January 12th, 2009
04:36 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama planning quick move to close Gitmo


CNN has learned that President-elect Obama plans to close the U.S. military prison located at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Getty Images/File)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama is planning to move as early as his first week in office to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay to try and show a dramatic break from the Bush administration's approach to the war on terror, according to two officials close to the transition.

One of the officials said it would be in keeping with Obama's campaign promise to shut down the prison through executive order, a move which was also pushed by last year's Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

"The President-elect has repeatedly said the legal framework at Gitmo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists," said one of the officials close to the transition, who was not authorized to speak publicly about private deliberations.


January 12th, 2009
04:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Democratic leadership: Senate to seat Burris

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.reid.gi.jpg caption="Reid said Burris will be seated."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois senior senator and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin said in a Monday statement that the Senate would accept the credentials of Roland Burris. Full statement follows:

“The Secretary of the Senate has determined that the new credentials presented today on behalf of Mr. Burris now satisfy Senate Rules and validate his appointment to the vacant Illinois Senate seat. In addition, as we requested, Mr. Burris has provided sworn testimony before the Illinois House Committee on Impeachment regarding the circumstances of his appointment.

“We have spoken to Mr. Burris to let him know that he is now the Senator-designate from Illinois and as such, will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a Senator-elect.

“Accordingly, barring objections from Senate Republicans, we expect Senator-designee Burris to be sworn in and formally seated later this week. We are working with him and the office of the Vice President to determine the date and time of the swearing-in.

“As we had outlined to Mr. Burris, a path needed to be followed that respects the rules of the Senate. We committed to Mr. Burris that once those requirements were satisfied, we would be able to proceed. We are pleased that everything is now in order, we congratulate Senator-designee Burris on his appointment and we look forward to working with him in the 111th Congress.”

Filed under: Roland Burris
January 12th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
14 years ago

Joe the Plumber: Ban media from war


Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, is in Israel. (Getty Images/Israeli GPO)

(CNN) – ‘Joe the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher told a group of journalists covering the conflict in Israel and Gaza that he didn’t think the media should be allowed to report on war.

“I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting,” Wurzelbacher said. “You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, ‘well, look at this atrocity,’ well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.”

Wurzelbacher arrived in Israel on Sunday to start a 10-day assignment for pjtv.com, a Web site run by the conservative media outlet Pajamas Media. The plumber-turned-foreign correspondent said he wanted to cover Israel’s side of the conflict, because he thought the media was slanting the story to make it look like “Israel’s being bad.”

In his first day as a reporter, Wurzelbacher described the hardships of daily life in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

“I’m sure they’re taking quick showers, I know I would,” Wurzelbacher said. “So you can’t plan your day, you can’t take a picnic.“


Filed under: Joe the plumber
January 12th, 2009
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Roughly 10 advisors helping Clinton prep for confirmation

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/21/clinton.debt/art.clintondebt.gi.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing is slated for tomorrow."](CNN) - The team helping Hillary Clinton prepare for her secretary of state confirmation hearing includes roughly 10 advisors, from deputy designates Jim Steinberg and Jack Lew, Wendy Sherman, and campaign policy aide Jake Sullivan to her Senate foreign policy staffer, Andrew Shapiro.

A senior advisor says Clinton's meetings with Senate Foreign Relations Committee members have gone well. Her confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
January 12th, 2009
02:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Rice, Clinton to meet for dinner

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/28/art.rice.gi.jpg caption="Clinton and Rice will meet for dinner on the eve of the New York senator's secretary of state confirmation hearing."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley will host a private dinner Monday night for their likely successors, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gen. James Jones, according to senior State Department officials.

Nobody else will be in attendance at the meeting.

Clinton and Rice have met a couple of times since Clinton was nominated by Obama for the position of secretary of state.

Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Hillary Clinton • James Jones
January 12th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Franken request to certify win denied

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.franken.gi.jpg caption="Franken's request to certify the election has been denied."]MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state, said Monday he would not sign off on any document certifying Al Franken as the winner of the state’s closely-contested Senate race until all lawsuits related to the recount had been resolved.

"Minnesota law is very clear on when a certificate of election can be issued,” he wrote in a Monday statement. “Neither the governor nor I may sign a certificate of election in the U.S. Senate race until all election contests have reached a final determination. Even if the governor issues a certificate of election prior to the conclusion of the contest phase, I will not sign it."

Attorneys with Al Franken's Senate campaign had sent a letter to Ritchie and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty Monday asking them to sign off on the official election certificate that names Franken winner.

(Updated with Pawlenty and Coleman camp responses after the jump)


Filed under: Al Franken
January 12th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Transition to Power: Obama meets with Mexico's Calderon


In keeping with tradition, President-elect Obama met Monday with Mexican President Felipe Calderon before being sworn in to the Oval Office next week. (Getty Images)

January 12th, 2009
01:43 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama rescue 101: Where it stands

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.obama12.gi.jpg caption="The president-elect's plan to revive the economy is taking shape. Here's what we know so far."] NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - As lawmakers head into the second week of debate over President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economic stimulus plan, new details continue to shed light on what promises to be a sprawling and complex piece of legislation in American history.

Though many details are still lacking, the aim of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is clear: rejuvenate the economy and create jobs by spending hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure, state budget relief, safety nets for the needy and tax cuts.

A recent analysis by Obama economic advisers Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein suggested that the proposed plan could save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs by the end of 2010.

Full story

January 12th, 2009
12:59 PM ET
14 years ago

A new session of Congress begins . . . on YouTube

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.pelosiythello0112.yt.jpg caption="Speaker Pelosi and other congressional leaders released a video this week announcing official hubs for online congressional video on YouTube."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama is not the Washington pol capable of a little tech savvy. In a sign of the increasing influence of the Internet on politics, Congress has officially established a presence on YouTube.

“Hello, YouTube,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, says in a nearly two-minute YouTube clip announcing the new online video bulkheads for the legislative branch of the federal government. Reid is joined in the announcement video by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky; and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“While we may not see eye to eye on everything, one thing we can agree on is the importance of utilizing technology to communicate with our constituents,” Pelosi says in the video.


Filed under: Congress
January 12th, 2009
11:07 AM ET
14 years ago

Sen. Voinovich announces retirement

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.voinovich.gi.jpg caption="Voinovich will announce his retirement later Monday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ohio Sen. George Voinovich announced Monday that he will not seek a third term in 2010.

"After the next two years, it will be time to give someone else the opportunity to serve our great state in the Senate, someone who can devote full time to organizing their campaign and raising the money necessary to win," he said in a written statement.

The 72-year-old senator and former Ohio governor has been contemplating retirement for some time, but made his decision this weekend in Florida, where he was joined by his wife, children and grandchildren, a source close to the senator told CNN.

Voinovich is the fourth Republican senator whose term will expire at the end of 2010 to announce his intention to retire. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, said late last week that we will retire, joining Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida and Sam Brownback of Kansas who had already announced they will leave Capitol Hill when their terms end at the close of the 111th Congress.

Republicans must defend 15 incumbents and four open seats next year. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, whose term expires in 2012, is seriously considering a 2010 gubernatorial bid and could also be vacating her seat.

Meanwhile, Democrats have to defend 15 incumbents and two seats for which special elections are expected to be held. In Delaware, a special election will be scheduled for Vice President-elect Joe Biden's seat and New York will hold one if Sen. Hillary Clinton is confirmed as the next secretary of state.

- CNN's Dana Bash, Ed Henry, and Mark Preston contributed to this report.

Voinovich's full remarks after the jump


Filed under: George Voinovich
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