November 20th, 2008
08:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Showing up to a Soup Kitchen in a Tux

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

The picture of Obama’s Administration is coming into focus.

Last night we reported that President-Elect Obama has earmarked Janet Napolitano to head the Dept of Homeland Security, Chicago business woman Penny Pritzker could head the Dept of Commerce, and fmr Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle could head the Dept of Health and Human services. Eric Holder, as reported earlier in the week, may serve as Attorney General.

These candidates are going through a thorough vetting process, sources tell CNN that this is the most detail-oriented vetting officials have undergone in all their careers in or out of public office. I guess Obama doesn’t like surprises.

We continue to wait and see whether Hillary will become Secretary of State, meanwhile Senate Democrats may create a special role for her if she does stay in Congress, perhaps making her point person on health care issues, as one example. Is this because she is seriously weighing whether to remain a Senator, or she wants a good fallback position if she doesn’t get picked as SOS? It’s nice to be a woman with options, though.

The possibility of a big check from Congress to the Big 3 automakers appears slim- plans were reversed to hold a test vote today on this proposed bailout. CEO’s of domestic automakers didn’t get very far convincing lawmakers they need a bailout, particularly when they flew to DC to press their case in private jets.

One lawmaker said it’s like showing up at a soup kitchen in a tuxedo, and another said that when you get off a private jet with a tin cup, it’s not very convincing.

Our focus is already shifting to the huge swatch of workers in the Midwest who could be out of a job very soon, if not already. Gary Tuchman is on his way there this morning to feature these auto workers who are already feeling like they are living in a recession. How are they coping? He may have this story tonight, if not by tomorrow.

Before he left, Gary finished up a story that we will try to get on tonight about a North Carolina mental hospital that severely neglected its patients. We received video of surveillance cameras which caught some of the workers in the act. It’s a pretty outrageous story.

Erica Hill will describe how Obama-mania is taking over the nation’s capital. People are expected to flock to the Inauguration in droves, hotels are already booked out there, and tickets are hard to come by for the event. How will DC handle the millions of people expected to flock upon the city come January?

That’s where we start, see you at 10pet!

Filed under: The Buzz
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Our government is far more in debt than the big, yet I don't see any of our lawmakers taking pay cuts or selling their planes, suvs, houses, and numerous other frivolous toys! All while they come to the taxpayer and demand more funds and still continue outregeous spending. I'm not saying there isn't more the big 3 could do to help themselves, but it just gets my goat when these fat cat hypocrits start pointing fingers and throwing stones from their glass houses!

    November 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Adriana RM Marietta, Ga

    Its time for the BIG 3 to file Chap 11. Get rid of the unions, get rid of the current board, the CEOS, Senior Execs and the Strategist. They have all contributed to the mess of the last 20 years. These guys don't have a PLAN A let alone a plan B.

    November 20, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  3. Missy

    I agree with the ideas that MIchael Moore had on Larry King last night. These car companies need to be held accountable to the quality of products that they build, they need to be competitive, these executives must be willing to step down and let someone who can run these companies.

    American auto companies have been building shoddy cars for far too long. Nobody wants to buy them.

    Why are us taxpayers responsible for paying for this when these execs fly to Washington in private jets and are unwilling to cut back themselves.

    There is no security issue for them to fly commercial because 90% of the people have no idea what their names are much less what they look like.

    November 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  4. Ralph Illinois

    These companies are all "Top Heavy". In body count and compensation. Sooner or later, they will all fall over.

    Clean the scum off the top of the pond and the pond will come back to life.

    November 20, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  5. hugh ~ california

    Any corporation facing financial collapse and asking for federal aid should not be allowed to give out bonuses, and the salaries starting at the top should be cut in half–at the very minimum–for the next two or three years–that includes The Big 3.

    November 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  6. J Jones

    Are mortgage escrow requirements contributing to the foreclosure crisis? If you have a mortgage with Countrywide you might be paying your mortgage, property taxes and insurance in one payment, which could be $500 – 1000 over the actual mortgage payment. Well, now you have one less income in your household and can no longer make that total payment. But, you can do enough to make the mortgage payment without the escrow to stay current. You are not worried about the taxes because you will get enough in your income tax return to make that payment at the time it is due. And why should you pay these funds to Countrywide who collects them 12 months in advance and earns money off of your money while you are struggling. So, here you are behind in your mortgage, you have the money to pay the mortgage but they won't let you. If you send it in, they will cash your check but will not apply your payment. It makes me wonder how many American families are in foreclosure because of these type of practices.

    November 20, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  7. cecilia Sanchez

    We need more transparency into the big 3's FINANCIAL INFORMATION before we can decide to give any money to these hard headed, out of touch CEO's. They need to cut bonuses to the ceo's and any other extra money they have put away. What about the factory in Russa? Will this money be sent overseas?



    November 20, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  8. Justin W.J. in Phoenix

    I am going to miss Janet Napolitano, our governor, should she join Obama's administration.

    November 20, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  9. Michelle

    I think your coverage of the big 3 is a bit unfair. It is my understanding
    that this would be a loan. So why is the word bailout used ? Why are
    the CEO's used as the face of those being affected and not the workers ?
    I don't have any answers for what needs to be done. You all are
    forgetting the workers will be the hardest hit and not the suits. After
    all they have millions to live on.

    November 20, 2008 at 11:25 am |
  10. Larry

    OMG Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary???? The queen of the subprime mortgage crisis. Another Chicago IOU appointment. Let's see the vetting process for and her family. I'd stay away from any bank in which she has any involvement.

    November 20, 2008 at 10:30 am |
  11. Brian

    Idiots!Should have seen them being quizzed by law makers.Looked so pitiful when they were being asked to raise their hands about which of them had flown commercial.Asked who was willing to fly back on a commercial flight one guy visibly seemed to be fighting inner demons.It's such a poor reflection.Security was their reason for this.It's a pity that it is on the shoulders of these people that millions of jobs and livelihoods rest.

    November 20, 2008 at 10:06 am |
  12. Cindy

    Regardless of what congress or pres Bush does now for the big 3 they will get a bailout when Obama gets in office. He has been saying he is for the bailout and will give it to them. So just because they don't get it now doesn't mean that they won't. This subject will come back up again when Obama takes control and he and the dems will push it through.

    The only thing to worry about is if they can hold on that long. If not then a lot of people will lose their jobs. Not just those that work for the companies but also those who are associated indirectly with it...and that is a lot of people. And also if people who have no link to them think it won't effect them then they are wrong! If you own a car or truck made by them it will effect you! Who do you think makes the parts for your car? If they go under and your car tears up then you are screwed! So you better think of that also!


    November 20, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  13. Annie Kate

    Down here in Alabama a company planning to lay off over a certain number of employees (I think its 100) has to officially notify the unemployment office of this 90 days in advance. I don't know if this is just a state thing or if this is law everywhere so if the workers are already losing their jobs then this has been in the works for a while.

    I would like to see a bailout for the Big 3 but not with their current CEOs. I think a bailout or loan as the Big 3 call it should be contingent on their resignations and a new CEO that will report regularly to Congress on what is going on put in. First on his or her agenda should be to sell those private company planes.

    At one point there was talk of another incentive for the taxpayers – has that been dropped now? I haven't heard anything about it in a while now. I was surprised when 360 reported that Secretary Paulsen had spent 250 billion of the bailout package already because it doesn't appear that much has changed.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 20, 2008 at 9:29 am |