Thursday, November 27, 2008

Barack and Michelle Obama on Barbara Walters Special, ABC, November 26, 2008 (Video)

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

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Obama's Thanksgiving Radio Address (Video)


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obamas at St. Columbanus Food Bank in Chicago


This is what it is about. Giving back. It is tough out here, more families are needing help. Read below what Tom DeFrank from the NY Daily News filed. h/t SusanG

Exiting the podium after meeting the press, Obama was asked his plans for tomorrow and replied that he and Michelle are hosting "a whole bunch of people" at their home.

Five minutes after the press conference concluded, the President-elect left the Hilton at 10:08 a.m. and arrived at his home 11 minutes later. The motorcade departed again at 10:55 with Michelle and the girls in tow and arrived at 11:03 at Saint Columbanus Catholic Church, a South South parish that operates a food bank every Wednesday.

The Obamas were at the church and adjoining school for about an hour. They emerged into a small parking lot between the church and school where the food distribution operation had been set up in a U-shape.

They were all bundled up against the brisk, sunny weather; Michelle and her daughters were wearing toboggan caps; the President-elect had on a brown leather car coat, muffler, chinos and was bareheaded.

The First Family-to-be were positioned at the start of the food line; their job was to hand out white plastic bags filled with fresh chicken. Recipients then moved down the line to receive bags of potatoes, apples, loaves of bread and large boxes of staples including macaroni and cheese, tomato sauce, peanut butter, canned corn, oatmeal, Miracle Whip, mixed fruit and other items.

Obama called out: "We're ready, let's go, bring 'em on in," and the distribution began.

Clearly, those lining up for food hadn't been told they had an importangt guest helping out. this day. Many of them lit up; some shrieked with delight and hugged one or more of the Obamas. One elderly woman bowed; all seemed very appreciative. One and all were greeted with handshakes, hugs, and hearty "Happy Thanksgivings."

The daughters behaved like troopers for a half hour or so before the cold caught up with them, and they retired for a few minutes to warm up.

One sixty-something neighborhood resident named Daryel Namdan was asked how it felt to have Obama there. "It makes me feel very special," he said, before choking up.

Father Matt Eyerman of Saint Columbanus said the church feeds 450 to 500 every week. They start lining up at 5 a.m. to make sure they get a ticket to assure them food.

An Obama aide said the family has been to this particular food bank before and has pitched in here or elsewhere at least two other years.

After about 40 minutes on the line, Obama decided to go say hello to about 200 students.

After shaking hands with the food bank volunteers, he came over to the pool and had this to say:

"The number of people who are getting food this year is up 33%. It gives a sense times are tough - and I think that on Thanksgiving it's importat for us tpo remember there's a need for support.

"These folks were already oftentimes having a tough time, and it gets tougher now." He encouraged all Americans of means to help out however they could. "This is part of what Thanksgiving should be all about," he said.

Asked why he'd brought his daughters along, he replied: "I want them to learn the importance of how fortunate they are and to make sure they're giving back."

Then the family walked into the basement auditorium of the school, where about 200 kids from several grades were seated on the floor. When the Obamas walked onto the stage just befofe noon, the kids went nuts, leaping to their feet and cheering. "How's everybody doing?" he asked, coming down off the stage to mingle and inquire about their Thanksgiving plans.

He inquired about their collective menus, starting with turkey. "How about macaroni and cheese? How about green beans? How about sweet potato pie? How about cranberry sauce?" With each question, his audience erupted in more cheers.

He warmed the hearts of the teachers by delivering an earnest little homily/pep talk about working hard and paying attention. If they diligently pursued their reading and math et al, "There's nothing you can't do. You guys might end being the President some day." Still more cheers.

He took two questions from his entranced charges. A sixth-grader asked what it was like to be POTUS.

"I'm not the President yet. ..Once I'm sworn in I'll let you know."

The second question had to do with his new life. He began by talking about his Secret Service detail. Michelle interjected: "Secret Service, raise your hand." None did. The kids loved the moment more than the squirming, ever-anonymous agents.

In his new life "you don't have a lot of privacy," he told them, mentioning that going to Walgreen's and riding a bicycle are now far more involved than before.

He wished them all a Happy Thanksgiving, shook more hands, and was rolling north at 12:07 p.m. The family arrived home at 12:17 p.m.

Happily, a lid for the day has been declared. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tom DeFrank
New York Daily News

Barack with St. Columbanus Students

Yahoo News

Everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday, I will post tomorrow morning and will be back on Friday. As always, you can keep up with what is going on to your right or left.

Have a great holiday.


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Obama Press Conference, Announce Economic Recovery Advisory Board (Video)

Obama Announcement of Paul Volcker and Austan Goolsbee


Help Is On the Way for the Economy

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gates Remain as Defense Secretary

I don't know how I feel about this, yet.

I do know that since Donald Rumsfeld left, Robert Gates has brought some stability in this department.

This is the consensus that Obama made before the general election, that he will have a Republican in a key cabinet role. This is it.

President-elect Barack Obama will keep Defense Secretary Robert Gates in that job for at least a year, according to an official familiar the two men's discussions.
Obama is expected to announce the selection of Gates and other members of a national security brain trust next week. Gates has served as President George W. Bush's defense chief for two years.
Gates, a moderate with long-standing ties to Republican administrations and the Bush family, would fulfill an Obama pledge to include a Republican in his Cabinet.
Retaining Gates provides stability for a stretched military fighting two wars during the turbulent changeover in administrations. Gates once said it was inconceivable that he would stay on past the close of Bush's term on Jan. 20.

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Schumer Resigned as DSCC Chair, Menedez Takes Over

I give it to Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), he did a damn good job flipping the senate in 2006 and getting us close to 60 seats this cycle. The continuous building of Democratic Senators will be given to Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

After two election cycles in which the Democrats gained at least 13 seats in the Senate, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York is stepping down as chairman of the party’s campaign committee.

Mr. Schumer, the senior senator from New York, is expected to turn the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over to Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey — keeping control of the campaign operation close to Wall Street, party officials said.

In 2006, Mr. Schumer led the successful Democratic drive to win back control of the Senate from the Republicans. The Democrats picked up six seats that year, bringing them to a razor-thin 51 to 49 majority, thanks to two independents who organize with the Democrats.

And it is official, that Menendez will take over as Chair of DSCC.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today named U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2010 election cycle. Menendez will take over the DSCC from Senator Charles Schumer, who led the committee during the last two election cycles.

Senator Reid said: "As an aggressive, focused and committed Democrat and a widely respected Senator, Bob Menendez will be a superb leader of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Our Caucus will be well-served by Bob Menendez, whose mastery of policy is matched only by his mastery of politics. He was a leader in the House, rising to become the third-ranking Democrat there; has already established himself as a leader in the Senate; and will continue to lead us in protecting our incumbents and electing new Democrats in the future. I thank Sen. Schumer for his four years of leadership. Because of his efforts, Democrats have expanded our majority to its largest in 30 years. I am confident that Sen. Menendez will build upon this success."

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Citigroup Names NY Mets Stadium After Themselves While Begging For Bailout Money (Video)

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Obama Press Conference, Announcing Peter Orszag for OMB Director and Robert Nabors as Deputy Director of OMB (Video)


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Obama Transition Team, Behind the Scenes (Video)

Take it for what it is worth.

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Peter Orszag, Officially Nominated for OMB Director

It is official from the Obama's Press Conference.

Good morning.

I speak to you today, mindful that we meet at a moment of great challenge for America, as our credit markets are stressed, and our families are struggling. But as difficult as these times are, I’m confident that we will rise to meet this challenge – if we’re willing to band together and recognize that Wall Street cannot thrive so long as Main Street is struggling; if we’re willing to summon a new spirit of ingenuity and determination; and if Americans of great intellect, broad experience, and good character are willing to serve in government at this hour of need.

Yesterday, I announced four such Americans to help lead the economic team that will advise me as we seek to climb out of this crisis. Today, Vice President-elect Biden and I are pleased to announce two other key members of our team – Peter Orszag as Director and Robert Nabors as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Before I explain why I selected these outstanding public servants, let me just say a word about the work I am asking them to undertake. As I said yesterday, the economic crisis we face demands that we invest immediately in a series of measures that will help save or create two and a half million jobs and put tax cuts in the pockets of the hard-pressed middle class. Many of those new jobs will come in areas such as energy independence, technology, and health care modernization that will strengthen our economy for the future.

But if we’re going to make the investments we need, we must also be willing to shed the spending we don’t. In these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It is an imperative. We cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of a politician, lobbyist, or interest group. We simply cannot afford it.

This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges. We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way.

Let me give you one example of what I’m talking about. There’s a report today that from 2003 to 2006, millionaire farmers received $49 million in crop subsidies even though they were earning more than the $2.5 million cutoff for such subsidies. If this is true, it is a prime example of the kind of waste I intend to end as President.

And we will also focus on one of the biggest, long-run challenges that our budget faces – namely, the rising cost of health care in both the public and private sectors. This is not just a challenge but also an opportunity to improve the health care that Americans rely on and to bring down the costs that taxpayers, businesses, and families have to pay.

That is what the OMB will do in my administration – it will not only help design a budget and manage its implementation, it will also help make sure that our government – your government – is more efficient and more effective at serving the American people.

There is no better person to help lead this effort as Director of the OMB than my friend Peter Orszag. Peter has been one of our nation’s leading voices on budgetary issues. It is said that a nation’s budget reflects its priorities. I believe that is true. And I know that Peter will bring to his work at the OMB a set of priorities that I – and the American people – share.

Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions in our understanding of all the major economic challenges we are now confronting – from reducing medical costs to saving Social Security to fighting global climate change to helping put the dream of a college degree within reach for more students.

As Director of the Congressional Budget Office, he reenergized and reinvigorated the agency, while shifting its focus to confront the health care crisis that is not only a cause of so much suffering for so many families, but a rapidly growing portion of our budget and a drag on our entire economy.

But it is not simply Peter’s past career that makes him qualified for his new appointment, it is his vision for the future. He believes, as I do, that even as we take steps to restore discipline to our budget, we must also take the steps right now that are necessary to solve our immediate crisis.

Peter doesn’t need a map to tell him where the bodies are buried in the federal budget. He knows what works and what doesn’t, what is worthy of our precious tax dollars and what is not. Just because a program, a special interest tax break or corporate subsidy is tucked into this year’s budget, does not mean it should survive the next. The old ways of Washington simply can’t meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

And no one is more able or more qualified to assist Peter in this work as Deputy Director of the OMB than Robert Nabors. Rob will bring to this post experience in the executive branch, at the OMB, where he helped the Clinton administration achieve balanced budgets, as well as in the legislative branch, where he led the appropriations committee staff as a driving force for a responsible budget. Together with Peter, Rob will help steer our budget through Congress so that I can sign it into law.

Now, let me be clear: these appointments and the appointments I announced yesterday are not the sum of my economic team. These appointees will work with those I have yet to announce – including the secretaries of Energy and Labor, Commerce and Health and Human Services and others in my administration – to design a recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street, and to put our economy on a path to long-term growth and prosperity.

Because at this moment, we must not only restore confidence in our markets. We must also restore the confidence of middle class families that their government is on their side – that it’s working for them – on their behalf – to meet their families’ needs. And that is exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States of America. Thank you.

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Obama Inauguration Expecting Upwards of 5 Million

I did something yesterday, because I was curious about the rumors. I tried to reserve a room in the D.C. area (I already have one reserved, fyi). Guess what? The nearest state that had openings was West Virginia. This means, if you have the cash many D.C. area folks are renting out rooms in their homes or their home. Again, make sure you have the cash.

Knox said she didn't expect tickets, rooms or flights to Obama's inauguration would become quite as coveted or pricey as they have. January hotel rooms in the D.C. area are either booked or going for upward of $1,000 a night. Residents in the Maryland and Virginia area are renting rooms in their homes for as much as $5,000.

A seven-bedroom "gated home with chauffeured transportation" has been posted on the D.C.-area site for $25,000.

D.C. residents renting don't care!!! Obviously, the D.C. area folks are having no issue renting rooms or their homes for a shocking sticker price, per night.
Miles is not alone. Scores of D.C. area homes are being rented, including a two-bedroom apartment in one Landover complex, with a view of, not Capitol Hill, but FedExField. The apartment normally rents for $1,275 a month, but during the inauguration week, it's going for $7,000.

Meanwhile, some locals can't believe the price some of their neighbors are putting on their homes. "Whoa!!!," said Landover resident Earl Days. "That is out of this world, $7,000?!"

"And people don't have food here to eat!," added New Carrollton resident Thurman Arrington.

The advertisement for the Landover apartment claims it's just a 15-minute drive from the district. Some fear deals like this take advantage of out-of-town visitors. "With all these people coming here from out of town, want to have a place to stay, if they can get away with it, then that's exactly what's happening," said Days.

"It's ridiculous, that's a lot of money," added Arrington.

The going rate for a one-bedroom residence starts around $375. Entire houses are being advertised for up to $25,000 for inauguration week.

Luckily, a friend booked his rooms in the summer for the Hilton and it was at 275.00 a night. While that is expensive for many, it it PENNIES for the asking price now.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Telecast with Al Gore (Video)

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College Students Having a Hard Time Securing Loans by CNN's Campbell Brown (Video)

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Michelle Obama as First Lady (Video)

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Obama Evening Wrap Up. The Economic Roll Out.

Obama and his Economic Team

President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their economic team today, naming Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council. Obama and Biden also named Christina Romer Chair of the Council of Economic advisors, and named Melody Barnes and Heather Higginbottom to serve as Director and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.


Economic Rollout

There is no question or doubt about what is the key most important issue at hand in this country, the economy.

Obama is getting high marks for his handling of his transition team.
Approval of Obama's handling of the transition is slightly better than Bill Clinton's 62 percent in mid-November 1992. Clinton improved from there, to 72 percent in mid-December and 81 percent just before his inauguration in mid-January 1993. George W. Bush's grade late in his transition also was high, albeit not as high as Clinton's – 72 percent in mid-January 2001.

Financial firms are lined up with hands out. Like Citibank?
Although investors sensed late last week that a rescue of Citigroup was forthcoming, investors nonetheless were heartened, even emboldened, by the U.S. government's decision late Sunday to invest $20 billion in Citigroup and guarantee $306 billion in risky assets.

Here we go again. Another bank, financial giant who can not manage their business. Again, the American Public has no say on who gets what, what plan is involved, or anything. We will just be given the bill for another money giant who does not give any Americans breaks on anything. Sorry, but that is just how it is, and we all know it.

Watch: Government Rescues Citigroup

The Big 3 Automakers came to Capitol Hill last week unprepared. They each got an earful, but what I don't like coming out of this is the right winged talking points of Detroit workers making more than $70.00 an hour, when in fact the average median is around 25-28 bucks an hour. This is good money, but when you have a family of four, 28 bucks an hour is not a lot of money. The Big 3 Automakers need to control this narrative before it gets out of hand.

I am on the side of the workers here, the auto workers. It is not their fault that the Big 3 Automakers decided to continue to create gas guzzlers, stay in bed with the oil industry and refused to be futuristic and innovative. These workers should not be penalize with reduce wages and healthcare coverage.

The healthcare industry in this country must be as important as all these banks falling by the waistside. The monies in healthcare walks hand and foot with jobs, creation of jobs, saving of jobs, etc.

The next movement of President-Elect Obama must be the overhaul of the healthcare industry. There are too many folk walking around here uninsured, sick, with families and no coverage.

Finally, the economic mess is just that, a mess. This failed leadership under President George W. Bush, who will go down as one of the worst presidents ever, is a signal that this economic crunch will get worse before it gets better. To show how relevant Bush was or irrelevant, he had an impromptu meeting with the uncommunicative Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary. What Bush said was so unimportant that President-Elect Barack Obama's Press Conference interrupted him, completely.

Wow, see how badly the country just wants Bush to go away. We truly do.

See Obama's Press-Conference to introduce his Economic Team, here.


Obama Books Flying Off the Shelves


Joe Biden's Senate Replacement Named
Ted Kaufman, longtime aid to Senator Biden, will serve as Senator from Delaware until the 2010 elections as reported today by The Hill. He is not expected to run for the seat, but rather to serve as an interim office holder until Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden, returns from his tour of duty in Iraq.

So, Mr. Kaufman is keeping the seat warm for Beau Biden to run in 2010. Gotcha!!! And Beau Biden will be a great senator.


Obama Announcements or Rumors

Well, we got the Economic Team above.

Bill Richardson for Commerce Secretary.

White House Communication Staff

Dr. Susan Rice, rumored for UN Ambassador

Peter Orszag, Obama's Budget Director

Desiree Rogers, will serve as special assistant to the president and social secretary; and Melissa Winter will be Deputy Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama



Obama Girls head to Sidwell Friends

Obama gets high marks for Transition Team

White extremists lash out over election of first black president

Musical Chair Derby to Audition for Transition

Change is coming to FEMA

Bush pardons 14, commutes 2 prison sentences

Reparing the Big 3

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Obama Announces Economic Team, Press Conference (Video)

Obama's speech on introducing Economic Team

Members of the Economic Team

President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their economic team today, naming Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council. Obama and Biden also named Christina Romer Chair of the Council of Economic advisors, and named Melody Barnes and Heather Higginbottom to serve as Director and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.


Q&A from the press

Brian Williams/Chuck Todd, NBC

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bailing out Citigroup or Citibank or Citi, too

The bailout will never end.

These are the same greedy folks, who will turn their noses up to us in a hot minute, but need our tax payers money now.

Again, who is in charge of regulating this bailout money? It sure is easy to just give money the money away.

Citigroup executives presented a plan to federal officials on Friday evening after a weeklong plunge in the company’s share price threatened to engulf other big banks. In tense, around-the-clock negotiations that stretched through the weekend, it became clear that the crisis of confidence had to be defused now or the financial markets could plunge further.

Whether this latest rescue plan will help calm the markets is uncertain, given the stress in the financial system caused by losses at Citigroup and other banks. Each previous government effort initially seemed to reassure investors, leading to optimism that the banking system had steadied. But those hopes faded as the economic outlook worsened, raising worries that more bank loans were turning sour.

Yes, as I have been writing way back in the day, remember WAMU? I said, there were more to come, and Citibank is not the only bank who will be running to the Treasury Department with its hands out.
“It’s been one announcement after another that has had substance, but not enough teeth,” Charles R. Geisst, a financial historian and professor at Manhattan College. “By intervening, they are giving the market some heart to temporarily stave off some fear — but you can only push that so much.”

That is the major point.

This is just a temporary fix. Which means, the bleeding continues.

Read more, here.

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Obama Girls Headed to Sidwell Friends

Again, did anyone actually THINK it would have been a public school? Information on Sidwell Friends, here. Great read from Jack and Jill on Sidwell Friends, here.

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Obama Cabinet Taking Shape, Larry King Live (Video)

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Obama back on top of New York Times Best Seller List

Barack Obama is looking to push Oprah and her Book Club to the side. Both books penned by Obama are number one and two, respectively on the New York Times Best Seller List. The books are Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Also note, anything with "Obama" is currently flying off the book shelf.

Dreams from My Father are number 12 on Amazon, while The Audacity of Hope is number 9. Not too shabby for books that have remained on the charts for over two years. Also, Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is moving back up on the book charts. Due to the fact of Obama repeatedly stating this is the book that he has read and one that is constantly being talked about in the media as Obama puts his cabinet together, which is being called the "Team of Rivals."

Oh, the book "Michelle" is number 13.

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David Axelrod, Senior Adviser to President-Elect Obama on FOX with Chris Wallace (Video)


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This Week with George Stephanopolus, ABC, Round Table on the Auto Bailout (Video)

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Clinton for Secretary of State; Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary

More appointments, set in stone, per se.

President-elect Barack Obama has settled on nominees for two more cabinet positions, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton accepted an offer to become secretary of state, a source close to the transition team told NPR Friday.

Obama tapped New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for U.S. secretary of commerce, and New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner has been asked to serve as Treasury secretary, the transition team member said. continue

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Obama's Communication Staff

Obama-Biden Team are rolling out their communication staff.

If you don’t already know him, get used to seeing this man. His will be the face of the Obama White House.

Robert Gibbs was the communications director, and later a senior strategist, for the Obama campaign, and now President-elect Barack Obama has tapped him to be his administration’s press secretary.

Mr. Gibbs, along with David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, and David Plouffe, his campaign manager, formed the inner circle of the Obama campaign. The Times’s Jim Rutenberg recently noted that “In taking over the White House lectern, Mr. Gibbs will be a press secretary with the closest relationship to an incoming United States president in memory.”

Another name familiar to those on the Obama press list also has a permanent position, according to a transition team press release (not from him, though he is currently the communications director for the transition): Daniel H. Pfeiffer. He has been named the deputy director of communications in the new White House. In addition to having worked for the campaign, Mr. Pfeiffer is among the Senator Tom Daschle alumni populating the ranks of the Obama organization, having been his deputy campaign manager during the former majority leader’s unsuccessful reelection bid. continue press release

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Bill Richardson to become Commerce Secretary, Official

It is now official, since the rumors have been rampant last week.

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be commerce secretary, adding a prominent Hispanic and one-time Democratic rival to his expanding Cabinet.

Obama planned to announce the nomination after Thanksgiving, according to a Democratic official familiar with the discussions. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations and did so on condition of anonymity.

Richardson, 61, had a distinguished and visible career in Washington before returning to New Mexico, where he was elected governor in 2002. Richardson served as U.N. ambassador under President Bill Clinton and later as energy secretary. He was in the House from 1983 to 1997. continue

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Meet the Press, November 23, 2008 (Video/Transcript)


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President-Elect Obama's Radio Address, November 22, 2008


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