The First Draft, Tuesday, Dec. 23
Tuesday’s political news is all about pecs, abs and and a painful shoulder.
A photographer caught President-elect Barack Obama sunning in his swimsuit on a Hawaii beach.
The images drew an admiring “Fit for Office” headline from the New York Post as well as approving nods from the morning TV talk shows.
The painful shoulder belonged to President George W. Bush. It got an MRI scan and a cortisone shot at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Monday as Bush paid a visit to wounded soldiers.
Obama’s transition team is due to release a report detailing the contacts between his staff and the office of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The governor has been charged with trying to benefit personally by selling off the Senate seat that Obama vacated in November after winning the presidential election. Blagojevich has the power to appoint a replacement to finish Obama’s term.
ABC News said the report found that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, discussed the seat with the governor’s office but did not do or say anything wrong.
Obama’s staff finished the report last week but its release was held up at the request of the U.S. attorney investigating Blagojevich.
The president-elect also will attend a private memorial service Tuesday for his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died just before the election. Obama lived with his grandmother and grandfather in Hawaii throughout his teenage years.
Hillary Clinton has written off $13.1 million in loans to her failed campaign for president, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The New York Times also reported that the former first lady and New York senator, who was selected by Obama to serve as secretary of state, is moving to widen the role of the State Department.
She is seeking to build a more powerful State Department with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys to trouble spots and a larger role in dealing with global economic issues, the Times reported.
The U.S. economy shrank at an annual pace of 0.5 percent, new government figures showed Tuesday. Consumer spending shrank by 3.8 percent, the sharpest drop since 1980.
Stock futures were little changed, suggesting a relatively flat open on Wall Street.
For more Reuters political news, click here.
Photo credit: Reuters/Hugh Gentry (Obama meets with Marines at a base in Hawaii Monday); Reuters/Ho New (Bush shakes hands with Staff Sgt Kyle Stipp after presenting him with Purple Heart medals during visit to Walter Reed Monday)