December 14, 2008

Bush does not allow Obama family early White House move in

On Friday, President-elect Barack Obama asked White House officials if his family could move into the White House guest home early, which he was refused, MSNBC reported.

The Blair House, the official guest house of the White House, becomes the home of the President-elect until he moves into the White House once in office.

Obama had asked to move in early because he wanted to make the transition easier for his two daughters who are to start school in Washington Jan. 5th, the Star Tribune reported.

Though the two week request is not unusual, White House officials had to deny Obama's request due to previous engagements in which the Blair House would be in use.

An Obama aide said that the President-elect still remains optimistic about the tansition, despite being denied early entrance.

December 6, 2008

Laid-off Chicago workers refuse to leave factory

Nearly 250 Chicago workers occupied their factory Saturday after learning they would be out of jobs in three days.

The workers, who were employed by Republic Windows and Doors, said they would not leave the building until they were guaranteed their severance and vacation pay, the Star Tribune reported.

The workers are blaming Bank of America for their factory closing, stating that the lender cut off credit to the factory, forcing it to close, the New York Times reported.

Some workers carried signs that read "You got bailed out, we got sold out."

Chicago police say they have no plans to remove the strikers, though they are monitoring the situation.

November 30, 2008

Obama will name Clinton secretary of state Monday

President-elect Barack Obama will officially announce Sen. Hillary Clinton as his choice for secretary of state Monday, a Democratic official said.

Clinton, along with three others, will be given positions in Obama's cabinet, the Star Tribune reported.

In addition to Obama's secretary of state pick, he will also announce his choices for U.N. ambassador, attorney general and homeland security secretary.

According to a Democratic official, Sen. Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, had to make a deal with Obama's administration to release some financial records, the New York Times reported.

Among those records was a list of the names of every contributor to his foundation since 1977, something the former president has been hesitant to give out in the past.

The official announcement will come Monday.

November 23, 2008

Bill Richardson set to be named commerce secretary in Obama cabinet

President-elect Barack Obama will name Gov. Bill Richardson his commerce secretary.

A Democratic official, who wanted to remain anonymous as they did not have permission to leak the information, said Obama will officially announce the selection after Thanksgiving, CBS News reported.

Richardson, who was recently an opponent of Obama's for the Democratic presidential nominee, has prior experience in Washington. Before becoming governor of New Mexico, he served under President Bill Clinton as U.N. ambassador and energy secretary, the Star Tribune reported.

Richardson's name came up earlier in the week as a possible contender for the Secretary of State position, which is rumored to be going to another former opponent for the presidential nominee, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

November 16, 2008

Barack Obama interviews Hillary Clinton, among others, for Secretary of State

President-elect Barack Obama met with Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Bill Richardson Friday to interview them as possible contenders for the Secretary of State position.

Clinton and Richardson were both Obama’s former opponenets for the democratic presidential nominee earlier in the year, the Star Tribune reported.

If Clinton were offered the job, she would have a Senate confirmation hearing where it is likely her husband's financial dealings would be brought up. She prevented this from happening during her presidential run.

Clinton and Obama have similar stances on global issues, especially when it comes to Iraq strategies, the New York Times reported.

If Obama were to choose Clinton as his Secretary of State, it would ensure she would not challenge him in 2012. It could also be a stepping stone for Clinton to run again in 2016 should Obama serve two terms.

November 9, 2008

The Passage of Prop 8 draws many protests

Since California's Proposition 8 passed Tuesday, several protests have ensued, drawing thousands of angry Californians.

In May, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages in California, and Prop. 8, a constitutional amendment, overturns that decision.

San Diego held the biggest protest of Prop 8 since it was passed, drawing a crowd of nearly 10,000 people, the Star Tribune reported.

This protest was peaceful, where marchers gathered and walked down Market Street, the city's main street, halting rush-hour traffic.

Police said no protesters were arrested.

Earlier in the week, California saw other protests on smaller scales, where several people were arrested, the New York Times reported.

November 1, 2008

Palin receives prank call from comedian posing as French President

Sarah Palin received a prank call Saturday from a Canadian comedian she believed to be the President of France.

The two had conversations about politics, as well as discussions on hunting, Yahoo News reported.

After learning the callers true identity later in the day, Tracey Schmitt, Palin's campaign spokesperson, said she found the matter to be funny, the Star Tribune reported.

"Governor Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy and other celebrities, in being targeted by these pranksters. C'est la vie," she said.

At one point during the phony call, the comedian reportedly told Palin she would make a good President.

"Maybe in eight years," Palin responded.

October 26, 2008

Candidates campaign in battleground western states

With nine days remaining before Election Day, Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama campaigned in Western states that are considered battlegrounds.

Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico had many stops from both campaigns over the weekend, the Wallstreet Journal reported.

The three states are toss-up states, the New York Times reported, with no clear front runner, though Obama does have a slight lead in all three states.

McCain spoke on a more intimate level to supporters, talking to smaller crowds, while Obama drew crowds of thousands.

During his stops, McCain, someone who has represented neighboring state Arizona, referred to himself as a Westerner, saying that he understood Western issues better than Obama.

"I understand land and water and Native American issues and border issues and I understand the challenges that great western states face with our growth and our needs."

In New Mexico, early voting began on Oct 18th and Democrats are outvoting Republicans 56 percent to 33 percent.

In 2004 George Bush won all three of these states, and both McCain and Obama said they hope to do the same.

October 19, 2008

Obama draws crowds in the thousands at campaign stops

In Missouri Saturday, Barack Obama drew crowds at campaign stops that neared 100,000.

With 17 days left before the election, Obama visited battleground state Missouri and was greeted by crowds of people in the tens of thousands, the Star Tribune reported.

His first stop was in St. Louis at the Gateway Arch where it is estimated that 100,000 people came out to here the Presidential hopeful speak. This is a U.S. campaigning record, the Wallstreet Journal reported.

Later that day, Obama traveled to Kansas City and attracted another large crowd of 75,000 people.

John McCain also traveled to battleground states Saturday, going to Virginia and North Carolina. McCain attracted a few thousand people at each stop he made, though none reached as high as Obama.

With two and a half weeks left before the election, both candidates are expected to continue to make appearances in battleground states to win over undecided voters.

October 12, 2008

Clintons set to start campaigning for Obama

Sunday will mark the start of former President Bill Clinton, and his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign kick-off for an Obama-Biden ticket in Pennsylvania.

Biden is hosting a event in the city of Scranton and the former first couple will be joining him, the Star Tribune reported.

Scranton is often seen as home to many blue collar workers. It also happens to be the hometown of VP hopeful, Biden, as well as the city where Sen. Clinton's father grew up. Both spoke of their roots to Scranton during the primaries to show their roots to the workers, Yahoo News reported.

After Sunday's rally, the Clintons will travel to many battle states in hopes of increasing Obama's lead over McCain an ensuring a democrat win come election day.

October 3, 2008

Congress passes $700 billion bailout

President Bush signed the $700 billion bailout Friday after Congress approved the bill they rejected earlier in the week.

The House voted 263-171 in favor of the bailout, the Star Tribune reported. Earlier in the week, the House had rejected the bill. By Friday, 58 democrats and republicans had switched their opposition to support.

Many of those that changed their vote said they did so because they felt it was one of the only solutions for the dwindling economy.

"In these past two weeks, we've seen things we never thought we would see before in terms of the economic insecurity of our own country," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Some of those that initially rejected the bill feel as though they did the right thing by switching their vote, despite the concern of their constituents.

"I may lose this race over this vote, but that's OK with me," said Republican Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, "This is the right vote for the country."

Although 33 democrats switched their votes to support the bill, many said they will tighten the control so things do not get out of hand, the New York Times reported.

“High-fliers on Wall Street will no longer be able to jeopardize that personal economic security of Americans,? Pelosi said, “because of the bright light of scrutiny, accountability and the attention given under regulatory reform.?

The bailout is the most expensive intervention from the government in history.

September 27, 2008

First 2008 Presidential Debate: economy and foreign policy the hot issues

The first 2008 Presidential Debate between John McCain and Barack Obama kicked off Friday at the University of Mississippi, where economic and foreign policy issues were the chief topics for the night.

With just six weeks left until the presidential election, Obama and McCain are now facing off on the issues that are on most Americans' minds right now: the economy and foreign policy. While McCain talked about his experience throughout the night, Obama took a different approach and talked about changing the country's course, USA Today reported.

The first topic of the night went to the $700 billion dollar bailout that is being proposed to Congress. Neither Obama nor McCain directly supported, nor opposed the bailout, the Star Tribune reported, but both agreed that Congress needs to do something quickly to help stop millions of Americans from losing their jobs and homes.

McCain proposed an economic freeze on federal spending, excluding veterans programs, national defense and entitlements, should the bailout happen. Obama criticized that statement.

"You're using a hatchet when you need a scalpel," Obama said. He went on to say that McCain's idea would cut off support to programs that are already under funded, such as early childhood education programs.

The topic then turned to foreign policy, where the War in Iraq was brought up. Obama opposed the 2002 invasion, where McCain supported it.

McCain accused Obama of voting to cut off funds to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama retorted that what he opposed was giving a blank check to the Pentagon. He then criticized McCain for not supporting any timetable or troop withdrawal efforts.

"John, you like to pretend the war began in 2007," said Obama.

McCain replied that Obama has not yet acknowledged the success of his own recommended troop build up in Iraq.

The two presidential hopefuls were polite to each other throughout the night. According to a Star Tribune poll, Obama was seen as more favorable in last night's debate, where as McCain was favored when it came to foreign policy.

The next debate is scheduled for Oct 7 at Belmont University in Nashville.

September 20, 2008

Bush requests $700 billion for troubled financial institutes

In what would be the biggest financial buyout since the Great Depression, President Bush, Saturday, requested $700 billion from Congress to purchase bad mortgages.

With the economy edging towards a recession, President Bush has drafted a new bill that would seek $700 billion dollars from Congress, allowing the government the power to buy the bad mortgages of failing financial institutes, such as banks and business, MSNBC reported.

"This is a big package because it was a big problem," said President Bush.

The Star Tribune reported that in order to make room for the rescue, Bush's plan would increase the statutory limit on the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

Though as of now it is unknown what the government will get in return for the bailouts, President Bush said that he is ultimately worried about the financial problems of the economy affecting the average citizen.

"The risk of not acting would be far higher," the president said.

September 14, 2008

Hurricaine Ike Drives Up Gas Prices

Not in the South? Hurricane Ike will still hit you financially.

The New York Times reported that Hurricane Ike has destroyed over 15 percent of the nation’s oil refining capacity. This has caused an average increase in gas of five cents a gallon across the country. The increase comes after a drop in the price of oil on the international market.

Operations at the refineries are expected to be halted for at least a week. It is still uncertain what the exact damage is that has been caused, as the Hurricane is still in effect.

Although the national increase is reportedly only about five cents, the South has experienced major inflation in gas prices, reported CNN. Some Southern gas stations have raised their gas prices to nearly $5 a gallon.

"I know the hurricane is causing a spike, but ... [nearly] $1.50 in 24 hours?" said Sean Kennedy, a Tennessee native.

The increased gas prices caused President Bush to issue a brief televised statement Saturday, stating that he will make sure the price of gas does not get too high. "...the Department of Energy, the Federal Trade Commission and, I know, the state authorities will be monitoring the gasoline prices to make sure consumers are not being gouged," said the president.

Although the president issued this statement, gas prices appear to be increasing more and more around the nation.