David Gergen | BIO
CNN Senior Political Analyst
As the United States economy has cratered, it has become increasingly apparent that we are suffering not just from a failure of institutions but, more deeply, from a failure of leaders across those institutions.
The list is long and depressing: a president who has been a catastrophe, congressional Democrats and Republicans who were looking the other way, regulators who were too lax, CEOs who gambled recklessly with other people's money, consumers who borrowed far beyond their means, and on and on.
Americans are smart enough to see what is going on...
CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Barack Obama's potential national security team is looking like a galaxy of high power big star talent. Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. Retired General Jim Jones as National Security Advisor. Retired Admiral Dennis Blair is rumored to be on tap for Director of National Intelligence–one of a handful of military officers who did a high level tour of duty at the CIA.
And of course there is growing buzz that Obama will ask Bob Gates to stay on as as Secretary of Defense.
But how can all these high powered egos work together? The answer is Obama will want them to...so they will. First up; Gates. He has been pressing for months for the State Department to contribute personnel and billions of dollars in aid for Iraq and Afghanistan. AND he wants the next secretary of state to try again to get NATO allies to send more troops to Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton's star power on the world stage may be the ticket to make that happen.
But the real power broker may be this man–retired Marine Corps four star General James Jones–a former Middle East advisor, and a man with decades of military experience. His job: make sure President Obama gets all the best advice–but also make sure–the team plays together nicely.
So what about two other key players: Admiral Mike Mullen chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General David Petraeus, now head of Central Command and the currently serving four star overseas military operations in the Middle East. Both men are used to having a direct line to President Bush–everyone is watching to see if it will be the same rules of the road in the Obama White House.
From stocking his cabinet to choosing a new school for his young daughters, President-elect Obama has a lot on his plate. We have news on both fronts.
First, the cabinet drama. Reports surfaced that Obama plans to nominate New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner to serve as Treasury Secretary. Stocks rallied, the Dow surging more than 500 points after two days of devastating losses.
Meantime, the will-she-or-won’t-she cliffhanger with Hillary Clinton in the starring role seems to be inching forward. Clinton’s aides say the New York Senator is on track to be nominated for Secretary of State but also insist there are no new developments to report. The New York Times is reporting that Clinton will accept the position.
We also got a glimpse of what Bill Richardson’s consolation prize might be. The New Mexico governor is said to be a “serious contender” for commerce secretary, though sources caution that he could be tapped for a different post as well. None of these is a done deal, but the speculation is that Obama could make an announcement on one of these key positions this next week, before Thanksgiving.
Tonight we’ll spend a lot of time dissecting these developments and examining what the potential nominees would bring to the table.
We’ll also spend a chunk of time on the economy. It’s now clear the recession is deeper than anyone expected. The intersection of the financial crisis and a lame duck president is a perfect storm of sorts, at least that’s what a lot of people who know about these things seem to be saying. Suze Orman joins us tonight to talk about how to cushion your finances in these uncertain times. She’ll be taking your calls. In the meantime, we’re interested in hearing about your top concerns when it comes to your family’s finances. Are you actively cutting back on shopping? Have you tightened the belt on your budget? Will your holiday shopping be more frugal?
Also ahead tonight, Sasha and Malia Obama’s new school. The search is over. We’ll tell you where they’re headed.
See you at 10 p.m. eastern.
TGIF! Feeling better about your 401k tonight? The stock market erasing yesterday's losses on news President-elect Barack Obama may have settled on a Treasury Secretary. New York Fed President Timothy Geithner could be Obama's money man. And, more news tonight on other appointments. Will Hillary Clinton accept the Secretary of State post? Tell us what you think about the market rebound and Obama's choices.
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President-elect Barack Obama orders a slice of pie today during a visit to Manny's Deli in Chicago.
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Jessica Yellin | BIO
President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden today announced the following White House staff: Patrick Gaspard, Director of the Office of Political Affairs; Jackie Norris, Chief of Staff to First Lady; Catherine (Cathy) M. Russell, Chief of Staff for Dr. Jill Biden; Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice President; and Moises (Moe) V. Vela, Jr., Director of Administration for the Office of the Vice President.
President-Elect Barack Obama said, “This group of public servants will bring decades of expertise to my administration, and I'll rely on their counsel and hard work as we fix our struggling economy and meet the great challenges of our time. Vice President-Elect Biden and I look forward to continuing our work with these outstanding individuals who have dedicated their careers to a better America.”
Vice President-Elect Joe Biden said, “These individuals all possess incredible integrity and an unmatched commitment to public service. Cathy Russell has a unique blend of policy and management experience, combined with an ardent commitment to ending injustices around the world. Cynthia Hogan is a brilliant lawyer who was instrumental in guiding the Senate Judiciary Committee though some of its most important challenges in both crime control and judicial selection, and has shown incredible legal acumen and integrity over her career. I’m grateful to have Moe Vela, a man with experience in White House management and broad outreach skills on my team. Their combined experience, diverse leadership and esteemed counsel will be essential in helping the Obama-Biden Administration bring the change we need to America.”
In Session Anchor
A federal judge has ordered the immediate release of five Algerian prisoners from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The men have been held there for nearly seven years and the ruling is an indictment of Bush administration policies that led it to sweep up innocent men along with hardened terrorists in the so-called war on terror. And this judge, Judge Richard Leon, is no liberal apologist for Al Qaeda. This is a judge appointed by President Bush. And the administration fully expected him to rule otherwise.
But a judge, whatever his political stripes, is still a judge. And this one rightly found that seven years of waiting for our legal system to charge anyone, even GITMO detainees, is enough. The justice department has not said whether it will appeal. But of course, a whole lot is about to change at justice with a new attorney general coming to town, and a president-elect who has vowed to close GITMO once and for all.
When he does, the camp will go down in history as a sad reminder of what happens when mistakes are made at the highest levels of our government, and no one has the courage to acknowledge it.
Editors note: See more of Jami’s posts at the In Session Blog.
Program Note: CNN Heroes received nearly four thousand submissions from 75 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year, and over 1 million of you voted for your CNN HERO OF THE YEAR
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Nominated David Puckett | HIS STORY
Thank you and CNN for allowing us the opportunity to let the world know that there are such great, giving and caring individuals such as the person I nominated-David Puckett!
I nominated David because of his hard work and dedication to such a much needed program that he created in Mexico. I came to work for David in 2005. Since the day I started work for David, his mission program has been a inspiration to me and each employee that works and has worked for David.
I have never had the opportunity to go on a mission trip with David but to be able to be part of what he does and the compassion and hard work that he puts into each and every othotic or prosthetic device that he creates is such a chilling experience.
When I first found out that David was one of the "top 10" I just started crying... To know that he had been chosen for such an honor was truly unbelievable and to know that I had helped him in such a way that I probably never could have otherwise was such a blessing to me.
The New York Times
Everyone’s talking about a new New Deal, for obvious reasons. In 2008, as in 1932, a long era of Republican political dominance came to an end in the face of an economic and financial crisis that, in voters’ minds, both discredited the G.O.P.’s free-market ideology and undermined its claims of competence. And for those on the progressive side of the political spectrum, these are hopeful times. There is, however, another and more disturbing parallel....