The First Draft, Wednesday, Dec. 24

December 24, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s pecs were gone from the news Wednesday, replaced by Chicago shenanigans.
 BUSH/
Newspapers and television covered the Obama team’s report detailing its contacts with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
 
Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat Obama vacated after his November election victory.
 
The report cleared Obama and his aides of any misconduct. But it revealed for the first time that the president-elect sat for an interview last week with the U.S. prosecutor investigating Blagojevich. So did two of his aides.
 
President George W. Bush’s holiday pardons also made the newspapers.
 
Among those receiving pardons was Charlie Winters, who was imprisoned for 18 months breaking a weapons embargo against Israel by ferrying bombers to the new state in 1948, The New York Times reported.
 
Winters, an Irish protestant from Boston, is viewed as a hero in Israel. He died in 1984 at the age of 71.
 
Not on the pardons list: I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convicted of lying and obstructing justice during an investigation into who leaked the name of an undercover CIA operative.
 
Bush previously commuted Libby’s sentence.
 
Data out Wednesday showed new jobless claims jumped by 30,000 last week to a 26-year peak. Consumer spending posted a fifth monthly drop. Stock futures were little changed, pointing to a flat opening on Wall Street.
 
It’s Christmas Eve. Obama continued his holiday in Hawaii and Bush was at Camp David. Congress was in recess.
 
Not everyone was on holiday though. The folks at NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, were hard at work with their traditional Christmas Eve task – keeping an eye on Santa Claus.
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Bush leaving White House Tuesday to go to Camp David for holidays)

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