Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Tuesday, Jan. 6

January 6, 2009

MALAYSIA

On a dark and drippy Washington morning, President-elect Barack Obama meets with his economic advisers to discuss the 2010 budget.

At the White House, President George W. Bush will create the biggest protected marine area on the planet, a trio of national monuments in the Pacific.

The new U.S. Congress convenes today, with clouds hanging over two Democrats: Roland Burris of Illinois and Al Franken of Minnesota.

Burris arrived in the Washington area Monday, vowing to take Obama’s vacant Senate seat. But because he was appointed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Senate Democrats have said they plan to keep Burris out, at least for now — though a compromise is possible. Blagojevich has been charged with having earlier tried to sell Obama’s seat.

USA-POLITICS/FRANKEN

Franken, a former stand-up comic and comedy writer, was declared the winner in a Senate contest against Republican Norm Coleman after a recount showed Franken with a 225-vote majority. Coleman has promised a court challenge of those results.

Morning TV news shows also focus on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and lousy weather in Washington and across the eastern half of the United States: rain, sleet and ice expected from Texas to New England. Washington being Washington — with the world’s worst reputation for weather wimpiness — some area schools are closed or opening late in anticipation.

Outside the Beltway, morning chat includes Oprah’s plans to reverse her 40-pound weight gain, further talk about the death of John Travolta’s son Jett in the Bahamas, and Patrick Swayze’s cancer struggle, complete with film clips of his starring role in the 1987 flick “Dirty Dancing.”

REUTERS/David Loh (Undersea scene in South China Sea)
REUTERS/Eric Miller (Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken)

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