8 a.m. ET: With less than 10 weeks to go until Inauguration Day, are expectations for Barack Obama's presidency impossibly high? Yes and no, according to an interesting Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday, which concluded -- almost paradoxically -- that voters think Obama really will make the country better, but won't necessarily do all that he promised he'd do during his campaign.
Specifically, 62 percent of respondents thought Obama would be a "great" or "good" president, while only 22 percent thought he'd be "so so" or "bad." Fifty-six percent believe Obama will be able to "restore trust in government," and 70 percent expect the economy to be better by the end of Obama's first term. Respondents also expressed confidence that he would improve the nation's energy indpendence, give more people health care and make the government "work better." On the other hand, only 34 percent think Obama will be able to enact the tax cuts he has proposed, and they don't really expect him to govern from the center -- 52 percent call the president-elect a "liberal," while just 30 percent say he's "moderate."
Hopefully, the voters are not expecting a transition packed with November news. Obama did release the names of some Review Team officials for a few agencies. No other major personnel announcements, though fans of the HBO movie "Recount" will enjoy the news that Joe Biden has tapped Gore veteran Ron Klain to be his chief of staff.
Down south, Republican governors spent Wednesday lamenting the state of their party in Miami. Sarah Palin did not participate in the group lamentation, as she was too busy giving interviews. She did not rule out a presidential run in 2012, or a possible Senate run (it could be very soon, more on that in a moment).
Most importantly, Palin has already taken the lead in the Mixed Metaphor Primary, telling CNN she would consider a White House bid because "it's crazy to close a door before you know what's even open in front of you. You travel this road in life, and as you turn a corner and there may be something there that circumstances change, you've got to call an audible and you decide to shift gears, take another direction, I'm always open for that."
Up in Alaska, the Senate race is not over. In fact, it's so not over that Mark Begich actually took the lead from Ted Stevens last night. Stevens led by a few thousand votes after Election Day, but there were something like 90,000 early and absentee ballots still left to be counted. More than half were tallied yesterday, and now Begich is up by 814. Palin dodged again yesterday when asked about whether Stevens should quit, but it could just end up being a moot point.
November 13, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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