Tales from the Trail

McCain says wishes he were taking oath, promises Obama support

mccain1WASHINGTON – Former Republican White House candidate John McCain said on Monday he wished he were taking the presidential oath of office but pledged his support to former rival Barack Obama instead.

McCain, speaking at a dinner in his honor on the eve of Obama’s swearing-in, reflected on his own career of military and public service when mentioning Tuesday’s inauguration.

“I would have preferred to have sworn again tomorrow the oath I first took more than 50 years ago,” he said.

“But it would be an act of stunning ingratitude were I to resent the decision of the American people or dismiss the privilege I still possess: the privilege of serving in some capacity the country that has been so good to me.”

McCain wished the president-elect well even as he said the two may continue to joust in the future.

Obama says Bush “a good guy”

BUSH/PHILADELPHIA – Barack Obama, who pilloried his soon-to-be predecessor’s policies during two years on the campaign trail, said Friday that George W. Bush is a good guy.

“If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy,” the Democratic president-elect said on CNN about the Republican president whom he replaces Tuesday.

“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”

Rice leaves Clinton welcome note, bids staff goodbye

condyWASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice bid a tearful goodbye to her staff on Friday and left behind a welcome note for Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is set to take over the top diplomatic job on Tuesday.

Hundreds of staff turned out at the State Department’s entrance in a farewell ceremony for Rice, who was teary-eyed as she thanked employees for their service and then posed for photographs before leaving the building.

Rice, who plans to write a book about diplomacy from her home in California as well as one about her parents, told reporters she had left a note for Clinton on her desk but declined to say what was in it.

The First Draft: Tuesday, Dec 16

USA-ECONOMY/

The futures of Detroit’s reeling Big Three automakers and Illinois’ disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich hovered in a sort of suspended animation on Tuesday, with both awaiting final word of their fates. 

The carmakers have hope. Blagojevich’s hopes may be running out.
 
Illinois lawmakers approved an inquiry on Monday into whether Blagojevich should be impeached on charges he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. The state’s attorney general has gone to court to have him removed.

But Blagojevich has denied doing anything wrong and shown no willingness to resign his $177,000-a-year post. 
AIRLINES UNITED

The First Draft: Monday, Dec 15

For Detroit’s struggling automakers, the wait continues.

There will be no word on the fate of the struggling industry’s financial bailout at least until President George W. Bush is safely home later on Monday after ducking shoes in Iraq and visiting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the White House says.
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Most analysts and observers are expecting White House action soon to help the carmakers after the Senate’s failure last week to approve a $14 billion bailout that could avert catastrophic failures and millions of job losses in a recession-wracked economy.

But White House spokesman Dana Perino said there was no timetable for a decision.