4:10 p.m. ET: So it turns out that this sleepy, post-holiday Friday did in fact bring news of a definite occupant for a vacant Senate seat. But it didn't come from New York, Illinois or Minnesota. It came from Colorado, where multiple outlets are reporting that Michael Bennet, the Denver public schools superintendent -- copy editors, take note, that's "Bennet" with one "t" -- will be named to fill the seat being vacated by Ken Salazar.
It seems that every Democrat getting a new job in Washington this month previously worked for the Clinton administration, so it's only fitting that Bennet did too (as counsel to the deputy Attorney General). In another blow for diversity of background, Bennet went to Yale Law School.
While the situation is settled in Colorado, it appears anything but in New York. The Associated Press cites "two people close to" David Paterson as saying the governor will pick Caroline Kennedy for the Empire State's senate seat. But a Paterson spokesman says "the AP story is incorrect" and there's no front-runner for the job. Either that's true, and those two sources won't be so "close" to Paterson anymore, or it's not and the governor is playing coy. Either way, if Paterson is trying to look bold and independent-minded, picking Kennedy now doesn't seem like a great move.
Over in Illinois, meanwhile, the odd standoff over Roland Burris may not last too long. Michael Madigan. the speaker of the state House, is calling his colleagues to Springfield for a possible impeachment vote next week. If Blagojevich can be ousted quickly, that will make it easier for the Senate to hold off on seating Burriss and wait for Pat Quinn to name someone else, or appoint Burriss himself.
8 a.m. ET: If you thought 2008 featured some strange and unexpected news stories, how about this for 2009: Rod Blagojevich showing up on the Senate floor to demand that the chamber seat his appointee, Roland Burris.
No, it's not likely, but it is technically possible -- yes, Blagojevich has Senate floor privileges -- and would be a fittingly surreal way to usher in the new year. The embattled governor's decision to appoint Burris to the seat, knowing that the Senate has no desire to admit him to the chamber, has given rise to any number of strange scenarios. Maybe Burris will get an office and a staff, but won't be allowed to vote. Maybe the whole thing will go to the Supreme Court (they're always good at putting controversies to rest, right?).
Perhaps the court could kill two Senate birds with one stone and step in to decide Franken v. Coleman now, too. The judicial wrangling over this contest began a while ago, with the latest step coming on New Year's Eve, when Coleman asked the state Supreme Court to stop the review of previously rejected absentee ballots. And while court challenges could prolong this saga for a while, a winner should actually be named next week.
The new year has also brought an end to the Obama family vacation in Hawaii; Might that be the clan's last real vacation for four or possibly eight years? President Bush has never been shy about stealing away to his Crawford ranch for weeks at a time. Ronald Reagan was also fond of long sojourns, while Bill Clinton was famous for taking a poll before deciding where he should vacation. Which of Obama's predecessors will be his role model on this front?
With his vacation over, Obama is now briefly in Chicago before heading for Washington this weekend. The president-elect and his family will stay in the Hay Adams until they are able to use Blair House. Obama will meet with Nancy Pelosi Monday to talk about the stimulus, and then it's a sprint to Inauguration Day. Will Burris be allowed to attend the festivities? Will Blagojevich show up? As we've seen over the last year, stranger things have happened.
January 2, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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