(CNN) - Chief CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been approached by the Obama administration about the U.S. surgeon general's post, according to sources inside the transition and at CNN.
Watch: John King on Dr. Gupta
The transition team is impressed with the combination of Gupta's past government experience, as a White House fellow and a special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton, along with his medical career as a neurosurgeon and his communication skills, the transition source said.
Gupta has declined comment on the matter.
CNN released a statement saying, "Since first learning that Dr. Gupta was under consideration for the surgeon general position, CNN has made sure that his on-air reporting has been on health and wellness matters and not on health-care policy or any matters involving the new administration."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A top Republican in the Senate is turning up the pressure on Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to be more transparent about his involvement in selecting a replacement for President-elect Barack Obama’s empty Senate seat.
The process for replacing Obama took an unexpected turn when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald revealed that Fitzgerald’s longstanding investigation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich included an alleged plan to award an appointment to Obama’s seat to someone willing to reward Blagojevich with political favors in return.
Against the wishes of Sen. Reid and the rest of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Blagojevich recently named Roland Burris to fill the seat. Senate Democrats refused Tuesday to seat Burris even though the Blagojevich pick traveled to Washington in an effort to be sworn in with the rest of the 111th Congress.
In a recent interview, Reid said he had one conversation with Blagojevich about replacing Obama but denied a Chicago Sun-Times report that he told Blagojevich not to appoint any of three prominent African-American politicians in Illinois out of concern that any of the three would not be able to win re-election to the Senate in 2010.
In the interview, Reid stopped just short of saying the scandal-ridden governor or those close to him were lying about the conversation concerning Obama’s seat. The Nevada Democrat stuck with his version of the conversation even when reminded by NBC’s David Gregory that the phone call might have been recorded as part of wiretapping of Blagojevich being conducted during Fitzgerald’s investigation.
Citing media reports about the Reid-Blagojevich conversation, Sen. John Cornyn called Tuesday for the release of any tape of the phone call, if such a recording exists.
“While I agree that this selection process has been tainted and Mr. Burris should not be seated, I would expect Senator Reid would also agree that more light needs to be shined on this selection process,” Cornyn said in a press release issued Tuesday. “Voters in Illinois deserve to know all of the details behind the deal-making to choose their next Senator,” the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee added.
Read the entire Cornyn press release after the jump.
(CNN) –- Talk about a power lunch. President Bush, President-elect Barack Obama and three living former presidents will meet in the Oval Office for a private gathering on Wednesday afternoon.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton will join Obama and Bush at the White House for lunch. Obama initially came up with the idea that all of the men get together after meeting with President Bush last month.
White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said the current and former leaders will gather for a photo op in the Rose Garden, but that their conversation and meal will be private. She said she doesn’t know what they will talk about, but she said she’d love to be able to hear it.
“I'm sure all of us would love to be flies on the wall and listening to that conversation,” Perino said during Tuesday’s daily press briefing. “These are leaders who only understand what it's like to be in each others shoes and none of us can put ourselves in those shoes.”
Perino speculated that they will discuss what it’s like to raise children in the White House and how to protect them. She praised the Obamas for doing a good job with that so far and said they got their daughters to their first day of school on Monday “in good fashion.”
Perino said the last time all of the living presidents got together was in 1981, and called Wednesday’s meeting a “historic moment.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The disputes over the Illinois and Minnesota Senate seats are stealing the spotlight, but there was other notable moments on Capitol Hill during today's swearing in of the 111th Congress.
The most interesting picture of the day was Dick Cheney swearing in the man that will soon replace him as vice president, Joe Biden. As sitting vice president, Cheney presides over the Senate - and Biden is not only vice president-elect, but the newly re-elected senior senator from Delaware. He'll give that position up come January 20, when he takes the vice presidential oath of office.
Two other senators who get sworn in today will most likely soon be stepping down as well. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as his secretary of state. And Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado has been nominated by Obama to serve as secretary of the interior. Both will resign their seats if confirmed to their new positions, as expected, by the Senate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle returned “home” Tuesday to the Senate floor and stood alongside a bitter adversary to watch his longtime friend and South Dakota colleague Tim Johnson be sworn-in for a third term.
Sen. Johnson, who suffered a devastating stroke, was flanked by Daschle and Republican Sen. John Thune, who defeated the Democratic leader by a razor thin 51% to 49 % margin in what can be accurately described as a bitter contest. Daschle was first elected to Congress as a House member in 1978 and successfully ran for the Senate in 1986.
But time seems to have paved over the bitterness. As Thune and Daschle departed the Senate floor, the two former adversaries shook hands and patted each other on the back.
Daschle returns to Capitol Hill on Thursday for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services.
(CNN) - From horse-drawn carriages to bullet proof sedans – presidential transportation has surely changed since William McKinley took the oath of office at the turn of the century. But Barack Obama’s takes it to a whole new level, as his ride may be the most secure, heavily-fortified vehicle in the world. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Jeanne Meserve takes a look at “The Beast.”
The President-elect wants to spend big to jump-start the economy. His 775 billion dollar stimulus plan involves major tax cuts to individuals and families which can explode the budget deficit and add to a staggering national debt. So, what will the President-elect do when the economy is back on track? CNN’s Christine Romans looks at the ramifications of Obama’s big plan.
Plus: Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is Obama’s choice to take over a key intelligence position - director of the CIA. The appointment surprised those in Washington and prominent Democrats are raising questions on the President-elect’s pick. CNN’s Kate Bolduan tells us why.
Finally: The Obamas just moved to Washington, D.C. and even the soon-to-be first family needs to know the city’s hot-spots. CNN’s Jim Acosta helps the Obamas get to know their new neighborhood.
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(CNN) - Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the new vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Tuesday President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat should not viewed as 'the black seat.'
“Mr. Burris will be seated or won’t be seated on the basis of what happens in a court. I don’t think it’s in the people of Illinois’ interests for us to color that seat," Cleaver told reporters on Capitol Hill. "That seat can’t be the black seat. If that happens we begin to lose the progress we made.”
Those comments appear at odds with views of Rep. Bobby Rush, who has implored Senate Democrats to seat Burris because there are currently no African-American members of the Senate, and called the currently all-white chamber the "the last bastion of plantation politics."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Now that Roland Burris has been turned away from the Senate, where will he hang his hat?
Since Burris has not been sworn in as a senator, he doesn’t have an office in the Russell, Dirksen or the Hart Senate Office Buildings that house the nation’s 100 senators and support staff.
But Burris will have a Capitol Hill view if he chooses.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has offered Burris space in the state’s Washington office, which rests at the foot of Capitol Hill.
“The way we look at it is that Roland Burris is the junior senator from Illinois,” Clayton Harris, the governor’s acting chief of staff, told CNN Tuesday. “So if necessary, if he needs office space, we have made it available as we would do for any Illinois senator or representative (in Washington) just as we would in the state of Illinois at any of our facilities.”
Harris said Burris is aware of the offer, but has not indicated if he would be working out of the Illinois state office.
Update: A Burris associate tells CNN that Burris rejected Blagojevich’s offer to use his office space.
- CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Select members of the Republican National Committee voted Tuesday not to hold a straw poll to determine which of the candidates for party chairman are conservative enough to run the organization.
Members of the RNC’s Conservative Steering Committee had originally planned to vote on which of the candidates for chairman were the most conservative, after holding a series of 30-minute interviews with each Republican hopeful.
But that plan was voted down by the roughly 50 committee members who participated the closed-door session, according to several people in the meeting. The steering committee will now conclude the day by holding a roundtable discussion about each of the candidates.
One member present for the vote said the motion to remove the straw poll was raised by supporters of former Maryland Lt. Gov Michael Steele.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin stood with Democratic leaders Tuesday denying fellow Illinois Democrat Roland Burris the right to take the Senate oath, but the state’s senior senator did extend an invitation for Burris to watch the swearing-in ceremony from the Senate gallery, a Durbin spokesman tells CNN.
Durbin and other Democratic leaders have said they do not personally oppose Burris, but rather believe his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is tainted because of the governor’s alleged ethical lapses including trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
The Durbin spokesman said the office is holding a pass to the gallery – the elevated seats that ring the inside of the Senate chamber – for Burris, should he accept the invitation. Durbin also invited Burris to attend a reception in his Capitol Hill office for his own swearing-in, the aide said.
Burris was turned away from the Senate this morning, and it is unclear if he plans to return at noon to watch the swearing-in. Burris attorney Timothy Wright told reporters that denying his client the right to take the oath “is against the law of this land and we will consider our options” which he said ranged from going to court to continuing negotiations with Senate leadership.