President Obama’s third day in office was a day of firsts.
The new president plunged into the thorniest foreign policy issues facing his administration, promising a new era of American leadership. He also signed an executive order requiring all American personnel to follow the Army Field Manual during interrogations. That means the CIA and the military are now on the same page. He also made sweeping changes in fighting terror and the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
It was the first full day at the State Department for Secretary of State Clinton. She welcomed her Mideast and Afghanistan-Pakistan envoys, George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke, both new positions.
Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner survived his first vote in the Senate - the Finance Committee voted 18 to 5 to recommend confirmation. The full Senate vote is Monday.
Meantime, a raft of grim economic news gave urgency to his appointment. Jobless claims and home construction both posting worse-than-expected results today, while the furious pace of layoffs continued. Microsoft announcing it will slash up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months. That’s a first for Microsoft. The Dow ended the day sharply lower.
At the first White House briefing Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was grilled on President Obama’s nomination of William Lynn to be Deputy Defense Secretary. Lynn used to be a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon. Just yesterday, President Obama implemented new ethics rules, banning his staff from working in areas where they lobbied. Oops. Now it appears that Lynn may be given a special waiver. We’re keeping them honest.
Another first today – Barack Obama became the first president in history who’ll use email. He’s holding on to his cherished Blackberry, an admitted addiction. It’s been souped up with heavy-duty security features.
We’ll have full coverage of all of this - plus an extraordinary look inside Air Force One, including President Obama’s first time on board, just weeks before he was sworn in.
We look forward to seeing you at 10 pm ET. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts and observations on the first two days of the Obama White House. Send us a post!
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