Tales from the Trail
WASHINGTON – 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.
It’s a busy old day on Capitol Hill.
President-elect Barack Obama’s picks to head the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Homeland Security and his nominees for attorney general and ambassador to the United Nations will be on Capitol Hill for their Senate nomination hearings.
Tuesday’s political news is all about pecs, abs and and a painful shoulder.
A photographer caught President-elect Barack Obama sunning in his swimsuit on a Hawaii beach.
The images drew an admiring “Fit for Office” headline from the New York Post as well as approving nods from the morning TV talk shows.
The painful shoulder belonged to President George W. Bush. It got an MRI scan and a cortisone shot at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Monday as Bush paid a visit to wounded soldiers.
Obama’s transition team is due to release a report detailing the contacts between his staff and the office of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The governor has been charged with trying to benefit personally by selling off the Senate seat that Obama vacated in November after winning the presidential election. Blagojevich has the power to appoint a replacement to finish Obama’s term.
ABC News said the report found that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, discussed the seat with the governor’s office but did not do or say anything wrong.
Obama’s staff finished the report last week but its release was held up at the request of the U.S. attorney investigating Blagojevich.
The president-elect also will attend a private memorial service Tuesday for his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died just before the election. Obama lived with his grandmother and grandfather in Hawaii throughout his teenage years.
Hillary Clinton has written off $13.1 million in loans to her failed campaign for president, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The New York Times also reported that the former first lady and New York senator, who was selected by Obama to serve as secretary of state, is moving to widen the role of the State Department.
She is seeking to build a more powerful State Department with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys to trouble spots and a larger role in dealing with global economic issues, the Times reported.
The U.S. economy shrank at an annual pace of 0.5 percent, new government figures showed Tuesday. Consumer spending shrank by 3.8 percent, the sharpest drop since 1980.
Stock futures were little changed, suggesting a relatively flat open on Wall Street.
For more Reuters political news, click here.
Looking for that perfect gift for the holidays?
Hillary Clinton’s mom, Dorothy Rodham, has a suggestion for you — a children’s book about her daughter. For a slightly-higher-than-retail price you can even get the book autographed by Clinton and help her pay down her campaign debt.
U.S. Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton won the swift and hearty support of one former globe-trotting U.S. president: her husband, Bill Clinton.
With the images of death and destruction in Mumbai last week fresh in everyone’s minds, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is set on Monday to name his national security team.
At a 10:40 EST (1540 GMT) news conference in Chicago, Obama is expected to name former rival Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state and nominate Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on in that role. In addition he is expected to name Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary, Eric Holder as attorney general and adviser Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations.
After a series of three straight news conferences last week focused on the ailing U.S. economy, Obama will switch gears today as he will likely face questions about India and Pakistan and his proposed policies toward the two nuclear-armed nations.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to India on Wednesday. She has been in contact with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in recent days to ease tensions between the states.