While some Republicans criticized the move, most reviews of President-elect Barack Obama's decision to tap Rep. Rahm Emanuel's as his White House Chief of Staff were largely positive last night and this morning. Typical of the coverage of Emanuel's selection was the lead report on NBC Nightly News , which said the upcoming chief of staff "has Obama's ear, his confidence and may help temper Democrats from overreaching." Also in its lead story, the CBS Evening News described the Illinois congressman as an "aggressive, forceful, and sharp-tongued Washington insider" who "knows the White House well, having worked for Bill Clinton."
Even the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page says this morning, "For our part, we like the choice. Mr. Emanuel is likely to be a restraining influence on the wackier Members of Congress. ... Emanuel can help Mr. Obama understand when he needs to ignore the pleas of the left and govern from the center." The Washington Post, meanwhile, editorializes, "The choice of Mr. Emanuel is daring and somewhat risky, but it also gives Mr. Obama the benefit of a skilled and relentless operator who understands the inner workings of both the executive branch and Congress." Moreover, while "Emanuel is undoubtedly a partisan," he is one "with centrist instincts."
The AP reports "Emanuel combines political instincts, White House experience and a Chicago tough-guy attitude." The Chicago Tribune says Obama "is sending a no-nonsense message," while the New York Times calls Emanuel "a fierce and consummate navigator of the capital's political terrain."
Under the headline "Obama Sends Powerful Signal," The Politico calls Emanuel's appointment "the latest demonstration of a quality Obama showed repeatedly over the course of his campaign: He's willing to do what it takes to win. ... The selection of Emanuel...was a powerful signal of Obama's determination to be effective under the existing rules of the Washington game." The San Francisco Chronicle runs a similar assessment under the headline "Incoming Chief Of Staff Emanuel Is Bad Cop To Obama's 'Good Cop' Role," while McClatchy notes Emanuel's "intense, often profane and always partisan," style "has earned him the nickname 'Rahmbo.'" The Washington Post reports, "Emanuel's flair for the well-timed verbal hand grenade -- or epithet or insult or, in one case, an actual dead fish -- has grown legendary."
The Financial Times reports "Emanuel's selection sends an important signal that Mr Obama's is serious about working closely with a Democratic Capitol Hill." Fox News' Special Report noted Sen. Charles Schumer called Emanuel "the perfect choice," while Sen. Lindsay Graham, "a tireless advocate of John McCain, called Emanuel a, quote, 'wise choice. 'He can be a tough partisan,' Graham said, 'but also understands the need to work together.' According to Fox, "Interestingly, Emanuel's voting record in Congress makes him closer to the centrist part of the Democratic Party than the President he will work for."
The Washington Times says that in remarks yesterday, "Emanuel sought to extend an olive branch to the House Republicans, who he said 'serve with dignity, decency and a deep sense of patriotism.'" However, the Wall Street Journal says Emanuel's choice "drew fire Thursday from Republicans, and a few Democrats, who noted that a candidate elected on a call for change had turned to a veteran partisan pugilist for his first appointment." In its lead story, ABC World News noted "the appointment of the sharp-tongued veteran of the Clinton White House has already prompted criticism from some Republicans. House Republican leader John Boehner charged Emanuel, quote, 'is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil and govern from the center.'" Newsweek's Howard Fineman, appearing on MSNBC's Hardball, said of the Emanuel appointment, "The Republicans don't like it. They don't like it because Rahm can be tough. But the real reason the Republicans don't like it is because Rahm is incredibly effective."
The Los Angeles Times refers to Emanuel as "a tough political operative who helped create a solid Democratic majority in Congress," and now "is certain to be at the vanguard of Obama's ambitious policy agenda." The Hill and Washington Times run similar reports. The Financial Times reports, "In Mr Emanuel, Mr Obama has chosen a star in the Democratic Congress."
On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Candy Crowley described Emanuel as "temperamentally the polar opposite of the cool, deliberative President-elect. Emanuel is hard-charging, blunt, hyper-partisan." CNN's John King, on CNN's Larry King Live said the Emanuel pick is "making some people mad." Former Clinton administration aide Paul Begala called Emanuel "the perfect choice," but added that he "probably doesn't have a better friend in the world. We talk five, six times a day, seven days a week for...15 years now."
Chris Matthews, on MSNBC's Hardball, called Emanuel's pick "a sign that the Obama presidency will be crisp in its purpose and intense in its execution. ... It seems to me [Obama]'s made a statement -- 'If I want a leader from the other branch, I'll bring him to work for me. I'm going to run this show.'" Former California Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, also on MSNBC's Hardball, said, "I think he's chosen the right guy to execute...policy, and he's chosen the right guy to listen to. After all, Rahm is not only technically and operationally efficient, he's also substantively involved. You ask him about health care, he knows. You ask him about the financial world, he knows. He has opinions and he'll give them to you."
Morris: Clinton Was Afraid Of Emanuel Repeating an anecdote he told on Wednesday, Dick Morris said on Fox News' Hannity and Colmes (11/6) last night said that former President Bill Clinton "constantly cut Rahm out. He was afraid of him, because Rahm was always in business for Rahm. ... Obama is making a huge mistake in picking this guy because whenever he does something this guy doesn't like, he is going to read about it on the front page of the newspaper."
The New York Times, under the headline "Bleak Reports Keep Markets In Free Fall," reports "Despite stabilization in the credit markets and lower interest rates around the globe, the last two days were the worst in the American stock market since 1987." The Times adds "there were no clear catalysts that spurred the sell-off...beyond the regular drumbeat of poor earnings from the corporate sector and bleak data on the economy." The AP notes "major indexes have lost about 10 percent since Barack Obama was elected president -- a vote preceded by a steep rally." The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and USA Today run similar stories on the stock market's decline.
The Washington Post reports, "In hopes of calming panicky markets," President-elect Barack Obama "is scheduled to meet Monday with President Bush at the White House, a meeting intended to showcase their desire for a smooth transition." The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile reports Obama "will almost certainly have to adapt some of" the proposals he outlined during the campaign "to accommodate the current financial and economic crisis." The Christian Science Monitor, under the headline "For Obama, The Economy Can't Wait," reports, "The economy and financial markets are amplifying a message that Barack Obama knew about well before Election Day: The president-elect must start acting right now not just upon his Jan. 20 inauguration to forge his response to the crisis."
Automakers Seek "Immediate" Aid NBC Nightly News reported that yesterday "the heads of this nation's big three automakers [were] on Capitol Hill pressing Congress for more money." The Detroit Free Press adds that "while $25 billion in quick loans from the government appears to be the most likely course, many other details remain to be hammered out, and even that amount could be insufficient given the massive losses General Motors Corp. and Ford are expected to report this morning." The AP notes "US auto sales declined to their lowest level in more than 17 years last month, prompting some auto executives to predict dire consequences if the economy doesn't improve." The companies "are hoping [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi will include funding for the industry in an economic stimulus package." The New York Times reports Rep. John. Dingell, chairman of the House Commerce and Energy Committee, "called the discussions 'extremely productive' but offered no details on when, or if, an aid package might be forthcoming."
The Washington Post reports, "Two days after the election of Barack Obama, Iraq's chief spokesman said with unusual forcefulness Thursday that his government will continue to insist on a firm withdrawal date for US troops, despite American demands that any pullout be subject to prevailing security conditions." The Post adds "Iraqi officials, who see President-elect Obama's views on the timing of a US withdrawal as consonant with their own, appear to be leveraging his election to pressure the Bush administration to make last-minute concessions."
The Financial Times reports that in an interview Thursday, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh "said an effort to reach a so-called status-of-forces agreement that would sanction the US military presence in Iraq beyond 2008 would collapse if no deal is reached by the end of this month." McClatchy meanwhile, says the US "delivered Thursday what it said was the final text of the controversial accord." Susan Ziadeh, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Baghda, said, "We have gotten back to the Iraqi government with a final text. Through this step, we have concluded the process on the US side."
More optimistic is the report run by AFP, which says the US and Iraq "appeared to be edging closer to a final agreement on the future of US troops in Iraq after Washington said on Thursday it had responded positively to new demands from Baghdad." Appearing on Al-Arabiya television, Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie said "the US administration has agreed to remove a clause which could have allowed its troops to remain in Iraq after the end of 2011." The Wall Street Journal runs a similar report under the headline "US Approves Most Iraqi Revisions To Security Pact," and says "the US notified Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki it has accepted many of the changes proposed last week by the Iraqi cabinet in a draft security agreement between the two countries," and "because of the largely positive response from the US on Thursday, Iraqi officials say they are warming to a resolution."
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ABC World News reported, "The national vote as more of it is counted the margin of victory for Barack Obama is actually growing. He now has a seven percentage point win over John McCain. We are now able to say that Barack Obama for certain has carried the states of North Carolina and Indiana" bringing his electoral vote total to 364, while counting continues in Missouri, where Sen. John McCain has a slight lead. The AP says Obama's win in North Carolina "was the first for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976. Of Bush's 2004 states, Obama captured Virginia, Florida and North Carolina in the South, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa in the Midwest and Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in the West." The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson writes, "Even though Obama's victory was nowhere near as numerically lopsided as Franklin Roosevelt's in 1932, his margins among decisive and growing constituencies make clear that this was a genuinely realigning election."
Obama Made Gains Across Nearly Every Voting Bloc On NBC Nightly News, analyst Chuck Todd said Obama's victory "was across the board. His increases was not just about one voting group. It was across the board, whether it was older voters, younger voter, black voters, white voters, Latino voters, wherever they live. ... If we eliminated every voter under the age of 30, only two states would flip to McCain, Indiana and North Carolina." On the CBS Evening News, Jeff Greenfield also noted that when you "look at where Barack Obama improved over John Kerry...you will see that except for a few states, Kentucky and Arkansas and a few others, he did better than Kerry almost everywhere, and that portends potential long-term trouble for the Republicans."
Obama Won 67% Of The Hispanic Vote USA Today reports, "Hispanic voters surged this week and swung their support to the Democratic Party, helping flip four states to winner Barack Obama in a trend that poses challenges for Republicans in future elections." Obama "won 67% of the Hispanic vote - 23 percentage points higher than President Bush's showing in 2004." The New York Times adds that "the number of Latinos who went to the polls increased by nearly 25 percent over 2004, with sharp rises among naturalized immigrants and young, first-time voters, according to a study by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials."
Obama Gains Among White Evangelicals The New York Times says Obama "succeeded in chiseling off small but significant chunks of white evangelical voters," doubling "his support among young white evangelicals (those ages 18 to 29) compared with" 2004 Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry. The Times notes, "The increase was almost the same for white evangelicals ages 30 to 44." Overall, "most white evangelicals remained in the Republican camp," as Sen. John McCain "held 74 percent of the white evangelical vote, compared with 24 percent for Mr. Obama - a gain of only three percentage points over Mr. Kerry. But in most of the swing states where Mr. Obama's campaign concentrated, like Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia, his gains over Mr. Kerry in 2004 among white evangelicals were larger."
ABC World News reported that Republicans "are playing a particularly nasty blame game. It's not unusual for those who lose an election to have finger pointing, and a lot of them are being pointed at Sarah Palin." Time's Mark Halperin: "There were a lot of people around John McCain who were stunned at how unprepared Sarah Palin was for this job. And they didn't like they way that she stepped out of line, off-message, in a way that some thought was better for her, rather than thinking about the interests of John McCain." ABC added: "Aides questioned Palin's intelligence." NBC Nightly News added that Palin "has denied a flurry of accusations and criticism from McCain campaign aides. ... An aide said Palin had to be told Africa is a continent and not a country. And was walked through the basics of the Iraq war and Middle East on a map. Today Palin's office called the accusation unfortunate and quite honestly, sickening."
According to the Los Angeles Times, "The miscommunication and quarrels between the two camps lasted into Tuesday night, said McCain aides familiar with the situation. Palin arrived at the Arizona Biltmore planning to deliver a speech before McCain's concession speech, they said, but was told by senior McCain aides Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter that it would not be appropriate."
NBC Nightly News reported, "In Oregon Republican incumbent Gordon Smith will not be returning to the US Senate. He's been defeated by the Democrat Jeff Merkley in that race. Democrats now control 55 seats, a net gain plus six, as you see in the center of the screen. Republicans hold 40, independents 2. But they caucus with the Democrats." Three senate races remain too close to call tonight." The Washington Post adds Merkley "won by about 39,000 votes out of nearly 1.6 million cast, the Associated Press reported. An AP vote count gave Merkley 48.6 percent of the vote, Smith 46.1 percent and third-party candidate Dave Brownlow 5.3 percent."
The CBS Evening News reported that in Alaska, "the race between incumbent Republican Ted Stevens, convicted of a felony, and Democrat Mark Begich is still too close to call. In Minnesota, Republican Senator Norm Coleman leads the Democratic challenger Al Franken by fewer than 600 votes. A recount will determine the winner there. And in Georgia, absentee ballots are still being counted. Republican Saxby Chambliss leads Democrat Jim Martin, but needs to get 50 percent to avoid a runoff." McClatchy adds Coleman "declared victory when his lead was 725 votes, but it's since been dropping. He urged Franken to forgo a recount, automatically triggered when the margin is so slim. ... However, Franken told Minnesota Public Radio on Thursday, 'This is the closest race in Minnesota history. This is part of the process to make sure every vote is counted fairly.'"
Even if Stevens does hold onto the seat, there is still trouble brewing for him. The Politico reports that South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) "is pushing his party's leadership to expel" Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R) "from the Senate during this month's 'lame duck' session, according to people familiar with his plans." If Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) "doesn't press for Stevens' expulsion during the November special session, DeMint plans to introduce a motion to expel in January, GOP staffers say."
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Jay Leno: "Barack Obama is now gonna receive the daily White House intelligence briefing on things like, you know, security and terrorism, stuff like that. It's the same briefing President Bush gets every day, but without the pictures and the color by numbers."
Jay Leno: "Barack Obama spent his first day as President-elect putting together his transition team. And if you believe MSNBC, by tomorrow he will have chosen all 12 of his disciples."
Jay Leno: Obama "has chosen Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Rahm Emanuel. Apparently Barack's first order of business, no guys with regular names."
Jay Leno: "People are now asking if Obama's being in the White House will be a return to Camelot. You know like what it was during the Kennedys? That return to Camelot -- as opposed to the last eight years which is the return to the 'Dukes of Hazzard.'"
David Letterman: "Barack Obama hits the ground running. He is already naming people to be part of the staff. He picked a guy Rahm Emanuel...Rahm Emanuel, is that the holiday the writers are always taking off?"
Conan O'Brien: "President-elect Barack Obama spent the day thanking the people who helped him win the election. That's right. Yeah, and actually, Obama's first phone call was to Sarah Palin."
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