Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Hillary Clinton

The Guardian is reporting that Hillary Clinton will accept Obama’s offer to be his secretary of state. The unsourced report is an outlier so far—other media outlets are reporting only that Obama’s transition team is sifting through donations to husband Bill Clinton’s foundation and presidential library—but according to The Guardian, “Democrats do not believe that the vetting is likely to be a problem.” Clinton would be the nation’s third female secretary of state, after Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.


Senator Kennedy returns to work.

by: J. Taylor Rushing, The Hill

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) returned to work in the Senate Monday after spending the past six months battling brain cancer back home.

A smiling, upbeat Kennedy made his second public appearance on Capitol Hill since he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was accompanied by his wife and two dogs, and attended a meeting in the same Russell Office Building room where two of his brothers declared their presidential candidacies. READ POST HERE»


Republicans Nervous about Ejecting Stevens from the Caucus

Senate Republicans are meeting to choose their leaders today and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is going to introduce a motion to eject convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) from the caucus and deny him a vote on the leadership positions. Other Republicans would prefer that the Stevens' problem just goes away by itself so they don't have to vote on it. (English translation: they are hoping he loses his reelection battle to Anchorage mayor Mark Begich). Unfortunately, the results of the election won't be known until tomorrow at the earliest, so the Republicans may be forced to decide whether they want to allow Stevens to vote today.

Democrats Nervous about Ejecting Lieberman from the Caucus

Republicans aren't the only ones facing an uncomfortable vote today. Senate Democrats are going to meet today to decide the face of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who caucuses with the Democrats (and holds committee positions as though he were a Democrat) but who supported John McCain's presidential run. Since the Democrats are within hailing distance of 60 seats, some of them want to keep Lieberman inside the tent and give him a slap on the wrist by taking away his subcommittee chairmanships but allowing him to remain chairman of the homeland security committee. Others want to strip him of his powerful chairmanship and the subpoena power that goes with it.


Despite trailing his opponent by slightly more than two hundred votes, Democratic challenger Al Franken stands a strong chance of passing Sen. Norm Coleman during the upcoming recount, according to at least one prominent political scientist.

Professor Michael C. Herron of Dartmouth College, has put together a new study of the voting patterns in Minnesota, in the process determining that the majority of voters who cast unrecorded ballots in the Senate race were likely Franken supporters.

"If someone put a gun to my head and said, 'You have to bet,' I would bet Franken," Herron said, when reached by phone. "It won't be a wipe-out. Two hundred votes is effectively tied. We just know that, in this case, Democrats tend to [screw up their ballots] more often [than Republicans]." In Minnesota, the "intent" of the voter is considered during recounts.

According to Herron's analysis, of the 2.9 million people who went to the polls in Minnesota, there were approximately 34,000 residual voters in the Senate race. In other words, there were 34,000 more ballots cast than total number of recorded votes for all the Senate candidates.

Why the difference? A good portion of voters, Herron concludes, voted in the presidential election but deliberately did not vote for a Senate candidate. These people won't matter when it comes to a recount.

There is, however, a portion of the 34,000 who intended to vote for one of the Senate candidates but messed up. Voters were supposed to fill in the circle next to the name of the candidate they supported. Some, however, marked X's. Others circled the name itself or crossed out the names of candidates they didn't like.

This group is key to determining the Minnesota Senate victor.