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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Democratic Chatter 12-11-2008

George Wenschhof Bio

President-elect Barack Obama calls for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to resign - He joins a chorus of others asking for his resignation after his recent arrest. The revelation he was attempting to sell his influence in selecting the replacement to the now vacant and former Obama U.S. Senate seat was indeed startling. Illlinois Senator Richard Durbin and Lt. Governor Pat Quinn have also called for Blagojevich to resign. Illinois state senate president Emil Jones will be proposing a bill in the legislature early next week to prohibit Blagojevich from picking the replacement and instead hold a special election. The special election is also supported by Obama. has more here.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is also working to get agreement from the Democratic caucus to send a letter to the Governor asking for him not to make an appointment and to resign. Also, reportedly in the letter is a statement the Senate would use their power and would not confirm any appointment made by him.

Illinois Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. also issued a statement saying he did not engage in any "pay to play" schemes. It appears Jackson is who was referred to as candidate #5 for the vacant Senate seat in documents provided by the prosecutors. Supposedly, a representative of candidate #5 offered $500,000 in contributions if their candidate received the appointment. Jackson said he had met with prosecutors and was fully cooperating in the investigation. has more here.


Announcement of Health and Human Services Secretary expected today - not a surprise as to who as former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has been rumored for some time. Obama is expected to make the announcement at 11:00 AM ET along with a statement on the nation's health care system.


More Obama appointments expected soon - it is being reported that Steven Chu will be named Energy Secretary. Evidently, he is one smart gentleman who already has one Nobel prize. Andrew Leonard of has a very good read on him here. Also expected to be named soon are Lisa Jackson for EPA administrator and Carol Browner as the one for the new position of Energy Czar. has more here.


Some rumblings begin on Eric Holder appointment for Attorney General - mostly some posturing occurring but nonetheless, a potential delay in the appointment. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) says Holder's involvement in the Marc Rich pardon by former president Bill Clinton is a serious matter and will require time to review. Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) had wanted hearings in early January so confirmation could be done shortly after Obama was sworn in on January 20. Specter said the earliest hearings could be held would be January 26. has more here. Interestingly, it was recently reported that MSNBC host of "Hardball" Chris Matthews was being recruited by Democratic leaders to run against Specter in the 2010 election.


Last night, the house passed a 14 billion bailout bill for the big three automakers - the vote was 237-170. The bill provides funds for GM, Ford and Chrysler and provides for a "car czar" to oversee the program. However, some Senate Republicans are threatening to derail approval of the bill when it comes to the Senate on Friday for a vote. has more here.


Newly discovered uncounted absentee ballots in undecided Senate race in Minnesota - you just can't make this stuff up. Last week the discussion was over 133 missing ballots from a precinct. Now, it seems some 171 to 1000 absentee ballots were never counted. The state required recount ended recently with Republican Norm Coleman holding less than a 200 vote lead over Democrat Al Franken. After a decision is made on the uncounted absentee ballots, the state board of elections meets on December 16 to decide on 6,655 disputed ballots has more here.


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