8 a.m. ET: Barack Obama and his team haven't reached the White House yet, but they already seem to have mastered the art of the slow-motion leak. We learned yesterday, via George Stephanopoulos, that Rahm Emanuel has been cleared in the incoming administration's internal investigation of its dealings with Rod Blagojevich. Whether that was a deliberate, strategic leak or just intrepid reporting, it served its purpose: The story trickled out on a sleepy Sunday morning, got picked up everywhere, and by today it seems like old news. Well, glad that's all cleared up! Let's move on now.
To an unusual degree given how quiet he's been so far, Joe Biden is much in the news today. Biden will be chairing a task force on "strengthening the middle class," which sounds -- even by the standards of Washington task forces -- dull and more likely to be the source of photo ops rather than real legislative action. And after Biden and Dick Cheney both made Sunday show appearances, much of the focus was on how the two men differ on the proper role of the vice presidency. Biden said he wants to "restore the balance" between the president and vice president, while Cheney said Biden wants to "diminish the office" of the No. 2.
Here's another difference: Cheney probably wouldn't be caught dead chairing a task force on strengthening the middle class. Remember, this is the VP who reportedly said no when asked whether he would head up the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. For the most part, Cheney seemed to have free rein on issues that interested him and stayed as far away as possible from those issues that didn't. What will happen the first time Obama asks Biden to do something he would rather not?
Let's journey back now to Illinois, where there is more Blagojevich news unrelated to Rahm's reported innocence. We learned this morning that one Raghuveer Nayak, otherwise known as Individual D in the now-classic criminal complaint, is seeking immunity from federal prosecutors. Nayak was allegedly pressured by Blagojevich to cough up campaign cash in exchange for Jesse Jackson Jr. being appointed to the Senate. (Jackson, by the way, was not an "informant" for the feds in the Blagojevich case.
Staying in the Midwest, an end to the Franken-Coleman recount seems so near and yet so far. Coleman is in the lead again by under 200 votes, but some previously challenged ballots will be apportioned to the two candidates today, and there are plenty more absentee ballots whose fates have yet to be resolved. Maybe Biden and Cheney could team up on a task force to end this race.
December 22, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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