[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/15/obama.flashpoints/art.situation.gi.jpg caption="The 5000-square foot Situation Room, renovated in 2007, is likely to be a busy place."]
(CNN) - After his inauguration, if President Barack Obama needs real-time intelligence on crises around the world, he is likely to do it in the Situation Room, the ultra-secure conference room in the White House. It's a place this new president may be seeing a lot of.
During the election campaign, Obama often talked about Iraq, a war he opposed, and his plan to withdraw troops within 16 months. He stressed the need to increase U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
He criticized Russia for moving its troops into Georgia. Ultimately, however, the campaign hinged on the economy. Substantive debate over the long list of international challenges facing the United States never happened.
As soon as he lowers his hand after taking the oath of office, this new president is responsible for steering the United States through the stormy waters of foreign policy dangers.
He must decide not only which issues to take on, but when to take them on. But, in this interconnected world, the U.S. president cannot dictate the timing of world events. Crises can hit at any time.
An effective president must be ready to act quickly while, at the same time, keeping his long-term focus on strategic priorities. And everywhere he looks, a raft of questions need answering. So, where does Obama start?
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/16/transition.wrap/art.obama.fri.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama says his plan will immediately help the economy recover."]
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama heads to Ohio on Friday as he tries to sell his economic stimulus package, a plan he says will immediately help jump-start the economy.
Obama will meet with workers at a factory in Bedford Heights, where he'll discuss the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan." Obama says the proposal will save or create up to 4 million jobs and invest in health care, energy and education, among other priorities.
The president-elect has yet to put a price tag on his recovery package, but observers have estimated it would be in the neighborhood of $800 billion.
While in Bedford Heights, Obama will sit down with CNN's John King for an exclusive interview.
The interview will air Friday at 6 p.m. on "The Situation Room," which begins at 4 p.m. ET.
King will ask Obama about issues he will face in the first days of his administration, including the economy and national security.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ted Kaufman today becomes the newest senator in Congress, but he's back on some old turf.
Kaufman will be sworn as Delaware's junior senator. Standing next to him will be the man he's replacing, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, who stepped down from his seat yesterday after serving 36 years in the Senate.
But Kaufman's no stranger to Capitol Hill. He served on Biden's staff for 21 years, 19 of those as the Delaware senator's chief of staff. Now, he's been chosen by the state's governor to fill Biden's seat for the next two years.
There will be a special election in November of next year to determine who will serve the remaining four years of Biden's term. Kaufman says he only plans to serve the next two years and doesn't expect to run for election in 2010. Political observers expect that Biden's oldest son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, will run for his father's old seat.
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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.
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