The First Draft, Friday, Nov. 21
George W. Bush heads to Peru this morning for his last scheduled trip abroad as U.S. president. Accompanied by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he will attend an Asia-Pacific summit in Lima, Peru, where he will seek support for global financial reforms.
The 21-nation APEC grouping accounts for nearly half the world’s trade. U.S. officials have rejected characterization of the visit as a swan song for a lame-duck president with record low approval ratings.
Back in a chilly Washington D.C., the country’s attorney general, Michael Mukasey, 67, was reported to be resting comfortably in hospital after collapsing while delivering a speech at a hotel in the capital.
Video showed Mukasey slurring his words about 15 minutes into his speech and then slumping forward onto the podium before members of his FBI security detail rushed to his side. The cause of his collapse has not been made public.
With Bush out of town and Congress not in session, the biggest news may come from fresh leaks on President-elect Barack Obama’s picks for the top jobs in his new administration.
The Washington Post said the leaks were challenging Obama’s famous ability to impose discipline and control over his presidential campaign. Obama plans to announce his foreign policy team after Thanksgiving on Nov. 27, according to a Democratic official.
The latest name doing the rounds is that of retired Gen. James Jones. Democratic party sources said he was the leading contender for the key post of White House national security adviser. Hillary Clinton remained on track to be named as secretary of state.
U.S. stock markets plunged to fresh lows on Thursday but Dow Jones futures were up on Friday, pointing to a rebound from the previous day’s losses.