Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Wednesday, Dec 17

December 17, 2008

USA-POLITICS/DEMOCRATS

President-elect Barack Obama is almost done with his first chore.

Obama, who takes office on Jan. 20, holds a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday to announce he has picked former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to head the agriculture department and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as interior secretary.USA-POLITICS/

With those selections, Obama moves closer to filling the last of the Cabinet posts in his administration, with nominees for transportation, labor and U.S. Trade Representative still to be named. 

It is a rapid pace for the next president, who has moved faster than his recent predecessors in making Cabinet selections. He hoped to have most of them out of the way before he heads to Hawaii on vacation at the end of the week. 

Detroit’s Big Three automakers hope Bush administration officials move as fast, as they wait for word on a bailout that could keep them solvent. 

Senior Democratic lawmakers said on Monday they expected action from the Bush administration as early as Wednesday on financing that would likely take the stricken companies through early 2009. 

But the administration said on Tuesday a decision was not imminent. The Senate failed last week to approve a $14 billion bailout package for Detroit, leaving the Bush administration as the only option for immediate help.USA/

The network morning news shows were filled with talk about the cold and wintry weather hitting large stretches of the country and the resolution in Florida of one of Americas’s best-known unsolved crimes –  the kidnap and killing 27 years ago of Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of John Walsh, who led a movement to protect children from predators and became a leading voice for missing children.  Florida police announced the killer was Ottis Toole, a longtime suspect who died in prison in 1996.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

REUTERS/Kimberly White (former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack)

REUTERS/Larry Downing (Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar)

REUTERS/Chip East (Snow in New York City)

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