Tales from the Trail

The First Draft, Friday, Dec. 19

December 19, 2008

President George W. Bush threw a lifeline to the U.S. auto industry Friday.
USA-BUSH/The president announced a $17.4 billion government loan program for two ailing U.S. carmakers and gave them until March 31 to prove they can become viable.
“There’s too great a risk that bankruptcy now would lead to a disorderly liquidation of American auto companies,” Bush said in an address from the White House.
“My economic advisers believe that such a collapse would deal an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry.”
The U.S. stock markets opened higher on the news. Some of Bush’s fellow Republicans in Congress, who helped kill a recent bailout effort there, expressed frustration.
Rep. Tom Price of Georgia said it was “deeply disappointing that the administration has chosen to use taxpayer dollars to delay the inevitable need to fundamentally restructure these companies.”
The Bush announcement came as President-elect Barack Obama was getting ready for his fifth news conference in as many days.
The Democratic president-elect is expected to announce his picks for labor secretary, transportion secretary and U.S. trade representative at the 2:15 p.m. EST conference.
Retiring Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood, a Republican, is being tapped as the transportation secretary. Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, a partner at a Houston law firm, is the trade representative, and California Rep. Hilda Solis is the labor secretary choice.
Morning television focused on the severe weather across parts of the country and the death of Mark Felt, the former FBI official who was the mysterious “Deep Throat” source for Washington Post reporters during the Watergate investigation.
Felt, the No. 2 official at the FBI at the time, provided guidance to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they pieced together the scandal that ultimatedly prompted the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Felt, who was 95, kept his role in the story a secret for 30 years, finally making his part known in a 2005 Vanity Fair article written by his family lawyer. The New York Times called him “the most famous anonymous source in American history.”

California, Here She Comes

December 18, 2008

Don’t look for Condoleezza Rice to get all sentimental about waving goodbye to Washington after the Bush administration leaves office on Jan. 20.

Bush stirs political pot for possible Jeb Senate run

December 17, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Bush dynasty in Washington may not be over just yet.

BUSH NAVYEven as President George W. Bush is packing his bags to head to Texas after eight years in the White House, he is stirring up a little political curiosity about his “little” brother Jeb possibly running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida.

The First Draft: Wednesday, Dec 17

December 17, 2008


President-elect Barack Obama is almost done with his first chore.

Obama, who takes office on Jan. 20, holds a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday to announce he has picked former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to head the agriculture department and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as interior secretary.USA-POLITICS/

from Environment Forum:

Obama is just the facts on environment

December 16, 2008

Was that a dig at outgoing President George W. Bush? President-elect Barack Obama introduced his new environmental team and insisted his administration would focus on "the facts" as it put together policy.

The First Draft: Monday, Dec 15

December 15, 2008

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.

Bush looks forward to being a quiet sports spectator again

December 11, 2008

WASHINGTON – In between packing up to move back to Texas and trying to save the U.S. automotive industry, President George W. Bush squeezed in 40 minutes to talk extensively about one of his greatest loves — sports.

The double life of Robert Gates

December 11, 2008

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is leading a double life these days.
Maybe that’s not so tough for a former spymaster but it does make for some awkward moments.
As the only member of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet asked to stay on under Barack Obama, Gates has to juggle working for the current White House and preparing for the next administration with the president-elect’s transition team.
“There’s only one commander-in-chief at a time and so I’m not forgetting at all, for a second, who is the president until noon on Jan. 20,” the former CIA director stressed to reporters on board his plane as he flew to Afghanistan this week.
But Gates admitted his dual role did “create some occasional awkwardnesses.”
Sometimes, he recounted, he has to say: “I would love to come to this meeting at the White House but I actually have a meeting with the transition.”
Gates made clear he had never missed a meeting with Bush.
But he added: “Let’s just say that if I’m faced with a choice between attending a principals’ meeting on an issue that I think is not particularly hot and meeting with the transition folks, I’ll opt for the latter.”

Bushes buy a house in tony Dallas neighborhood

December 4, 2008

WASHINGTON – Moving day is less than seven weeks away for President George W. and Laura Bush and they have finally settled on a house in the upscale Dallas, Texas neighborhood of Preston Hollow.

The First Draft: Thursday, Nov. 4

December 4, 2008

They’re back, and this time they didn’t take the corporate jet. CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler will try again to wrangle billions of dollars in bailout money from Congress. This time, they drove from Detroit and they can explain they would do with the money. But they’ve also upped their request from $25 billion to $34 billion.
Testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee begins at 10 a.m.
The Labor Department will issue its weekly jobless claims report, and it’s not expected to be pretty. The numbers come out at 8:30 a.m. Futures markets point to a lower opening for U.S. stocks after drugmaker Merck offered a disappointing 2009 profit outlook.
Some of the government’s top financial officials speak today. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke talks about housing at 11:15, while Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair speaks at a consumer conference at 8:30 a.m.