Blog Buzz: Barack Obama May Keep Robert Gates as Defense Secretary, Paul Volcker Will Chair Advisory Board, Bad News for Al Franken

How will the Gates decision affect the new administration? Does Franken still have a shot at winning?

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Our daily look at stories and topics that are lighting up the Internets:

Decoding the Robert Gates Decision

According to reports, Barack Obama will keep Robert Gates as defense secretary next year. Liberal bloggers approve of the "unprecedented" choice and say Gates is "exactly what Obama needs" right now. The only worry, which is shared by some Obama advisers, is that picking Gates "sends the message that Dems can't do Defense." Conservative bloggers say the selection of Gates represents Obama's endorsement of the surge in Iraq and signals that the Obama administration will continue Bush policies on "taxes, response to the current financial crisis, and national security." Conservatives also comment on Obama's plans for other members of his national security team.

Too Many Economists Spoil the...Economy?

The major Obama transition story of the day (the day wouldn't be complete without it) is the creation of a new board of economic advisers, the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, to be chaired by Paul Volcker. Megan McArdle worries Volcker's job will "shorten the lifespan of [the 81-year-old] national treasure," but other bloggers think the former Fed chairman will be the public face of the council and Austan Goolsbee, the staff director, will do the "heavy lifting." Clay Risen at the New Republic wonders if adding another advisory board puts too many cooks in the kitchen. Obama made the announcement at a news conference today, which a liberal blogger likes because "there is some good psychology to Obama trotting out every day to discuss the economy."

It Just Got Harder for Franken

Bad news for Al Franken: The Minnesota canvassing board has rejected his camp's request to have the board review rejected absentee ballots and possibly include them in the recount in the close U.S. Senate vote. Conservative bloggers say it's a "crippling blow" for the "desperate" campaign, and TPM says the decision "makes things a lot harder" for Franken. Hot Air likes the news but warns that "this isn't over yet." If Norm Coleman does win, it might be the "most remarkable GOP Senate triumph in Minnesota history," according to a nonpartisan blogger.