December 30th, 2008
07:03 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama family to move to DC this weekend, say aides

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Obamas are moving early in part so daughters Malia and Sasha, above, can start school on time."](CNN) - The Obama family is planning to move to Washington this weekend, say two transition officials. “They will stay at a Washington hotel through the 15th and then they will move into the Blair House,” said the first official.

President-elect Barack Obama and wife Michelle are coming to DC early in part to be there for the beginning of school for daughters Malia and Sasha, but will not specify which day that will be.

The officials also note that the President-elect will be in Washington to “continue work on an economic recovery plan.” Democratic officials have previously said they’re expecting the Obama team to get the economic recovery plan to the Hill the first week of January.

December 30th, 2008
06:57 PM ET
14 years ago

GOP to Dems: Slow down on stimulus bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants Congress to holds hearings on the stimulus package."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top congressional Republicans cautioned Democrats not to rush through a massive stimulus package that lawmakers hope to send to President-elect Barack Obama shortly after he takes office next month.

A House Democratic leadership aide told CNN on Tuesday that Congress will likely take up a stimulus bill the second week of January.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the Congress must prove to taxpayers that the stimulus bill, which some economists suggest could amount to $1 trillion, "is not wasting their money."

"We should have a simple test: will the yet-unwritten, reportedly trillion-dollar spending bill really create jobs and grow the economy - or will it simply create more government spending, more bureaucrats and deeper deficits?" McConnell said in a statement Monday.

McConnell's $1 trillion figure for the stimulus bill may be an overestimate, however.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Congress • Democrats • Economy • Republicans
December 30th, 2008
06:53 PM ET
14 years ago

Inaugural committee unveils contest to win swearing-in tickets

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Inauguration preparation continues in Washington."](CNN) - The presidential inaugural committee has borrowed a page from the president-elect's campaign playbook, offering donors the chance to enter a lottery so they can be on hand for the big event - and now, an essay contest that promises the same chance for those who keep their purse-strings closed.

But the committee still expects something in return for a shot at the prize announced Tuesday, which includes: round-trip tickets to Washington, DC, a hard to come by two-night hotel stay, and tickets for winners and a guest to Barack Obama's swearing-in, the inaugural parade, and one of the night's official inaugural balls.

Those interested need to submit an essay by midnight on Thursday, January 8 on the question: "What does this inaugural mean to you?" Committee staff will pick the ten winners.

The committee has said they need to turn to untraditional fund-raising efforts because of new limits the Obama team has placed on the size of donations to help fund inaugural festivities.

Obama's team used a similar fundraising approach during the presidential campaign, offering supporters the chance to win tickets to his acceptance of the Democratic nomination in Denver this summer, and election night celebration in Chicago last month.

Filed under: Inauguration
December 30th, 2008
06:52 PM ET
14 years ago

Road to stimulus: Speed bumps ahead

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Stimulus push comes as consumer confidence drops to an all-time low."]NEW YORK ( - Democratic lawmakers want to pass a far-reaching bill to save the economy by Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

That's the goal.

But the reality may be a little different. Enactment of an economic stimulus bill could be pushed into late January or early February, said Dan Clifton, a Washington-based analyst with the investment research firm Strategas Research Partners.

The reason: The measure will be big and complex – exceeding $700 billion by some estimates. And getting buy-in from lawmakers angered about the mounting toll of government rescues might take more time than expected.

Full story

Filed under: Congress • stimulus package
December 30th, 2008
06:39 PM ET
14 years ago

Blagojevich pick has long political history

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Burris was elected Illinois comptroller 30 years ago."]CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill Barack Obama's empty U.S. Senate seat was the first African-American to be elected to statewide office in Illinois, winning the first of three terms as comptroller in 1978.

Burris will appear on CNN's Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull tonight at 8 p.m. ET

Twelve years later, Burris was elected attorney general in the state, the second African American in the country to reach that position.


Filed under: Roland Burris
December 30th, 2008
05:42 PM ET
14 years ago

Returned Kennedy donation explained

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Kennedy donated to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Caroline Kennedy’s $2,300 donation to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was not returned because of her decision to endorse Barack Obama in the Democratic primary, a Clinton aide told CNN — it was sent back because the New York senator’s loss meant she would not be able to keep funds that had been contributed for her general election campaign.

The return was first reported Monday by the New York Post’s Page Six. Information available on confirms that a donation to Clinton from Kennedy was returned in August of this year, but does not provide any reason that the $2,300 was returned. Information available from the Web site of the Federal Election Commission shows that Kennedy donated the legal maximum of $4,600 to Clinton in June 2007 in two separate donations of $2,300 each.

Individual donors are limited to $2,300 to support a candidate’s primary run, and $2,300 to support a general election run for the White House.

A spokesman and adviser to Sen. Clinton informed CNN that Kennedy was one of approximately 8,000 donors who all had their contributions for Clinton’s general election bid returned on the same day four months ago.

Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • FEC • Hillary Clinton
December 30th, 2008
05:41 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama says Burris appointment 'disappointing'

President-elect Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday criticizing Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's decision to appoint Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate:

"Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it. I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy," said President-elect Obama.

December 30th, 2008
03:24 PM ET
14 years ago

Inauguration organizers describe day-long endurance test

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Preparations are non-stop for the January 20 event."] (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.


Filed under: Inauguration • Popular Posts
December 30th, 2008
03:11 PM ET
14 years ago

Blagojevich names Burris to fill Obama seat


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Tuesday that he will appoint Roland Burris to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. (Getty Images)

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris on Tuesday to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, calling him a "wise and distinguished senior statesman" with "unquestioned integrity."

Watch: Blagojevich names Burris

FBI agents arrested Blagojevich on December 9 after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to "sell" Obama's former Senate seat. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.

Burris does not have to be formally approved by the Senate to be appointed by Blagojevich. But the Senate could refuse to seat Burris or seat him and investigate the manner in which he was appointed, and unseat him if they discover any wrongdoing.

Watch: Burris accepts Senate nod

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has threatened not to seat anyone the governor appoints, and has called for the Illinois Democrat to step down.

Updated 3:11 p.m.

Full story

Filed under: Illinois
December 30th, 2008
01:47 PM ET
14 years ago

Sources: Senate Democrats to block Burris appointment

(CNN) - Two Democratic officials tell CNN Senate Democratic leaders are planning to block Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate seat once held by President-elect Obama.

The officials said this has nothing to do with Burris, an African-American leader and former state attorney general: "anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich can not be an effective representative of Illinois and will not be seated by the Democratic caucus," said one.

A spokesman for President-elect Obama says the transition has no comment on this. But they note Obama has previously called on the governor to resign.

UPDATE: Senate Democratic leadership released a statement saying Blagojevich's appointment of Burris was "unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand."

(Full statement as released after the jump)


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris • Senate
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