to deliver what Bush promised and failed to deliver – to be a uniter, not a divider.
strong>WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sasha and Malia Obama had front row seats for Monday night's Kid's Inaugural Concert, but jumped on stage when the Jonas Brothers invited them up.
Their mother - incoming first lady Michelle Obama - declared the show "pretty cool."
Thousands of kids - mostly children of military families - danced and yelled in Washington's Verizon Center as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Bow Wow, the Jonas Brothers and others performed.
"Are we fired up in here?" Michelle Obama asked as she took the stage halfway through the two-hour show. "Are we ready to go?"
WASHINGTON (CNN) - How long will the voters give President Barack Obama to turn the economy around? The president-elect is already laying down markers:
- Last month, Obama pledged, "We are going to create 2.5 million jobs."
– This month, he laid down another marker: "That is how we will achieve the Number One goal of my plan, which is to create 3 million new jobs."
– And then another: "The report confirms that our plan will likely save or create 3 to 4 million jobs. Ninety percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector."
Obama is urging patience. "It's going to take some time," he told ABC News. "It's not going to happen overnight."
So, just how long will the voters give him? Let's look at the experience of other new presidents elected in bad times.
When Ronald Reagan took over, the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent. When Bill Clinton took over, the unemployment rate was just over 7 percent. What's the unemployment rate now, when Barack Obama's about to take over? Just over 7 percent.
(CNN) - How's the honeymoon going?
Very well. In fact, better than the country's previous honeymoons.
When it comes to honeymoons with new Presidents, Americans have, shall we say, been around the block a few times. But this new guy is really sweeping people off their feet.
Eighty-two percent of Americans are happy with the way President-elect Obama is handling his transition. Even 61 percent of Republicans like him - and they're the in-laws in this marriage. He's not supposed to be good enough for them.
(CNN) - Senator Mel Martinez's decision not to run for re-election in 2010 for his seat from Florida signifies the failure of the Republican Party's outreach to minorities, and it points to difficulties Republicans could face in the 2010 election.
Republicans have always taken special pride in Senator Martinez. He's the former chairman of the Republican Party and the only Latino Republican in the Senate. His decision not to run for a second term indicates problems for the Republican Party.
"We need to have a legislative agenda that is centrist, that tends to be bipartisan, and stay away from those issues that have been so divisive in the past," said Martinez said last month.
One of those issues is immigration reform, which Martinez championed in the Senate. But many in the Republican Party were vocal in the opposition to immigration reform and critical of Martinez for his position.
"He has been under a great deal of pressure in Florida over immigration issues," says Matt Towrey, a political analyst who heads the polling for the political information firm Insider Advantage.
(CNN) - November 27 may be Turkey Day in America, but in the world of politics, every day is turkey day.
Turkeys are foolish creatures - overstuffed, noisy and self-important. A lot like the politicians on our list of Turkeys of the Year.
Turkey No. 10: Rudy Giuliani puts all his eggs in one basket - Florida.
"We are going to win in Florida, and then we will be talking about exactly who made the right decisions," Giuliani says on CNN's "The Situation Room" a week before the primary.
Giuliani ends up third in Florida, with 15 percent of the vote.
The former New York City mayor was relying on the many former New Yorkers who have moved or retired to Florida. There's just one problem: most of them are Democrats, and Democrats can't vote in Florida's Republican primaries.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - What's the significance of Obama sending Rahm Emanuel to meet with Republican leaders of Congress?
It's one more piece of evidence that President-elect Obama intends to pursue a new kind of politics.
President-elect Obama reaches out to his former rival Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state.
He meets with John McCain to discuss issues they agree on. Obama described that meeting between his former opponent as "a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country."
(CNN) - Was there a record turnout in the election?
Of Democrats, yes. Of all voters, not so much.
We expected to see amazingly high voter turnout in this election.
Just over 208 million voting-age American citizens were eligible to vote this year. Just over 187 million were registered to vote. Edison Media Research estimates that a total of just over 130 million actually voted for President, either in person or by mail. That's over 62 percent of all Americans eligible to vote. That's two points higher than four years ago. 2008 continues a steady trend of higher voter turnout since 1996. But it's not exactly a quantum leap.
The Center for the Study of the American Elecotrate Explains it this way."A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower-than-predicted turnout. . . . The long lines at the polls were mostly populated by Democrats."