Superb piece in The Journal today profiling the African-American power players who are set to rise to prominence with the Obama administration. At the top of the list are Valerie Jarrett, the Chicago real estate investor and Obama confidant, and John Rogers, of Ariel Capital Management, whose power is reflected by the fact that Obama spent yesterday working out of his office. The players, The Journal says, are “bound by an intricate social web that operates largely out of sight from whites: family connections, black law-school alumni organizations, black fraternities and sororities, as well as popular vacation spots for affluent African-Americans like Martha's Vineyard.” Eric Holder, who met Obama at a dinner party two years ago, is an odds-on-favorite to become attorney general.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
WASHINGTON – White House., the No. 2 Republican in the House, announced Thursday that he is stepping aside after Democrats expanded their congressional majorities and captured the
Blunt said he had long ago decided that if Republicans did not reclaim the majority in Tuesday's elections, he would step down from the difficult job of shepherding votes.
"Ten years of asking people to do some things they don't want to do is a long time," Blunt, 58, told reporters Thursday morning. "I can tell you more problems about more members of Congress than you'll ever want to hear, I can tell you more reasons not to do something than you'll ever want to hear."
Blunt's move avoids a difficult intraparty battle with protege Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican who's already campaigning for the job of Republican whip.
Blunt says it's time for a new generation of Republicans to assume leadership roles. Cantor is 45.
Meanwhile, conservative Indiana Rep. Mike Pence has been recruited by of Ohio to serve as chairman of the Republican conference, the No. 3 leadership post vacated by on election night.
Associated Press Writer Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.
by: Mike Allen, The Politico
President-elect Barack Obama is strongly considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a Cabinet post, Democratic officials told Politico.
Obama's transition planners are weighing several other celebrity-level political stars for Cabinet posts, including retired Gen. Colin L. Powell for secretary of defense or education, the officials said.READ POST HERE»
Popular Vote Totals
If you are looking for the popular vote totals for all candidates (including third parties), here is a link.
The NY Times has the exit poll data. Obama barely won among men (49% to 48%), but strongly among women (56% to 43%), overwhelmingly among blacks (95% to 5%), and convincingly among Latinos (66% to 31%) and Asians (62% to 35%). However, he lost among whites (43% to 55%) as Democrats normally do. He did progressively worse with age, winning the 18-29 year-olds 66% to 31% but losing seniors 52% to 46%. He swept every educational category as well as Catholics and Jews but lost Protestants 54% to 45%. He won people living in big cities, small cities, and suburbs, but lost in small towns and rural areas. One is tempted to say McCain won in traditional 19th century America (what Sarah Palin would call "real America"): older white Protestant men living in small towns. Obama won everywhere else. The Republican Party is going to have to think long and hard if it wants to hitch its wagon to this fading star while the Democrats are going after younger, multicultural, urban voters.
State of the Senate
As Yogi Berra so aptly put it: "It ain't over 'till it's over." Well, the battle for the Senate ain't over. The Oregonian now projects that state house speaker Jeff Merkley will defeat Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) in their Senate race. Merkley now leads by 4000 votes and most of the remaining votes are from heavily Democratic Multnomah County.
In Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) leads challenger Al Franken by 570 votes out of 2.5 million cast. There will be a recount, which could take weeks according to Minnesota secretary of state Mark Richie.
Alaska has another Senate race whose winner is in doubt. At present, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) holds a 4000-vote lead over Anchorage mayor Mark Begich. However, 4% of the precincts haven't reported yet and there are 70,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. A Stevens victory could have national implications, however, as Democrats will likely try to expel the convicted senator from the Senate if he wins and Republicans would be forced to make a difficult vote on the expulsion motion. If he is expelled, there will be a special election to fill the seat and many people expect Sarah Palin to run and win, giving her four years of national exposure before a possible 2012 run for the White House. Not all Republicans are happy at seeing someone with such high unfavorables and who was repeatedly mocked as a lightweight with expensive taste in designer clothing becoming the de facto party leader. Once you have acquired a bad public image, it is hard to shake it. Just ask President Quayle.
Finally, in Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) beat Jim Martin(D) in the Senate race there, but may not have gotten the requisite 50% of the vote, forcing a runoff there in December.
All in all, the Democrats still have some opportunities to raise their Senate totals to the 57-58 seat range, but getting a filibuster-proof 60 now seems out of the question unless Obama appoints to the cabinet one or more Republican senators from states with Democratic governors.
State of the House
It ain't over here yet either. While the Democrats failed to pick up their hoped for 30 seats, they did get more than 20 and will likely end up with 255-260 seats in the House. Nevertheless, a number of seats are undecided. One of them is the CA-04 open seat being vacated by John Doolittle, who is under investigation on various corruption charges. Currently Tom McClintock (R) is leading Charlie Brown (D) by 451 votes, but there are tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted in this R+11 district. In LA-04, there will be a runoff Dec. 6th between Paul Carmouche (D) and John Fleming (R). In MD-01, Democrat Frank Kratovil is ahead of Republican Andy Harris by 915 votes, but there are 25,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. in OH-15, Steve Stivers (R)is leading Mary Jo Kilroy (D) by 321 votes, so a recount is likely. In VA-05, challenger Tom Perrillo (D) has a 31-vote lead over incumbent Virgil Goode (R). A recount is assured there. Finally, in WA-08, incumbent Dave Reichert (R) has a 1900-vote lead over Internet darling Darcy Burner (D), but absentee ballots are still coming in and could change the result. Swing State Project has more.
The New York Times’ Peter Baker zeroes in on the major challenge facing Team Obama: how to balance “change” with the temptation to stock the White House with Clinton officials? So far, Bakers notes, Obama has tapped Clintonites John Podesta and Rahm Emanuel for key roles; he wants a Clinton veteran as National Security adviser. And yet Obama and the Clintons have had a tempestuous relationship, brought on, in part, by Obama’s reluctance to praise the glory days of the old administration. A Democrat tells The Times that the tension all but rules out Larry Summers returning to the Treasury Department. “You don’t want to have Clinton’s Treasury secretary,” the source says. “This can’t look like Clinton 3.”