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Taxpayers Gave Romney $8.9M to Plan 'Transition'

New law provides candidates with resources whether they win or not

(Newser) - The federal government handed Mitt Romney's team millions of dollars to plan a presidential transition that never happened, Freedom of Information Act requests reveal. Romney was the first beneficiary of the Presidential Transition Act of 2010, which provides major party candidates with resources to plan their transitions mid-campaign, Time... More »

China Begins Once-a-Decade Leadership Change

Conference addresses corruption, slowed economic growth

(Newser) - China's Tiananmen Square has been emptied of its usual activists and crowds, red flowers and flags blanket the capital, and 1.4 million volunteers are on-hand to provide security as the country's leadership today begins a shift that occurs just once per decade, the BBC reports. President Hu... More »

Palestinian PM Steps Down to Pave Way for Power Share

Move aimed at easing Palestinian reconciliation

(Newser) - Palestine’s prime minister submitted his resignation today, a move that could help pave the way for an elusive power-sharing deal between Fatah moderates and Hamas militants. Salam Fayyad's decision was meant to build confidence before Palestinian reconciliation talks resume Tuesday in Cairo. He was appointed by Western-backed Palestinian President... More »

Obama Transition Not So Flawless After All

Blunders show new administration to be quite ordinary, blogger writes

(Newser) - News coverage has so far given the impression that Barack Obama’s transition is one of the smoothest, best-executed in history. But with a number of recent blunders grabbing headlines, the administration’s image is coming back down to earth, writes Ed Morrissey for Hot Air. “Most transitions feel... More »

Obama Approval Drops to 68%

(Newser) - President Obama's poll numbers are sinking back into the stratosphere now that he's in office, Politico reports. The first Gallup poll since his inauguration gives Obama a 68% approval rating, down from 83% a week ago. Just 12% of the most recent sample disapproved of Obama. JFK holds the record... More »

Transition Gives Peek at Obama Leadership Style

Prez-elect's process a combo of 'discipline' and 'curiosity'

(Newser) - Barack Obama’s transition into the presidency has provided a window onto how he’ll operate as president, writes Peter Baker in the New York Times. Despite major challenges ahead, he has been “a font of cool confidence” throughout. But he’s “hard to label”—while he’... More »

Rehabilitation of Bush Legacy Well Under Way

Need proof? See Obama's early moves, writes Krauthammer

(Newser) - Nixon aside, no president since Truman has left office as unpopular as George W. Bush, writes Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. But while it took decades for Truman's reputation to be restored, "Bush's rehabilitation will come sooner—in fact, it has already begun." The proof? Barack Obama... More »

Groups Go High-Tech in Push for Obama Jobs

Groups modernize process of sorting resumes

(Newser) - Special interest groups eager to cement plum spots in the Obama administration are using private websites and online databases to angle for positions, Politico reports. Instead of tossing their résumés onto the pile at, savvy applicants are casting their lots with these groups, which pore over... More »

Obama Transition Breaks Speed Records

But liberal activists, others feel left in dust

(Newser) - Barack Obama has moved so fast to set up his administration that he’s on a pace to blow past all previous presidents, reports the Wall Street Journal. By the eleventh week of their transitions, George HW Bush and Richard Nixon had made 26 and 25 appointments, respectively. As of... More »

Obama Names 4 Top Science Advisers

(Newser) - Barack Obama today selected a Harvard physicist and a marine biologist for key science posts, in a sign he plans a more aggressive response to global warming than did the Bush administration. John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco are leading experts on climate change who have advocated forceful government action. “... More »

It's Official: Solis, Kirk, LaHood Join Cabinet

(Newser) - Barack Obama announced his final Cabinet choices today, making official what insiders have hinted at for a week, the Washington Post reports. Hilda Solis will be the nominee for labor secretary, Ron Kirk for trade representative, and Republican Ray LaHood for transportation. Solis appears to be the lightning rod, as... More »

Obama Team Clogs Inboxes, Elicits Backlash

Mugs to donations, that David Plouffe emails incessantly

(Newser) - Barack Obama and his various Internet organs are hawking everything from civic engagement and disaster relief to coffee mugs and fleece scarves, causing fatigue among supporters, Politico reports. And while some are just tired of incessant emails from the likes of David Plouffe, watchers are concerned about how the president-elect... More »

More Deja Vu: Betty Currie on Obama Team

Bill Clinton's secretary is now answering phones for Podesta

(Newser) - Yet another link with the Clinton White House: Betty Currie, the secretary to Bill Clinton who became embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has rolled up her sleeves and is now manning the phones for John Podesta, the co-chairman of Obama’s transition team and former Clinton chief of staff,... More »

White House Preps Crisis Scenarios for Obama Team

Bush administration strives to stop transition period becoming a security weak spot

(Newser) - The White House has drawn up more than a dozen contingency plans to help Barack Obama if a crisis erupts early in his presidency, the New York Times reports. The briefings go way beyond what other administrations have prepared and deal with potential threats ranging from a North Korean nuclear... More »

Fast-Track New Stimulus: Pelosi

(Newser) - Congressional Democrats are looking to fast-track a $600 billion economic stimulus package in the first weeks of the New Year, the Washington Post reports. Nancy Pelosi said today lawmakers are working with the Obama transition team to craft the plan, which is smaller than the $1 trillion scheme floated earlier.... More »

Cabinet Devoid of Southerners

Some complain of 'geographical snubbing,' others say it's irrelevant

(Newser) - President-elect Obama has named most of his Cabinet picks—yet thus far, he hasn’t chosen any Southerners, Politico reports. Every president since at least JFK has named Southerners to his cabinet, and some southern Democrats aren’t happy about what they see as “geographical snubbing.” But others... More »

Spouses Put Obama's Lobbying Rules to Test

President-elect struggles with ethical promises

(Newser) - The spouses of some of Barack Obama’s top appointees are lobbyists, the New York Times reports, presenting a test to strict ethics policies the Democrat pushed on the campaign trail. Health Secretary-designate Tom Daschle’s wife, Linda, is one of Washington’s top aviation lobbyists, and reported energy-czar pick... More »

Obama Team's Stimulus 'Jolt' Nears $1T

(Newser) - Barack Obama’s economic advisers are devising a new stimulus package that could top $1 trillion over 2 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. Insiders say the $500 billion plan considered last month is too cautious given America’s mounting economic woes. "Every day there's a new bad number"... More »

Gates: Don't 'Test' Obama

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates assured the world today that there would be continuity between the administrations of George Bush and Barack Obama, and that anyone who thought otherwise “would be sorely mistaken,” the BBC reports. Gates, who will be staying on in the Obama Cabinet, told an audience... More »

Obama Outlines Ike-Style Public Works Push

May quickly provide infrastructure funding; states want $136B

(Newser) - President-elect Obama pledged today to approve billions in government expenditures on public works projects when he assumes office, the New York Times reports. Invoking Eisenhower’s Interstate program, Obama said “we will create millions of jobs,” possibly by funding some or all of $136 billion in infrastructure projects... More »

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