The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



LaHood Gets a Warm Welcome on the Hill

By Carol D. Leonnig
Former representative Ray LaHood was warmly received at his Cabinet confirmation hearing this afternoon, as he promised to be a "hands on" transportation secretary who would focus on delivering more than $43 billions in new road- and bridge-building projects to help jump-start the economy.

The greeting for the former seven-term member from Illinois -- who had worked alongside several Senate Commerce Committee members when they had served in the House -- was so genial that several senators treated the committee's nod as a foregone conclusion.

LaHood, 62, who chose not to seek re-election last year, will be the only Republican in Obama's cabinet and was praised for his practical, bipartisan approach as a member of Congress.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., began to address LaHood as "our soon to be --" before stopping himself.

"Well, I won't preempt the committee, but so far, doing pretty good," he said to LaHood, as the room broke into laughter.

In addition to pledging to launch stimulus projects that could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, LaHood committed to doing most of what committee members asked him to do at the hearing. Tops on his list of promises were: fixing chronic budget shortages in a pot of funds meant to maintain federal highways and bridges, putting in place an expensive new technology to reduce delays in airline travel, supporting Amtrak train service, and striving to meet a deadline for more fuel-efficient cars.

"I know this Next Gen stuff is expensive, but we have to do it," LaHood said of the air traffic technology. "The flying public deserves it."

"We're going to meet the standard, Senator," LaHood said of the fuel efficiency deadline.

LaHood also said he sympathized with a Democratic member who said the previous Transportation Department had been "arrogant" in rejecting Congress' input.

And he agreed with the ranking committee Republican, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, that the previous administration had wrongly over-emphasized financing transportation projects with private tolls.

Posted at 6:13 PM ET on Jan 21, 2009  | Category:  Cabinet
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One of the problems that I see is that everyone seems to think that "taking an oath" infers using a bible. It does not.
According to Wiki "An oath (from Anglo-Saxon āð, also called plight) is either a promise or a statement of fact calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. To swear is to take an oath."

As in "on my mothers grave."

Posted by: RetCombatVet | January 22, 2009 3:33 PM

It's not "all" over. We still need to see his LONG FORM birth certificate.

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 9:42 PM

Obama became President at 12:00 noon as the law requires whether or not he took the oath of office.
Posted by: JRM2 | January 21, 2009 8:19 PM

Not! Read Article II, Section 1. It requires the oath before "entering" the office. But, it's all over anyway. According to a new story in WaPo, Obama was sworn again, "out of an abundance of caution."

Posted by: infuse | January 21, 2009 8:28 PM

Obama became President at 12:00 noon as the law requires whether or not he took the oath of office.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 21, 2009 8:19 PM

What do you mean, "Only Republican in the Cabinet"? What's Robert Gates - chopped liver?

Posted by: middleagedfogey | January 21, 2009 8:06 PM

So JakeD, why not sue Roberts for screwing it up? But then again, how do you know it was not administered correctly later in the day?

Posted by: infuse | January 21, 2009 7:41 PM

The ONLY Republican in his cabinet? What do you think Secretary of Defense is? Petraeus' gopher?

The last I knew Bob Gates is still a Republican.

Posted by: infuse | January 21, 2009 7:39 PM

LaHood is a good man. Confirm him.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 21, 2009 7:25 PM

Wait a minute, are you Obamaniacs actually contending that the 20th Amendment deleted the Constitutional requirement for a President to take an oath of office?

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 7:21 PM

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 7:09 PM


If The One had REFUSED to take any oath yesterday, would you still think he was President? Raymond HUSSEIN LaHood was not legally nominated.

The Presidential oath is explicitly prescribed in the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, which begins by saying the president "shall" take the oath "before he enter on the execution of his office."

Posted by: JakeD | January 21, 2009 6:23 PM

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