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Obama Softens Stance on Burris

By Anne E. Kornblut
President-elect Barack Obama said on Wednesday he would accept Roland Burris as his replacement in the Senate, following the lead of Senate Democrats who have softened their opposition to the candidate chosen by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"This is a Senate matter. But I know Roland Burris, obviously; he's from my home state. I think he's a fine public servant. If he gets seated then I'm going to work with Roland Burris, just like I work with all the other senators," Obama said at a press conference at his transition headquarters.

Obama, on just his fourth day in Washington, refused again to discuss the ongoing violence in the Middle East, saying there are "institutional constraints" preventing him from weighing in while President Bush is still in office. But, drawing a distinction between foreign and domestic policy, Obama put down clear markers on his economic plan. He appointed Nancy Killefer as his first chief performance officer, a new position designed to make the federal government more efficient.

Obama said Killefer is "uniquely qualified" for the task, given her business sector background streamlining workplace processes and seeking inefficiencies that can be eliminated. He said she had "worked tirelessly" to encourage creativity and initiative among employees in the past, and said he would encourage his cabinet officials and other administration managers to meet with Killefer.

Killefer spoke after Obama, saying she was "deeply honored" to become the first person to hold the position, and acknowledged that the task of bringing about greater efficiencies would take time. "The people who deliver those services, the government employees themselves, will be central to this effort," she said, echoing Obama's remarks that the federal work force itself would be the key to enhancing government performance.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 7, 2009; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Hill Transition  
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Next: President-Elect Thanks the Ex-Presidents for Their Counsel

Comments

I guess it's time for Barack to jump on the train now that it's apparently left the station.

Experience and leadership!

Posted by: lithium452 | January 8, 2009 2:51 AM | Report abuse

Maybe you missed it but Obama said Blago appointing him taints Burris and hopefully Blago would resign and give the Lt. Governor the choice. Praise for Burris afterward is simply knowing by law he gets the spot.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 7, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

So,why doesnot the TV Hog and Telepromter Speech Freak Liberal Looney Toons Loser Fake Messiah and Joker In Chief Barack Obama just shut his big mouth and start doing his own job as President of the US
not Obama and his Pal Racist Harry Ried still trying to run the total corrupt and
completely crooked Chicago Democrat political machine and butt out here.
Seat Burris Stupid!

Posted by: claudinelong | January 7, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Burris should have been seated, as long as he was not paying to play with Blagojevich. I thought the knee jerk reaction to the appointment by Obama and other Democrats was strange. I find the actions of Jesse White strange. Harry Reid found out his knee jerk reaction was a contravention of the Constitution and is laying the frame work to do a 180. Obama is doing the same.

The 'trillion dollar deficits' Obama is threatening is the same knee jerk reaction. Although, I agree that government policy played a part, deficit spending will not work or be beneficial. Government contractors will get fat, and we will have a government spending bubble.

Change the policies and get out of the way. This was not a deregulation problem. This is a stupidity problem.

When did the government allow liar loans? In 1988 they were not allowed, in 2004 they were. My two loans were documented, but in 2004 I had the option of lying like so many have.

Posted by: thelaw1 | January 7, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that OBIE just appointed an 'efficiency and productivity' czarina?

How very GOREtesque; that's what Hillary gave Gork to do for several years. I think he came up with over 500 recommendations on how to improve government efficiency--all ignored!!
....anyone have a copy of his report, not that the Czarina would plagiarize any of it?...but we are now playing under Chicago rules!

Posted by: poppadata | January 7, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

This is fun being a spectator....watching OBIE squirm as his picks for a replacement get taken out by Blago & co.; watching Reid suck the big lemon handed him by the Black Caucus; waiting for the other shoe to get thrown by Blago at Rahm & co.; and watching OBIE avoid the obvious show of sympathy and foreign policy advice over the Israeli invasion of GAZA...'an institutional matter' my ass....he backed the invasion full tilt in June and was widely quoted by M. Barak and other Israeli leaders as justification; now that's its turned into dreck, he wants to distance himself as far as he can from his endorsement. UH TOO LATE, OBIE...you're in charge now! The dead children and destroyed schools are on your watch!

Posted by: poppadata | January 7, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

PE Obama knows the more Dems in the majority, the better!. The BUSH/CHENEY Administration tallied up a national debt of $11 TRILLION dollars America!! Also tack on 2 wars and a economy thats in a bottomless pit, is what BUSH is leaving to President Obama and thats is his main concern. The Roland Burris fiasco is not on Obama's radar. The Repubs haven't learn anything after 11/4/08 which explains why the Democratic cleaned their clocks on that day. Blog on Repubs! lol

Posted by: sher2 | January 7, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Clause 5:

"Qualifications for office
No person except a natural born Citizen ... shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

immigrant2 (DRFJR):

I do have a life (I was actually golfing yesterday), but thank you very much for your concern -- I very much doubt that either one of you know American history better than I do -- regardless, as the Constitution stands today, one has to be a "natural born" citizen to become President (Art. II, Section 1). If you don't know that, you have already failed the test.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

You have to pick your battles; that's all that's happening.

Posted by: grannybunny | January 7, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

obama backs down again

hey, he's good at 2 things.. reading aloud and backing down

Just yesterday obambi said Burris should not be seated.. today is another opinion from HimSelf

Posted by: newagent99 | January 7, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

""This is a Senate matter. But I know Roland Burris, obviously; he's from my home state. I think he's a fine public servant. If he gets seated then I'm going to work with Roland Burris, just like I work with all the other senators,""

Good point Barry, so quit acting like YOU have ANYTHING to do with it!

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 7, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

We have an origin from where have education. From where we are, we don`t make race diferences bettween human beens, and we are proud with our birth certificates! People like you Jake D don`t go far in life. So do get yourself a life. We are all coming from outside America. Just read some of your own history because we, immigrants know your country history better then you, and beside couple of other contries as well including ours!! Thank you.

Posted by: immigrant2 | January 7, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I RARELY respond to anything blogged by anyone. This is a bit of free advice to JakeD: GET A LIFE!

Posted by: DRFJR | January 7, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

OhYeahBabe:

There's no law that requires the Illinois legislature and attorney general to "sign off" on the Burris appointment. My beef about this article, however, is the reference to "President-elect" Barack Obama. He is only an ex-Senator, and he has not vote in the matter either. Instead, why doesn't he worry about releasing his LONG FORM birth certificate so we can verify whether he is a "natural born" citizen or not?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Democrats in Illinois and DC would be wise to let Burris take his seat and put this matter behind them. It's only a two-year appointment, and Burris as a man in his 70s will most likely be gone after that. I understand the distaste felt toward any appointment by Blagojevich, but he is still the duly elected governor of Illinois, has not been convicted of anything, and has not been shown to have demanded or received any kind of compensation for the Burris appointment (whatever he is on record as having said about the Senate appointment in general).

Illinois law allows other state officials to block a gubernatorial appointment and leave the state unrepresented in Washington, and the Senate can decline to seat a member under its own rules. The question, though, is not whether it is possible to deny Burris his seat, but whether it is wise under the circumstances. It isn't.

Posted by: jbritt3 | January 7, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

How can the Senate legimately seat Burris if the legislature and attorney general in the state he purports to represent haven't signed off on his appointment? The matter MUST be settled in Illinois before the Senate can act. To do anything else would be to have the Senate trample on states' rights.

Posted by: OhYeahBabe | January 7, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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