(CNN) - Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand's promotion to the United States Senate gives the Republicans an opportunity to score a campaign victory early this year.
Related: Paterson names Clinton successor
Gillibrand's House seat will remain open until New York State Governor David Paterson schedules a special election. That contest needs to take place 30-40 days from when Paterson issues a proclamation on a special election - but the timing of that announcement is up to the governor.
Paterson today named Gillibrand to fill New York's vacant Senate seat, which opened up after Hillary Clinton resigned to serve as Secretary of State.
Until today, Gillibrand represented New York's 20th congressional district, which stretches from Dutchess county, at the northern fringe of the New York City suburbs, all the way north to Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties in the northern part of the state and west to Green and Delaware counties in the northern Catskills region.
The district is conservative and was considered a safe Republican seat until Gillibrand knocked off then Republican Congressman John Sweeney in an ugly campaign battle in 2006. Gillibrand won that election by 6 points, and re-election to the seat by 24 points in 2008.
ALBANY, New York (CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson appointed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton's vacant U.S. Senate seat Friday.
Gillibrand, 42, was elected to her second term in the House of Representatives in November.
(CNN) - The Federal Election Commission announced Friday increased contribution limits for the 2009-2010 federal campaign cycle.
Donors may now contribute $2,400 to a federal candidate during the primaries and an additional $2,400 during the general election. In the 2007-2008 cycle which just ended, the contribution limit for the primaries and general election was $2,300 each.
The limit for individual donors making contributions to a national party committee, such as the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee, has also increased to $30,400, up from $28,500 in 2007-2008.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Barack Obama offered more detail on his plan to restore economic growth Friday, saying the economic stimulus program being debated in Congress is just one of at least three parts to his recovery plan.
In a meeting to discuss the stimulus proposal with Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic and Republican congressional leadership, Obama said America also needs an improved financial system stability program as well as financial market regulation reform.
"The recovery package that we're passing is only going to be one leg in, at least, a three-legged stool," said Obama. "We are also starting to put in place the kinds of reform elements – oversight, transparency, accountability – that's going to be required in order for the American people to have confidence in what we're doing."
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) - Seventeen people were killed Friday evening in two U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal region, said one government and two military officials.
They are the first such strikes since President Obama took office Tuesday.
Both hits were near the Afghan border, said local political official Nasim Dawar. The Pakistani military sources asked not to be named because they are not authorized to release such information.
The first strike, which killed 10 people, occurred about 5:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. ET) in a village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan, the officials said. Seven people died in the second hit at 7:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) near Wana, the major town in South Waziristan, 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Afghanistan, they said.
There has been no immediate response from U.S. officials.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama had harsh words Friday for companies that have engaged in lavish, frivolous spending while receiving taxpayer dollars from the $700 billion federal bailout package.
Watch: Obama on the economy
During a White House meeting with the joint congressional leadership, the president said he had seen reports "over the last couple of days about companies (receiving) taxpayer assistance (and) then going out and renovating bathrooms or offices or in other ways not managing those dollars appropriately."
Moving forward, the president said, it would be necessary to pass reforms ensuring the kind of "oversight, transparency, accountability that's going to be required in order for the American people to confidence in what we're doing."
Related video: 'We have to do this right,' GOP leader says
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Minority Leader John Boehner will deliver the first Republican radio address since President Bush left office earlier this week, the Ohio congressman's office tells CNN.
The three-minute speech, which will focus on economic recovery, will be made available to radio stations across the country and posted on YouTube.
Boehner delivered the final radio address of the Clinton administration before Bush took office in January 2001.
(CNN) - Rod Blagojevich's political career is likely over, but the embattled Illinois governor could have a future in the talk-radio business.
Bob Shromper, the program director of Chicago's WLS-AM, said Friday he's prepared to offer Blagojevich his own show on Sundays if the governor agrees to resign from office rather than be forcibly removed by the state Senate.
Shromper said he wants the governor to step down immediately, so to spare the state of further embarrassment.
Blagojevich's office isn't commenting on the offer.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - The three-judge panel charged with overseeing the trial brought forth by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has denied Democrat Al Franken's request to dismiss that trial.
The trial is set to begin Monday and will now proceed as scheduled. Lawyers from both campaigns will be present at a pre-trial hearing and summary judgment Friday, which will set the groundwork for the trial period.
(CNN) – Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is speaking out about efforts to oust him from office.
“This is politics,” Blagojevich reportedly told Chicago radio station WLS-AM 890. “This is about raising taxes. [Democratic Lt. Gov.] Pat Quinn has cut a deal with Democratic leaders . . . . It’s all about getting rid of me to raise taxes on people,” Blagojevich also reportedly said.
The embattled governor did not specifically address the charges against him but did apologize for using the profanity captured on federal wiretap recordings of his telephone conversations. “If I knew they were listening, I wouldn’t have used those words,” he reportedly said.
Blagojevich has been under a cloud since U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald revealed a federal corruption investigation into his actions - including an alleged plan to try to exchange an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama for political and other favors.
Despite the charges against him, Blagojevich named former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace Obama. Burris was eventually sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois after assuring Democratic leaders that he had not given Blagojevich anything in exchange for the appointment to Obama’s seat.
Blagojevich is currently set to go to trial in the Illinois state Senate after being impeached by the Illinois House.
WLS said Friday that it is prepared to offer Blagojevich his own show if he was willing to resign from office rather than standing for him impeachment trail.