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Eye Opener: Jan. 5, 2009

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener
Happy Monday! Things get very busy around Washington starting today as the President-elect temporarily moves into the Hay-Adams Hotel and prepares to sell his economic stimulus plan to Congressional leaders. Two elements The Eye will be watching: Obama's proposal to create up to 600,000 public sector jobs and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's vow to take on waste at federal agencies.

“We will have reforms related to waste, fraud and abuse,” Pelosi says in today's New York Times, which also reports that "Other Congressional officials said House Democrats would consider a plan this week requiring a new audit of all federal agencies and mandating Congressional hearings whenever inspectors general identify potential waste or fraud."

Republicans are "likely to resist" Obama's plans to create so many new government positions as part of the broader plan to create 3 million jobs reports The Post's Shailagh Murray. "That's about the size of the post office workforce," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Sunday on ABC. "Is that a good idea?"

As for Bill Richardson's decision to withdraw his name for consideration as commerce secretary, "A legal source familiar with the investigation said yesterday that FBI agents, working on the Senate's behalf and conducting a background check of Richardson for the Commerce job, conveyed to Obama's transition team the seriousness and significance of the Albuquerque grand jury probe," reports The Post's Michael D. Shear and Carol D. Leonnig. "The agents are said to have communicated that the governor's top aides -- and even Richardson's actions -- were under scrutiny. At least two sources familiar with the investigation said some evidence raises concern about the propriety of the Richardson administration's interactions with a donor."

In other news...

Obama Nominees, Take Note: "Your role is that of a bridegroom at a wedding. Accordingly, you should: Stay out of the way. Be on time. Keep your mouth shut," writes DLA Piper's Tom C. Korologos in today's Post about government nominees. "You should spend every waking moment preparing. But do not ever assume that you have the job, nor go anywhere near the agency/office to which you have been nominated. Do not meet with lobbyists, the media or any outside groups that have an interest in your agency; reserve any comments for the hearing." Korologos has assisted, on a pro bono basis, win more than 300 presidential nominees since 1963... amazing! It's a fantastic how-to guide whether or not you face a Senate confirmation hearing.

At NASA, It's Personal: Today's In the Loop column reports that NASA administrator Michael Griffin seems to be lobbying to keep his current job in the next administration. He sent a letter to Obama thanking him for previous support of NASA-supported legislation, there's an online petition and his wife has asked friends to sign it. "Griffin's press secretary, David Mould, told the Associated Press that Griffin isn't campaigning and expects the incoming president to name a new administrator. But Griffin would be 'honored' to be asked to stay on, Mould said. 'A lot of people seem to like and support Mike and think he's doing a good job,' he said."

Gates' Fine Print: The Post's Walter Pincus takes another look at speeches, interviews and other statements by Defense Secretary Robert Gates as he prepares to serve a new president.

FAA Whistleblower Settlement: The AP reports that the FAA "has reached a settlement with an air traffic controller who said he was retaliated against for warning that a takeoff and landing procedure in Memphis, Tenn., had led to near midair collisions." More: "Nesbitt complained he was retaliated against by FAA managers after he sent letters about safety concerns to the National Transportation Safety Board and Congress and filed a report to a confidential aviation safety reporting database maintained by NASA. He was removed from air traffic control duties, assigned to office work and ordered to take part in a remedial training program for controllers, Williamson said."

Events: Tomorrow the Council for Excellence in Government, the Senior Executives Association, Harvard Business Publishing and washingtonpost.com co-sponsor a workshop with Dr. Michael Watkins, author of the international best-sellers, "The First Ninety Days" and "The First Ninety Days in Government." The event will be held at the National Press Club from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. See you there!

This Day in History: On this date in 1914, Henry Ford, head of the Ford Motor Company, introduced a minimum wage scale of $5 per day. More here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 5, 2009; 7:53 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

Is the Bush administration already over? While pols grumble about how the Obama administration may conduct itself, the Bush administration is still green-lighting the Gaza operation, and shielding Israel from its consequences. Bush is STILL running up bills the Obama administration is going to be stuck with, and is doing so with ruthless abandon.

Bush is still making trouble on a global scale, and we dispute over government jobs.

What a country.

Posted by: lonquest | January 5, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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