4:45 p.m. ET: As we speak, lawyers for the Obama transition effort are busily vetting Hillary and Bill Clinton's finances and other professional entanglements to determine whether she can serve as Secretary of State without raising too many headaches and/or conflicts of interests.
So how's that vetting process going? Depends on who you (anonymously) ask.
On one hand, we have this Politico report. Headlined, "Bill vetting could cost Hillary her Cabinet post," the story says Obama's "aides are becoming exasperated by the Clinton camp’s pokey response to demands for extensive information about former President Bill Clinton’s finances, according to numerous Democrats involved in the process."
On the other hand, sort of, we have this story from Huffington Post, titled "Clinton Aides Comfortable With Bill's Vetting, Worried About Press." It says, "Aides and advisers to the Clintons feel comfortable that the vetting of Bill Clinton will not disqualify Hillary from becoming Secretary of State. ... Nevertheless, there is a concern that critical media coverage could sour the Obama and Clinton camp's view of the arrangement and hurt Sen. Clinton's chances of ending up at the post."
So, which anonymous sources are right? Either Obama really wants to pick Clinton, but his people are growing irritated with her people. Or Obama really wants to pick Clinton, but the media might mess it up by suggesting there is tension and huge obstacles that don't really exist.
The consistent theme in these stories, and others, is that Obama wants to pick Clinton, and she wants to be picked. The logical conclusion, then, is that it will get done, one way or another. But nothing about politics this year, particularly when it comes to these two politicians, has been predictable. It might be best to just wait and see what happens. Or so our sources tell us.
8 a.m. ET: Much of what has been mostly talk since Election Day will turn to action this week: Barack Obama will sit down with John McCain today to mend fences while his incoming administration continues staffing up, and Congress returns to town to deal with a few leadership races and an auto industry bailout with dubious prospects for success.
The winner gets home-field advantage, so McCain will travel to Chicago to meet Obama at the latter's transition office. They will be joined by Lindsey Graham and Rahm Emanuel, making a foursome that is ripe for transformation into a sitcom or road trip movie (a black guy, a Jewish guy, a southerner, an elderly guy, a lot of cursing -- you get the idea ...).
On the personnel front, the steady accumulation of current and former Clinton administration staffers continues with the addition of Greg Craig to the team as White House counsel, a process that could culminate with the installation of an actual Clinton (no, not Chelsea or Roger, fantastic as that might be) at Foggy Bottom. Hillary got lots of praise on the Sunday shows, including from Republicans, but nothing seems certain until the Obama camp finishes vetting Bill and figures out how he can keep being a globetrotting philanthropist/rainmaker without stirring up conflicts.
On the other hand, over the weekend, the campaign announced that Pete Rouse, Jim Messina and Valerie Jarrett -- none of them known Clintonites -- would all be coming into the White House in senior staff roles, so 44's staff meetings won't quite be an exact replica of 42's.
On the Hill, Democrats will be looking to pass a bill giving $25 billion in emergency aid to automakers. The plan is opposed by President Bush and looks unlikely to get through the Senate, especially since Democrats now have one fewer vote in the chamber after Obama's resignation.
A smattering of unexciting leadership races is also on tap, as John Boehner faces token opposition from Dan Lungren to lead House Republicans, and Pete Sessions and Tom Cole battle to run the campaign arm. The Democratic lineup is mostly set with Waxman vs. Dingell for the Energy and Commerce chairmanship the main event.
November 17, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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