[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.robinson.gi.jpg caption="Robinson became the U.S. Episcopal church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003."](CNN) - The first openly gay priest ordained by a major Christian denomination will deliver the invocation at the kickoff inauguration event Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial.
The Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire, has accepted an invitation issued by the Obama team prior to the announcement of the Rev. Rick Warren’s selection to deliver the invocation at the president-elect’s swearing-in, Politico reported Monday.
Robinson had been a critic of Warren’s role, calling his inclusion in the event “really, really unfortunate” because of the California minister's support for California's Prop. 8, which barred same-sex marriage.
“It's about this particular venue and the role that he has in praying for all of America, and I'm just not sure he'd pray to God the same way I would,” Robinson told Beliefnet last month.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.kerry.gi.jpg caption="Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."](CNN) - Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry expects a "fair and expeditious" hearing for the nomination of Hillary Clinton to secretary of state, a Kerry spokesman told CNN.
Frederick Jones, director of communications for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the financial information disclosed by Clinton and her husband has not highlighted any problems, though there are some areas where "additional clarification is needed."
Jones said he expected the committee's senators will have "plenty of questions" about the former president's international activities and the list of donors to his foundation.
The hearing is only expected to last one day, with the full Senate vote possible before President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration next week.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.arnold0112.gi.jpg caption="Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has some advice to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – While President-elect Barack Obama talks about reforming the federal government by bringing change to Washington, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking to the nation’s capital for advice on how to shake up Sacramento.
More specifically, the governor’s senior aides recently turned to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for input on how to enact political reforms and make the government run more efficiently, Schwarzenegger communications director Matt David tells CNN.
David said the discussion between Gingrich and Schwarzenegger chief of staff Susan Kennedy did not focus on the current deadlock over the California state budget, but rather the governor’s goal of creating a more efficient state government that could include “consolidating some agencies and getting rid of overtime and sick time abuse.”
“Since his first day in office, the governor has been looking at ways to reform the political system in Sacramento, to make it more accountable and to also make government more efficient to save taxpayer dollars,” he said.
David, who got to know Gingrich during his work at the conservative group Freedoms Watch, reached out to the former House speaker to ask for suggestions and ideas on the issue of reform.
With the Republican Party searching for a unifying theme, could political reform and smaller government be the GOP rallying cry in 2010? Lacking a natural national leader right now, will Schwarzenegger and/or Gingrich fill that role?
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/12/senate.republicans/art.voinovich.gi.jpg caption=" Sen. George Voinovich, a Republican from Ohio, will retire from the Senate when his term is up in 2010."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The 111th Congress has just barely begun as Senate Republicans brace for more grueling elections in 2010 which threaten to further weaken the party's influence in Congress.
The latest setback for the party came Monday, when Ohio Sen. George Voinovich - the 72 year-old two-term GOP senator - announced he will not seek reelection in 2010. That leaves Republicans with a highly vulnerable seat in a perennial swing state that has drifted Democratic in the last two elections.
Voinovich's decision sent Ohio Republicans and Democrats scrambling ahead of what will likely be a competitive primary on both sides, and virtually guarantees the GOP will have to spend significantly more money defending a seat that otherwise would likely have been a safe bet.
"Republicans are starting the cycle on the defensive once again, it's a familiar but uncomfortable position," said Nathan Gonzalez of the Rothenberg Political Report.
TOPICS: Barack Obama, George W, Bush, Inauguration. Economy, Race Relations, Congress, Deficit, Economy, Stimulus Package, Middle East, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/10/art.bush11.gi.jpg caption="President Bush will address the nation Thursday night."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush has requested time from the networks Thursday evening to deliver a roughly 15-minute farewell address from the East Room of the White House.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.dulles.gi.jpg caption="Dulles airport is planning for a surge in private plane traffic."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Cars, limos and buses aren't the only modes of transportation that will find parking at a premium on Inauguration Day.
Dulles International Airport said Monday it will temporarily close its newest runway to provide parking for an expected surge in private planes during the big event.
The 9,400-foot runway known to pilots as 1L/19R will be closed from January 16 to 23, said Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority. The airport is "guesstimating" that some 500 private aircraft will arrive at Dulles, and the runway will provide an overflow capacity for general aviation aircraft.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.beyonce.gi.jpg caption="Beyonce will be among the stars to appear at the inaugural kickoff event."](CNN) - The opening celebration of the presidential inauguration will feature a massive line-up of musical all-stars performing a free show in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Monday.
The event will feature performances by: "Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder," said the committee. "Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington."
The release confirmed that Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal bishop, will deliver the invocation, and that additional performances may be added.
The event will be televised by HBO on an open signal accessible to all U.S. viewers with access to cable, telcos or satellite television.
(CNN) - The Obama transition talking points for Sen. Hillary Clinton's Tuesday confirmation hearing as secretary of state say she will stress "a renewal of American leadership" and a "revitalization of diplomacy to promote our security interests and advance our values." She will be introduced tomorrow by New York's senior senator, Chuck Schumer.
Talking points as relayed by a transition official follow after the jump:
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/12/obama.online.friends/art.obama.kaine.gi.jpg caption="Will President-elect Obama turn over information about his millions-strong online supporter network to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the new head of the DNC?"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Has President-elect Barack Obama found the person to entrust with his predominantly online network of millions of supporters?
Obama's announcement of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to lead the Democratic National Committee suggests the president-elect has plans to reshape his party to resemble Obama's modern, grassroots-oriented presidential campaign.
"Now is the time ... to remake the Democratic Party to meet the challenges of the 21st century," Obama said recently. "And no one is better suited to help lead this effort than ... my good friend Gov. Tim Kaine."
During the campaign, the Obama operation garnered approximately 13 million e-mail addresses, a million sign-ups for the Obama camp's text-messaging service, 2 million participants in the campaign's proprietary social network on MyBarackObama.com, and 5 million supporters on more than 15 other social networking sites including Facebook, according to a report by Washingtonpost.com.
Contact information for Obama's supporters could be used to motivate them to come out and show their support for his policies or to encourage grassroots organizing.