The First Draft

November 12, 2008

President Bush tends to ceremonial duties Wednesday while the White House ramps up preparations for the G20 summit this weekend. The G20, which groups industrialized and rapidly developing economies, will be discussing moves to tackle the global financial crisis.

The House Financial Services Committee is looking into the mortgage crisis. It has a hearing on whether banks and other lenders are doing enough help people in jeopardy of losing their houses by changing the terms of mortgages.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether a religious group must be allowed to put its monument in a city park near a similar Ten Commandments display.

The morning TV shows covered John McCain‘s appearance Tuesday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” the first television interview by the Republican presidential contender since he lost the election.

McCain joked that he was “sleeping like a baby … Sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry.”

He shrugged off criticism of his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, saying: “I’m so proud of her and very grateful that she agreed to run with me. She inspired people.”

Some shows also ran bits of CNN’s interview Tuesday with Bush aboard the retired aircraft carrier Intrepid, where he made a Veterans Day speech.

Bush declined to elaborate on his advice to President-elect Barack Obama during their Oval Office meeting Monday, but he did say the Illinois senator wanted to have a look at the rooms where his two daughters would be sleeping.

“Clearly this guy is going to bring a sense of family to the White House,” Bush said, adding, “I know his girls are on his mind and he wants to make sure that first and foremost he is a good dad. And I think that’s going to be an important part of his presidency.”

Obama also participated in Veterans Day ceremonies Tuesday, placing a wreath at a remembrance service in Chicago along with Illinois veterans affairs director Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee Iraq war veteran.

The two top U.S. intelligence officials — National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael Hayden — both expect to lose their posts early in the new administration, The Washington Post reported, citing unidentified senior intelligence officials.

Meanwhile, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal report on Democratic leaders in Congress preparing to move emergency legislation to aid Detroit’s imperiled auto industry when lawmakers return to Washington next week. That sets up a potential last battle between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Stock futures were off a bit Wednesday, pointing to a slightly lower opening for U.S. markets after a 2 percent slide Tuesday.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama hugs Duckworth after they placed a wreath at a veterans memorial in Chicago Nov. 11)

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