4:30 p.m. ET: Didn't we just have an election? The news this afternoon is filled with tidbits about various future races, though perhaps that's because campaign stories are less depressing than all the ones about bailouts and bankruptcies emanating from Wall Street and the Hill.
Chris Matthews is now said to be in contract talks with MSNBC, a process that will eventually either preclude or hasten his entrances into the 2010 Senate race against Arlen Specter. A Rasmussen poll out today has Matthews down just 3 points in a hypothetical contest. Unfortunately for the Democratm, he may just be "an opposition researcher's dream."
In Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison has announced her plans to explore a gubernatorial run. She might even resign her Senate seat to do so (which might make a few staffers quietly happy). Who might be appointed to replace her? Any big-name Republicans soon to be back in Texas and out of a job? Hmmm. (No, it won't happen, but a blogger can dream.)
And in a brief throwback to the halcyon days of this past election, when the mere words 'Sarah Palin" were enough to send TV ratings and Web traffic into the stratosphere, it turns out the Republican National Committee is set to report that it spent an additional $30K for Palin's clothing and accessories beyond what's already been reported. See, campaign news really is more fun than that boring old economy.
8 a.m.: A spirited game of chicken over the fates of some of the biggest companies in America will continue today, as Congress and the Bush administration resume grappling over whether and how to bail out the auto industry. The latest development on that front is a new effort by Chris Dodd to win support for a plan to divert some $25 billion already earmarked to improve fuel efficiency toward helping the Big Three avert a cash crunch.
(And as was the case during the debate over the mortgage "rescue package," the head of the United Auto Workers would like it known that this would be a loan, not a "bailout." So stop using that nasty word.)
As for the other bailout(s)/rescue plan(s), the awkward presidential interregnum continues to sow uncertainty, as the Bush administration wants Obama to weigh in with more specific details of how he would like Treasury to spend the rest of the $700 billion. The "presumptive president-elect" has resisted so far, even as he keeps making extensive public comments on the economy. The latest came during his announcement Wednesday that Bill Richardson would be his Commerce Secretary.
Yes, that's the same Richardson whom James Carville compared to "Judas" not so long ago for his betrayal of the Clintons. The "Team of Rivals" atmosphere is now so thick that the Commerce nominee himself even mentioned it Wednesday. But with the addition of Judas to the team of the man mocked by critics as "The One," perhaps the comparisons to Lincoln's Cabinet should give way to Last Supper analogies.
While Obama stocks his Cabinet with people who did not or don't get along, stranger happenings are afoot in Florida. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is getting a quick burst of attention for having hung up on Obama, thinking he was an impersonator, then doing the same to Rahm Emanuel and even doubting the authenticity of a call from Howard Berman. (To quote Sean Connery in the Untouchables: "Who would claim to be that who was not?") Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has begun his elaborate dance toward the 2010 Senate race.
To the north, Chris Matthews seems to be taking an even more complicated path towards an electoral run. Will he leave MSNBC to pursue his Senate bid against Arlen Specter? Will we be treated to two full years of odd and inappropriate comments? That prospective race can't possibly be stranger than the ongoing one in Minnesota, where Al Franken is now the one complaining about disappearing ballots and other alleged shenanigans.
December 4, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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