First draft: commerce conundrum
How many people does President Barack Obama have to nominate before he finally gets a Commerce Secretary? He himself doesnt seem to know — he even suggested reaching back in time and tapping Abraham Lincoln for the job.
But for live candidates, so far it’s two and counting. One close ally (Bill Richardson), one Republican who seemed — initially — willing to work with the Democratic president (Judd Gregg). At least until yesterday when he changed his mind.
That left Obama, who was visiting the land of Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, on Thursday, to muse that the 16th president might be sitting somewhere “maybe wondering if someone might call him up and ask him to be commerce secretary.”
Failing that, who’s next? And when will Obama finally complete his cabinet?
These questions will be swirling around as the president waits for the Congress to pass a $789 billion economic stimulus package. Obama wants lawmakers to pass the bill before the end of the Presidents’ Day holiday so he can quickly sign it into law. The votes should be around noon in the House and in the early evening in the Senate.
The bill — a compromise between House and Senate versions — is expected to pass in both chambers. The big question is how many Republicans will vote for it? In the first round, no Republicans in the House voted for it while only three moderate Republican Senators voted to pass the stimulus package.
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon — here’s a warning from Khartoum, where Muslim clerics have urged Sudanese youngsters to boycott the romantic holiday, saying it’s a Western institution that could lead couples astray.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Gregg announces he’s withdrawing as Obama’s Commerce Secretary nominee)