[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/08/art.obamabb.gi.jpg caption="Obama is finding it difficult to give up his BlackBerry."](CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama told CNN Friday he thinks he may be able to “hang onto” his BlackBerry after all.
In an interview with CNN’s John King, he talked about the privacy issues that threaten his ability to maintain normal communications – and his optimism that, unlike his predecessor, he’s going to be able to keep using e-mail after he enters the Oval Office.
Catch the full interview this Sunday on the premiere of State of the Union at 9 am ET.
Then there’s the BlackBerry.
“You like these,” said CNN’s John King. “I was just with you before this, and you had a couple of them. And there are a lot of people who say, because this will end up in the presidential library, because you don't have privacy any more. Your life's about to change Tuesday noon. You have to give this up.”
“Yes,” conceded Obama.
“You going to do it?” asked King.
“I think we're going to be able to beat this back,” Obama responded. “....I think we're going to be able to hang onto one of these. Now, my working assumption, and this is not new, is that everything I write on e-mail could end up being on CNN. So I make sure that - to think before I press ‘send.’”
(CNN) - Incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement that President-elect Obama and US Airways Captain Chelsy Sullenberger had a five-minute phone call Friday:
"At 6:45 PM, President-elect Obama spoke with Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III, the pilot of US Airways flight 1549," wrote Gibbs.
"The President-elect told Capt. Sullenberger how proud everyone was for the heroic and graceful job he had done in landing the damaged aircraft yesterday.
"The President-elect also thanked his crew and the many people on the scene in New York for ensuring the safety of everyone on board the plane."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.dawson.cnn.jpg caption="SC GOP chairman Katon Dawson vowed to be Obama's 'worst nightmare.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite the climate of national goodwill surrounding Barack Obama as he prepares to take the oath of office, two of the candidates vying to lead the Republican National Committee unleashed harsh attacks against the president-elect on Friday.
Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, promised in a new a YouTube message to be Obama's "worst nightmare" and said it would be the party’s mission for the next four years to "expose" the Democrats for what they "want to do to this country."
"I can assure you that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will understand that Katon Dawson will become their worst nightmare," he says in the video. "We will expose them at every turn for what they are doing to the American public."
Dawson defended his tough talk as the duty of a party leader.
"Whether you're the chairman of the state party or the national committee, your job is to hold Democrats accountable in every way," he told CNN. "That doesn't mean you have to do it in a mean tone of voice or in a way that doesn't offer solutions."
Earlier in the day, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who has positioned himself as one of the most rigidly conservative contenders for the RNC's top job, published a column on Townhall.com accusing Obama's economic stimulus package of being a liberal "Trojan Horse" that has "serious flaws, some of which convey a partisan advantage."
Obama’s stimulus plan would create government jobs, Blackwell argued, and government workers tend to vote Democrat. He called it "political mischief."
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Defense attorney Edward Genson will not represent Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his Senate impeachment trial, the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of Illinois said.
No explanation or details were immediately available. Genson represented Blagojevich during impeachment proceedings in the Illinois state House. The House voted last week to impeach him. The Senate's trial is set to begin January 26.
The governor was arrested December 9 on federal corruption charges. Among other allegations, federal prosecutors said the governor tried to trade or sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich has denied any wrongdoing and said the House impeachment vote was politically motivated.
MINNEAPOLIS (CNN) - The three-judge panel set to preside over former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's post-election legal challenge has set January 26 as the start date for the trial, the court announced Friday.
The judges also set January 21 as the date they will hear arguments on Democrat Al Franken's motion to dismiss the legal contest.
Franken came out of the recount 225 votes ahead of Coleman, but Team Coleman maintains hundreds of voters were disenfranchised, and claims many votes may have been counted twice.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.king.obama.cnn.jpg caption="Obama sat down with CNN's John King Friday."](CNN) - After two years of traveling around the country criticizing President Bush, President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that he “always thought [Bush] was a good guy.”
“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country,” Obama said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s John King.
During the election season, Obama frequently campaigned against what he called Bush's "failed policies" and promised a “clean break” from the past eight years.
Asked if there was anything he wanted to take back, now that he has spent more time with the president, Obama praised Bush’s team for helping with a smooth transition and said part of what America is about is being able to have “disagreements politically and yet treat each other civilly.”
Obama also said he thought Bush made “the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.paterson.gi.jpg caption="Paterson said Friday he would pick Clinton’s Senate replacement next week."](CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson said Friday he is prepared to announce who will replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate immediately after the presidential inauguration.
In an interview on New York radio station WFAN, Paterson said he had planned on making the announcement this weekend, but later decided the timing would be better next week.
"We now know that Sen. Clinton is going to be the secretary of state. She sailed through her committee hearing," Paterson said "I would probably have done it this weekend, but I decided I didn't want to trample on Sen. Clinton's ability to come back and say farewell to her constituents, or the inauguration."
"Right after the inauguration, I expect to be getting to that," he added.
Paterson, who alone has the power to appoint someone to replace Clinton for two years, also dismissed recent polls showing more New Yorkers want state Attorney Gen. Andrew Cuomo for the post rather than Caroline Kenedy.
"The polls go up and down, it was somebody else a few weeks ago," he said. "I think that's more name recognition. There are some great candidates who have distinguished themselves who are not as well known."
Two recent polls both showed Kennedy has lost significant support among New Yorkers since she first expressed interest in the job.
But ultimately, Paterson said, his job is not to pick the candidate who’s most popular at the moment.
"It's the person who is going to be popular in 2010, when they run for re-election," the New York governor said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/21/art.kaine0821.gi.jpg caption="Kaine was tapped to lead the DNC earlier this month."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The incoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee said Friday he wants Barack Obama's army of campaign volunteers to help the new president move his economic stimulus package through Congress, one more sign that the new administration plans to harness their vast campaign network to pressure lawmakers on policy matters.
In a YouTube video e-mailed to DNC supporters on Friday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine answered questions from Democrats around the country, including one from an Indiana woman who asked Kaine how he plans to keep Obama supporters motivated post-election.
"President-elect Obama right from the start has to work with Congress to make sure we pass a stimulus package that will get the economy growing again," Kaine said in the video.
"We've got to get the American people to weigh in about the urgency of it and the importance of it," he added. "And that’s a way we can actually use the campaign volunteers to actually now make policy that’s right for the nation."
He also said campaign volunteers could be mobilized in more traditional ways, such as helping Democrats win governor’s races later this year in New Jersey and Virginia.
Kaine's remarks follow a Wednesday report in the Los Angeles Times that outlined a potential blueprint for the new president's political operation, in which the White House political office and the DNC would use existing campaign volunteers and newly hired staffers to organize grassroots pressure on elected officials.
An Obama transition official would not comment on that report.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/15/art.blitzer1.cnn.jpg caption="Blitzer: Tillman gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the famous aircraft."]
Watch Wolf Blitzer's interview with Air Force One pilot Col. Mark Tillman today in The Situation Room at 5 pm ET.
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Maryland (CNN) - Driving to this sprawling base just outside Washington, D.C. this week brought back lots of memories. Covering a president often means traveling with a president aboard this extraordinary aircraft, and as CNN's Senior White House Correspondent during the Clinton administration, I used to come here all the time to board Air Force One.
This week, I had a rare chance to catch up with Col. Mark Tillman, who's been flying the giant Boeing 747 since 1992, the final year of George H.W. Bush's presidency. He continued to fly for President Clinton’s full eight years, and became the chief pilot when President George W. Bush took office in 2001. Col. Tillman, who is now getting ready to retire, agreed to sit down with me and reflect on those years.
[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) - Barack Obama inherits the White House office in less than four days. What are the top issues on the president-elect’s agenda? In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, we’re counting down the top 5 challenges facing the Obama administration and our panel of experts is weighing in.
Also: Delivering his farewell address Thursday, President Bush admitted obvious setbacks during his administration, acknowledging there were things he “would have done differently” throughout his two terms in office. But will the president be remembered solely for his controversial decisions, or will history be kinder to his legacy? Former Bush speechwriter David Frum joins us to discuss the debate over the president’s tenure.
Finally: President-elect Barack Obama revealed in an interview Thursday he would make addressing entitlement spending a top priority in his administration. CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has the details on what Obama told the Washington Post about the “hard decisions” on Social Security and Medicare he’ll have to make in office.
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