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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/12/blagojevich/art.gov2.gi.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal corruption charges."]Maureen Miller
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is facing the growing possibility he'll be stripped of his power.
The Illinois attorney general has asked the state's highest court to declare the governor unfit to serve.
"I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but these are extraordinary circumstances," Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.
There's no word on when the court will respond to the request.
State lawmakers are also considering taking action against Blagojevich. They could consider impeachment when they meet in Springfield on Monday. They'll also consider a special election to fill Obama's Senate seat.
Meanwhile, a source says President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanual is not a target for investigators in the scandal.
Rahm has refused to answer questions about whether he's the "adviser" mentioned in the criminal complaint that accuses Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of selling Obama's now vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. Though, it's important to note the complaint does not say that Blagojevich ever talked with the unidentified Obama adviser about the seat.
Still, some people have wondered if Emanual was "that guy."
And, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who was identified as "Senate Candidate 5" in the criminal complaint, is still wrapped up in the scandal.
"I'm fighting now for my character, and I'm also fighting for my life," he said. "This is about my children being able to Google their name in five years and there be nothing there associated with them that suggests anything
wrong," Jackson added.
Candidate 5 is the only one whom Blagojevich said engaged in discussion through an emissary about possibly raising money for the governor in exchange for the Senate position.
There are so many twists and turns in this scandal. And just tonight, CNN caught up with the governor when he was leaving his lawyer's office. We'll play that exclusive tape for you.
What do you think he will do? Stay put, resign or be forced out of office by the state Supreme Court or state lawmakers?
We'll have the latest developments in the case and tonight's other headlines starting at 10 p.m. ET.
Hope you can join us.
The Wall Street Journal
The audacity of hope is about to be tested as President-elect Barack Obama's transition team moves forward in the context of bailout strains, job losses, and a pessimistic economic outlook. As we watch the CEOs of the Big Three auto companies plead at congressional hearings for taxpayer money to avert "catastrophe," the great debate about the proper role of government continues with new urgency. It is of equal importance to consider the role business should play in ensuring economic security for a hopeful citizenry.
Business leaders must use these difficult times as an opportunity to restore our credibility with the American people. We must be prepared to step up to new levels of transparency and accountability and to recalibrate our own role in an increasingly competitive world.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/12/bailout.reaction/art.ford.gi.jpg caption="A proposal to bail out the U.S. auto industry failed in the Senate on Thursday night."]
John B. Judis
The New Republic
OK, let me get this straight. Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker, backed up by Alabama Senator Richard Shelby and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, made it a condition of the auto companies receiving help that the United Auto Workers agree to a reduction of wages and benefits to the level of those paid by the Japanese companies that have plants in those senators’ states. Desperate for the deal, the UAW and the Democrats agreed to a phased-in reduction, but the Republicans insisted on an immediate cut. The deal broke down, and Republicans–aided by a few Red State Democrats (e.g. Baucus, Lincoln, Tester)–used a filibuster to kill the bill, which would have passed on a majority vote.
Here’s what bothers me. Japanese companies, which for years have benefited from one-way deal by which they could sell cars in the U.S. while U.S. companies were stymied in selling cars and trucks in Japan, set up non-union plants in low-wage, low-education, right-to-work states where they can pay less wages and benefits to their workers. Of course, in Japan, these same companies recognize and work with unions, but not here, where they have a chance to undercut American firms that work with unions. Corker and these other great patriots want to allow these Japanese companies to dictate the wages and benefits that American companies pay their workers. It’s despicable. Imagine, for a moment, American companies being allow to operate in this manner in Japan or South Korea. It would not happen.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/10/illinois.governor/art.gov.gi.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich"]
AC360 Associate Producer
Well, the weekend has finally arrived. Not that I have any plans now that the poker tournament at Bonnie and Clyde Blagojevich's house is cancelled. Apparently the governor will be busy alphabetizing his bottles of hairspray and the demure Mrs. Blagojevich will be crushing beer cans against her head.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse “There’s no way I’m going to let my son get more TV time than me” Jackson would like you to know that he was not involved in the alleged pay-to-play senate seat scandal. Beyond that he'll have no comment, except for the interviews he'll be doing every hour on the hour for the next 30 days.
By the way, just to clear up a bit of confusion: Yes, it’s true there is a “Warning: Rat Poison” sign posted outside of Rod Blagojevich’s house. But apparently it’s just a coincidence and I was incorrect in assuming it was the state seal of Illinois.
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Former President George H.W. Bush reacts alongside Barbara Bush as their son, President George W. Bush delivers the commencement address during the Texas A&M University graduation ceremony at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, on December 12, 2008.
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Stocks rose Friday, erasing the day's losses, as investors welcomed the Treasury Department's indication it might step in and bail out the troubled automakers after a $14 billion bill collapsed in the Senate.
Stocks slumped Thursday on fears that the $14 billion auto rescue bill would lose traction in the Senate. Those concerns proved correct. Negotiations fell apart Thursday night, with Democrats, Republicans, the individual companies and the United Auto Workers union unable to reach a compromise.
A consensus is emerging among intelligence analysts and pundits that Pakistan may be President-elect Barack Obama's greatest policy challenge. A base for terrorist groups, the country has a fragile new civilian government and a long history of military coups. The dramatic attack on Mumbai by members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Tayiba, the continued Taliban insurgency on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the frailty of the new civilian government, and the country's status as a nuclear-armed state have all put Islamabad on the incoming administration's front burner.
But does Obama understand what he's getting into? In his "Meet the Press" interview with Tom Brokaw on Sunday, Obama said, "We need a strategic partnership with all the parties in the region - Pakistan and India and the Afghan government - to stamp out the kind of militant, violent, terrorist extremists that have set up base camps and that are operating in ways that threaten the security of everybody in the international community." Obama's scenario assumes that the Pakistani government is a single, undifferentiated thing, and that all parts of the government would be willing to "stamp out" terrorists. Both of those assumptions are incorrect.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/12/art.vert.bush.jpg width=292 height=320]
Ed Henry | BIO
CNN Senior White House Correspondent
Two senior administration officials now tell CNN the Bush administration will NOT dip into the TARP today in order to bail out the auto industry, but they are leaving the door open to doing it this weekend or next week. "It will definitely not happen today," said one senior official. "We're just collecting information" today.
The officials said that while the administration realizes the situation is serious, they do not want to rush into using the TARP funds and want to carefully evaluate exactly how much money the automakers need, how quickly, and what strings will be attached to the money to try and ensure taxpayers will get a return on those funds.