January 22nd, 2009
04:10 PM ET

Housekeeper and taxes are said to derail Kennedy’s bid

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Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore
The New York Times

Problems involving taxes and a household employee surfaced during the vetting of Caroline Kennedy and derailed her candidacy for the Senate, a person close to Gov. David A. Paterson said on Thursday, in an account at odds with Ms. Kennedy’s own description of her reasons for withdrawing.

The account emerged 14 hours after Ms. Kennedy announced that she was taking her name out of contention for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, and as Mr. Paterson appeared to be leaning toward selecting Representative Kirsten E. Gillibrand, an upstate lawmaker in her second term in Congress.

Hard feelings toward Ms. Kennedy were clearly building among the governor’s staff on Thursday, after a dramatic evening in which she was reported to be dropping out, then wavering, then ultimately, shortly after midnight on Thursday, issuing a statement ending her candidacy.


Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • Raw Politics
January 22nd, 2009
01:31 PM ET

After the cheers, the crowd at Clinton's door

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/22/clinton.state/art.clintongreet.gi.jpg caption="Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is welcomed to the State Department on Thursday."]

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell are both here – in the Secretary of State's outer offices.

Holbrooke was working the crowd of State Department staff who turned out to welcome Secretary Clinton, shaking hands and doling out hugs to everyone, including administration heavywieghts of presidents past–former Deputy Secretaries of State John Negroponte and Strobe Talbot and former Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Mitchell smiled politely but stayed close to the senior State Department officials handling Middle East issues.

Update 2:29 p.m.

President Obama is here at State Dept., meeting with Secretary Clinton and other senior state dept staff, as well is the two senior envoys he is going to name – George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke.

Some color: there is a packed, standing-room-only crowd of approximately 500 - senior staff, a group of lucky civil and foreign service employees are here. Deputy Secretary Designate James Steinberg is here too, fresh from his conformation hearing this morning.

Samantha Power, a close confidante and foreign policy aide of Obama's who resigned from the campaign after calling Clinton a monster, is in the front row – apparently they have kissed and made up. Martin Indyk, who reportedly was inching for some Mideast envoy role but didn't appear to have gotten one is here, along with a group of middle east experts.

The one person who is noticeably absent is Dennis Ross – who was widely expected to take a senior role in the administration dealing with Iran but rumors are circulating that it may not be the plum role he was looking for. Stay tuned.

January 22nd, 2009
01:27 PM ET

Ten inauguration observations that stood out

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Gary Tuchman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

The lack of panic, or even concern when people started getting squeezed tightly by throngs of other people on narrow streets as they tried to get closer to the Capitol to view the Inauguration.

The immense number of children, the elderly, and the disabled dealing with the mass crowds and the cold to be part of history. (How many more people would attend inaugurations if they were held in May?!)

The respectful, utter quiet during portions of the ceremony. Hearing nothing from 1.8 million or so people is awe inspiring.

4. Hearing some inaugural attendees start singing "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye" when they saw George Bush on the Jumbotron. Pretty uncool, whatever your political feelings.


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Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Inauguration
January 22nd, 2009
01:22 PM ET

When pregnancy ends in heartbreak

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Ann M. Veneman
Special to CNN

Every day in the United States, thousands of women and families experience one of the most joyous occasions in their lifetime - the birth of a child.

That joy is certainly not as often the case in many parts of the world. Women in the least-developed countries are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from complications related to pregnancy than women in developed countries.

Half a million women die due to pregnancy or childbirth complications every year.

The lack of the most basic necessities such as a doctor, nurse, clean water, supplies or even a medical facility is robbing precious innocence and devastating families.


Filed under: Global 360°
January 22nd, 2009
12:49 PM ET

Barack gets a superduper BlackBerry

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

Say you work for a new boss and want to keep your job. Now, say your new boss is the first-day-on-the-job President of the United States. Now, let's say your boss, the President, tells you that not only are you not going to take his BlackBerry from him, you're going to find a way to make sure he can keep it. What do you do? What do you do?

This was apparently the challenge facing someone in the incoming administration. We're talking about a serious security issue here, so details are sketchy at best. As you probably know, President Barack Obama has wanted to keep his beloved BlackBerry, but there were all sorts of security issues involved.

The "blogosphere" is on high-alert, reporting that Obama will get to keep his BlackBerry for standard messaging, but a "asuper-encryption package" has been added to the President's device. Stories also imply that Mr. Obama may use the super-spooky National Dynamics Sectera Edge for official business.


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Filed under: David Gewirtz • President Barack Obama • Technology
January 22nd, 2009
11:37 AM ET

No-jacket Obama

An official White House photo Wednesday shows U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with no jacket, something strictly forbidden by his predecessor.

In eight years of official Oval Office photos of former President George W. Bush, not one can be found of him without a suit jacket on, CNN reported.

January 22nd, 2009
11:22 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: Unemployment picture gets worse

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose by 62,000 to 589,000 last week - a 26-year high. The last time jobless claims were this high was in November 1982, when jobless claims surged to 612,000. The increase is partly due to a backlog of claims that piled up in recent weeks in several states that experienced computer crashes due to a crush of applications. The number of people continuing to seek benefits, meanwhile, rose by 97,000 to 4.6 million.

And the cuts just keep on coming… Microsoft says it will cut up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months - including 1,400 jobs today. Chemical maker Hunstman Corp. plans to cut 1,175 jobs, or 9% of its workforce by the end of the year. Williams-Sonoma said late Wednesday it plans to cut about 1,400 jobs, or 18% of its full-time staff by end of this month. And chipmaker Intel said its cutting production at two silicon wafer facilities in the U.S. and closing three facilities in Asia, affecting between 5,000 and 6,000 workers.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • Oil • Wall St.
January 22nd, 2009
11:22 AM ET

The conciliatory radical

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David Frum
The Week

In the heady first days after a thumping political victory, the new leader’s triumphant followers murmur to one another of their admiration for their man.

“You know, the president is right.”

“I’d go further—he’s completely right!’

“You’re both wrong. He’s absolutely right!”

Ah, the romantic phase of political engagement! It was like that for Republicans in the Reagan days. Now it seems the same for Democrats like Shrum, who wrote: “I’m convinced Obama’s right to pursue the politics of change in his own remarkable fashion.”


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Republicans
January 22nd, 2009
11:13 AM ET

'Everything' is possible

Photographer Peter Turnley covered Obama's inauguration for CNN. He says it was like nothing he's ever witnessed.

Filed under: Inauguration
January 22nd, 2009
10:31 AM ET

Getting aid into Gaza: Despite cease-fire, still no access

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/22/mercycorps.update.1.jpg caption="A family in Gaza returns to their home."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/22/mercycorps.update.2.jpg caption="Children in Gaza fill water containers during the cease-fire."]

Cassandra Nelson
Mercy Corps

January 19

It is the second day of the ceasefire. The Mercy Corps staff in Gaza are all very happy with the news. No one is sure if it will last, but for now I can hear the relief in their voices. Unfortunately, massive challenges and frustrations remain.

Despite the Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's comments saying aid would be distributed in Gaza, and Minister Herzog's press conference comments yesterday where he stated aid was being rushed in, most of the international aid community is still being denied access to Gaza.

Yesterday, I received good news—or so I thought. My name was cleared by the Israeli Defense Ministry to enter Gaza, along with dozens of other international aid workers.


Filed under: Crisis in Gaza • Global 360°
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