[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.getty.perino.gibbs.jpg caption=" Bush press secretary Dana Perino gave Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs a tour of the White House Briefing Room."](CNN) - While the former, current and future presidents met for lunch today at the White House, staffers for the outgoing and incoming administrations followed their lead: Bush chief of staff Josh Bolten had lunch with Rahm Emanuel, who will fill the same role in the Obama administration; White House counselor Ed Gillespie had lunch with Obama senior advisor David Axelrod; and Bush press secretary Dana Perino had lunch with Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, who will take her place behind the press room podium.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.getty.barbara.lee.jpg caption=" CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee told reporters the caucus will put out a statement informing the Senate of their decision to support Roland Burris."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Congressional Black Caucus just finished meeting and voted unanimously to support Roland Burris.
Rep Barbara Lee, D-California, CBC Chairwoman told reporters the caucus will put out a statement soon and inform the Senate of its decision.
President-elect Obama, President Bush, and the three living former presidents posed briefly for pictures before meeting privately at the White House Wednesday. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, President Bush and all of the surviving past presidents got together Wednesday for a historic meeting at the White House.
"One message that I have, and I think we all share, is that we want you to succeed. Whether we're Democrat or Republican, we care deeply about this country," Bush told Obama before lunch with the former presidents.
Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Obama thanked the president for hosting them and said he was grateful for the opportunity to get "advice, good counsel and fellowship" from the group.
Obama's press secretary said the presidents had a "very constructive conversation" and Obama appreciated "the spirit of bipartisanship they showed" in wishing him success.
"The president and the former presidents had helpful advice on managing the office, as well as thoughts on the critical issues facing the country right now. The president-elect is anxious to stay in touch with all of them in the coming years," Robert Gibbs said.
Presidential historian Doug Brinkley said it's "very smart politics for Obama to keep a channel open" with the former presidents.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/07/holder.confirmation/art.ericholder.gi.jpg caption="Eric Holder likely will face a grueling round of questions from Republicans during his confirmation hearings."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama's presidential transition, already disrupted by the sudden withdraw of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, may face another challenge in the confirmation hearings of his pick for attorney general.
While the Senate is expected to easily confirm the majority of the president-elect's Cabinet appointments, it increasingly appears that attorney general designate Eric Holder could face a grueling round of questions next week from Senate Republicans who are already emboldened by charges of "pay-to-play" politics against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and a federal investigation into Richardson, who Obama picked as his commerce secretary.
"Republicans are seeing enough different stories in the taints of possible corruption around Democratic politicians lately," said Alexander Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. "Where they can score some political points around this corruption issue, they will try to do it."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.getty.burris.reid.durbi.jpg caption="Gov. Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris despite objections by Senate Democrats."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Democrats have no choice but to change their tone because Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich “called our bluff” in appointing someone over their objections, a senior Democratic congressional source conceded Wednesday.
“We tried to send a political signal to Blagojevich that we would not seat someone he appointed. He called our bluff, in a reckless way,” said the Democratic source.
A second senior Democratic source said it had clearly become a “heightened situation” that needed to be dealt with and that Burris’ face to face meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin really helped to establish a “person to person dialogue.”
A third senior Democratic source simply demurred that Democrats changed their tone after they “looked more into the situation.”
It is also noteworthy that Reid and Durbin went out of their way, unsolicited, to note this matter was not about race, noting that Burris himself had told them that.
In terms of what to expect from this point, Democratic sources say the process they laid out today could take a month – including waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on the Burris request that it order Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White to sign Burris’ certificate of appointment, then getting Jesse White’s actual signature and then sending the matter to the Senate Rules Committee. The sources said it is entirely possible that before that is done, Blagojevich may no longer be in office, depending on what happens in the Illinois legislature impeachment proceedings, and that an acting governor might then be able to make an appointment. But one source said part of the problem Democrats are having is that the timing on both fronts is really unclear.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.clinton.gi.jpg caption="Clinton's confirmation hearing is set for next Tuesday."](CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing to be the next sectary of state is set for next Tuesday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry announced.
Kerry also said the committee will hold a hearing for Susan Rice - President-elect Obama's pick to be the ambassador to the UN — next Thursday.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/23/art.cepd.cnn.jpg caption="CNN=Politics Daily is The Best Political Podcast from The Best Political Team."]
(CNN) - CNN has been paging Dr. Gupta for years, but now it may the Obama administration who is calling. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Jason Carroll talks about our resident neurosurgeon as a possible pick for surgeon general.
And: It’s a power lunch like none other. President Bush hosts President-elect Barack Obama, and three former presidents - George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter - Wednesday at the White House. CNN’s Elaine Quijano has the story on what the former chief executives may discuss during their elite and historic meeting in the Oval Office.
Plus: Roland Burris insists he is, by law, the junior senator of Illinois, but the recently appointed former state attorney general was turned away from the Senate door Tuesday. CNN’s Jeanne Moos takes a look at Tuesday’s antics - the “Burris circus.”
Finally: Get ready for the “T” word. If Barack Obama’s stimulus plan passes in the Congress, it could approach the trillion dollar mark. That’s more than the government spent on some major events in our nation’s history, including the construction of the atomic bomb, the race to put a man on the moon, and the New Deal during the Great Depression. But if the stimulus plan doesn’t work, what is Obama’s ‘Plan B’? CNN’s Jim Acosta reports.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/06/burris/art.burris.gi.jpg caption="Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris makes his way to the Capitol on Tuesday."](CNN) - As Roland Burris gets set to press the Senate Democratic leadership to formally seat him in the chamber Wednesday, a new national poll shows the majority of Americans think the former Illinois attorney general should be blocked from serving.
According to a new USA/Today Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans think President-elect Barack Obama's successor should instead be decided by a special election, while 23 percent think the second Illinois senate seat should remain open until the charges surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are resolved.
Only 16 percent said Burris should currently be allowed to assume the seat.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.getty.bush.cowboy.hat.jpg caption="The President and First Lady will attend a welcome home event in Midland, Texas on Inauguration Day."](CNN) –- The White House said Wednesday President Bush will go directly to Midland, Texas after leaving Washington on Inauguration Day.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino said the President and First Lady Laura Bush will leave Andrews Air Force Base, and fly to Midland for a “welcome home event” in Centennial Plaza on the town square. They will fly on one of the jets he used as Air Force One during his presidency, though it will have a different designation that day.
Midland was the site of his send-off rally when he left for Washington before taking office in January 2001. The president lived in Midland as he was growing up, and it is the first lady’s hometown.
The President and Mrs. Bush will then fly to Waco, and go to their ranch in Crawford for the first night after leaving the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis is taking the reins of the Republican Main Street Partnership, an organization that preaches a centrist GOP political philosophy and is often at odds with social conservatives.
The former Virginia congressman faces a difficult task in helping to rebuild the GOP, which suffered devastating losses in the Senate and House in the 2008 elections. Davis even watched his own seat, situated in the Washington, DC suburbs of Northern Virginia, turn Democratic. Centrist Republicans also saw a prominent spokesman, Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays, lose his seat in November.
“The 2006 and 2008 election results make it clear that the Republican Party must - once again -– reach out to independent and centrist voters if we are to restore our Congressional majorities and return a Republican to the White House,” Davis said in a statement released by the Republican Main Street Partnership.