January 14th, 2009
04:41 PM ET

Huckabee pans Palin's interview with Couric

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.huckpt0113.gi.jpg caption="Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was both sympathetic and critical of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."]

Sarah Palin has complained repeatedly that she was given unfair treatment by the media during her rapid political ascent last year.

But Mike Huckabee – a potential rival for Palin in 2012 should they both decide to seek the White House – apparently doesn’t agree.

In an interview in the current issue of Esquire, Huckabee speaks sympathetically of Palin, saying she had been subjected to “sexist things that would never have been asked of a male candidate.”

But he pushed back against Palin’s assertion that high-profile journalists – particularly Katie Couric of CBS – were biased in their interviews with her.


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Raw Politics
January 14th, 2009
04:39 PM ET

Osama’s Inauguration Whimper

Editor’s Note: Tune in to hear more from former CIA officer Gary Berntsen on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET.

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Gary Berntsen
Former CIA Officer

Surprising not one person in America, fugitive Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has released an audio tape to coincide with the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. It includes a call across the Middle East for support to the Palestinians in Gaza as well as pronouncements of political and economic doom for America.

Bin Laden made no mention that just a week ago two of his top operatives, Usama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmad Salim Swedan—both Kenyan Nationals who participated in the East Africa attacks in 1998 and then in the Marriot Hotel bombing in Pakistan last year—had been hunted down and killed by a U.S. strike while attempting to conceal themselves in Southern Waziristan. Nor was there mention that during Bin Laden’s seven year long camping trip (that began with his escape from Afghanistan in 2001) an array of other groups have eclipsed Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda in influence, money and operational tempo. Groups like Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT) and the Taliban have as organizational goals the establishment of Islamic States in Kashmir and Afghanistan, respectively. They pursue their own agendas. Groups like the Haqqani Network and Hizb-e Islami Ghulbadin (HIG) are merely the action arms of the men that lead them and have only regional appeal.


Filed under: Global 360° • Iran • Iraq • War on Terror
January 14th, 2009
04:32 PM ET

Obama's growing Republican problem

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/14/obama.economy/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama is facing bipartisan opposition to his plans for the bailout funds."]

Dana Bash, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent
Brianna Keilar, CNN Congressional Correspondent

Barack Obama is already having trouble getting fellow Democrats to give him the remaining $350 billion dollars for Wall Street.

But now, he has a growing Republican problem.

Some half a dozen Republican Senators who voted for the financial rescue in the fall tell CNN that they plan to oppose it this time.

“I think it would be very difficult voting for the TARP funds because in the first $350 billion, there was no transparency. We don’t even know how it was spent,” Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign told CNN.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Barack Obama • Brianna Keilar • Dana Bash • Republicans
January 14th, 2009
04:21 PM ET

Obama's open letter to his daughters

Editor's Note: Tune in to hear more about what life will be like for the Obama family in the White House tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/07/first.kids/art.obama.kids.gi.jpg caption="Sasha Obama, left, and Malia Obama will make the White House home come January 20."]

President-Elect Barack Obama
For PARADE Magazine

Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.


January 14th, 2009
03:57 PM ET

Obama breaks bread with Commentators

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/14/art.obama.01.14.jpg]
Ed Henry | BIO
Senior White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Trying to show a little bipartisanship, President-elect Barack Obama had an off-the-record meeting Wednesday with liberal commentators and columnists, the morning after a dinner with conservative writers at the home of columnist George F. Will.

Two sources close to the transition say Obama met Wednesday morning at his transition headquarters here with left-leaning writers like Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich of The New York Times, E.J. Dionne and Gene Robinson of The Washington Post, and MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow.

More moderate attendees included columnists Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal and Ronald Brownstein of National Journal magazine.

On Monday evening, Obama traveled to Will’s home in Chevy Chase, Md., to dine with a conservative cadre that included William Kristol and David Brooks of The New York Times.

Aides to Obama, who has been promising the most transparent administration ever, are refusing to divulge details of the meetings, saying the events were strictly off-the-record.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Ed Henry • Raw Politics
January 14th, 2009
03:49 PM ET

New White House moving rules

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David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

Moving is never fun and when moving day is only six days away, the last thing you need is a new project. Unfortunately, the outgoing White House IT staff now has a new project - collecting and preserving White House email.

Earlier today, District Judge Henry H. Kennedy issued an emergency order requiring the Executive Office of the President to:

* search the workstations, and any .PST files, of any individuals who were employed between March 2003 and October 2005, and to collect and preserve all emails sent or received between March 2003 and October 2005
* issue a preservation notice to its employees directing them to surrender any media in their possession - that may contain e-mails sent or received between March 2003 and October 2005, and for the EOP to collect and preserve all such media.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Technology
January 14th, 2009
03:32 PM ET

Tape shows Gaza conflict 'big deal' to bin Laden

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/14/binladen.message/art.bin.laden.gi.jpg caption="Osama bin Laden, in an undated photo, apparently taped a message calling for jihad against Israel."]

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

Osama bin Laden's release of an audio message denouncing Israel's military offensive in Gaza signals the al Qaeda leader's priorities, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen says.

On the tape, which became public Wednesday, bin Laden calls for jihad, or holy war, against Israel in response to its military campaign aimed at stopping Hamas rocket attacks.

It's unknown when the tape was made because the time lag between recording a bin Laden message and releasing it is usually about two weeks, said Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington and author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."

Bergen answered questions about the latest message from bin Laden.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Peter Bergen • War on Terror
January 14th, 2009
03:29 PM ET

Let's spend on broadband and the power grid

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Samuel J. Palmisano
The Wall Street Journal

As a new American administration takes office during the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, everyone is understandably fixated on the present emergency - on what went wrong and how to fix it. There is a growing feeling of desperation, the idea that we must do something - anything - to get the world's economic juices flowing again.

Let me offer a different point of view: We shouldn't undertake projects simply for the sake of creating economic activity. Rather than just stimulate, we should transform.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Technology
January 14th, 2009
03:27 PM ET

What Obama must say Tuesday

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Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN

The inaugural address is a seminal moment in the development of every president. This is a relatively short speech, normally thin on detail and big on message points.

Obama, an inspirational orator, must use this opportunity well. As he confronts an enormously challenging economy and an unstable world, particularly after the terrorist attacks in India and fighting in Gaza, Obama must capitalize on this moment to positively shape the character of his presidency.

If he looks back in time for guidance, Obama can learn a lot from some of his predecessors as he decides which messages should and should not make it into the final text.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Inauguration Day
January 14th, 2009
03:17 PM ET

The economy question

How long will the voters give Barack Obama to show improvement in the economy? Bill Schneider reports.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • William Schneider
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