November 19th, 2008
09:35 AM ET
12 years ago

Al Qaeda's No. 2 criticizes Obama

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri threatened President-elect Barack Obama in an Internet message.

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri threatened President-elect Barack Obama in an Internet message.

(CNN) - A purported message from al Qaeda's deputy leader posted on Islamist Web sites on Wednesday told President-elect Barack Obama that "a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you."

In the video, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2, castigated Obama's foreign policy stances on Afghanistan and Israel and ridiculed the president-elect's worldview. Al-Zawahiri compared Obama unfavorably to the late Malcolm X, an African-American militant who adopted Islam.

Al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden are believed to be hiding in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Al-Zawahiri can be heard saying, "In you and in Colin Powell, [Condoleezza] Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning 'house Negroes' are confirmed."

"House Negroes" is the English translation of the Arabic term "house slaves."

The posting, which appeared on the Web on Wednesday, includes videos from Malcolm X speeches.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
November 19th, 2008
09:31 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama's staff picks cause critics to question his call for change

Obama's staff picks have critics questioning his call for change.

Obama's staff picks have critics questioning his call for change.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Barack Obama pledged to bring "fundamental change to Washington" as he campaigned for the White House, but as the president-elect fills out his administration, critics say they're just seeing more of the same.

More than half of the people named to Obama's transition or staff posts have ties to former president Bill Clinton's administration.

The Clinton-heavy team has caused some Republicans to question Obama's call for change.

"I think several individuals are very frustrated to think that President-elect Obama may just cut and paste from some of the Democratic operatives from the Clinton administration and put them into his White House," said Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor.

Republicans aren't the only ones who want Obama to branch out. Robert Kuttner, a liberal and author of "Obama's Challenge" says the President-elect should broaden his recruiting efforts.

"It's not as if the only competent people who ever served in government or who are capable of serving in government are veterans of the Clinton administration, so he's got to be careful how many Clintonistas he appoints to top level government posts," he said.

Before Clinton, however, Democrats had not been in the White House since Jimmy Carter, and most of those in his administration are too old to serve again under Obama.


November 19th, 2008
08:46 AM ET
11 years ago

Can Lincoln's playbook help Obama in the years ahead?

Barack Obama and Joe Biden attend a rally in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden attend a rally in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The comparisons are eerily similar.

Both Abraham Lincoln and President-elect Barack Obama were not from Illinois but became two of the state's top politicians.

They were both criticized for being too inexperienced to become president of the United States.

Both were raised by women other than their mothers (Lincoln by his stepmother and Obama by his grandmother) and later visited the women before their respective inaugurations. Both women died before the respective inauguration days.

Lincoln, a Republican, and Obama, a Democrat, will be noted as relatively young presidents: Lincoln was 51 when he took office. Obama will be 47.

The two tall and lanky politicians also wrote best-selling books before becoming president.

Full story

November 19th, 2008
04:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Texas grand Jury indicts Cheney, Gonzales

Vice President Dick Cheney

Vice President Dick Cheney

(CNN) - A grand jury in south Texas indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on separate charges related to alleged prisoner abuse in federal detention centers, Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra told CNN Tuesday.

On the southern tip of Texas, Willacy County is on the United States-Mexico border.

Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. is also charged in the indictment. Michael R. Cowen, an attorney for Lucio, issued a statement calling Guerra a "one man circus."

"In the March 2008 Democratic Primary, 70 percent of the Willacy County voters elected to remove Juan Guerra as Willacy County District Attorney," Cowen said in a statement. "Now, with only a few weeks left in his term, Mr.Guerra has again chosen to misuse his position in an attempt to seek revenge on those who he sees as political enemies."

Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said, "The vice president has not received an indictment."

The Associated Press reported that the indictment stems from Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group - an investment management company that reportedly has interests in the prison companies in charge of the detention centers. It also charges Gonzales halted an investigation into abuse at the detention centers while he was attorney general.

Filed under: Dick Cheney
November 19th, 2008
04:43 AM ET
12 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday Nov. 19th, 2008


CNN: Sources: Holder is Obama's choice for attorney general
Former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder is President-elect Barack Obama's choice for the position of attorney general, according to two prominent Democrats involved in transition matters.

CNN: Lieberman credits Obama after Dems let him keep post
Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman managed to keep his Senate committee chairmanship in part because President-elect Barack Obama didn't want to punish him for supporting Sen. John McCain, Lieberman said Tuesday.

CNN: Source: Orszag tapped for Office of Management and Budget
President-elect Barack Obama has picked Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, to head his Office of Management and Budget, a top Democratic source told CNN Tuesday.

CNN: Begich claims victory over Stevens for Alaska Senate seat
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, the Republican lawmaker convicted on felony corruption charges in October, appears to have lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Mark Begich, according to a release from Begich's campaign and unofficial results from state officials.

CNN: McCain makes move to run for re-election, CNN has learned
CNN has learned that John McCain met Tuesday night with top advisers to start the process of setting up a political action committee.

CNN: Bush daughters give tour to Obamas
Jenna and Barbara Bush, the president's daughters, personally toured Barack Obama's daughters around the White House Tuesday, a White House spokeswoman said.


Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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