4:30 p.m. ET: With eight days left until Barack Obama's Inauguration, there's still time left for President Bush to issue a few more pardons, whether for past convicts like Scooter Libby or other officials who could face future prosecution for alleged mistreatment of detainees. Asked today during his final news conference whether he "might give preemptive pardons, pardons in advance" to any members of his administration, Bush refused to take the bait, saying: "I won't be discussing pardons here at this press conference."
Maybe Bush just wants some advice. Or maybe he wants to get creative and issue pardons for more than just the standard "lying under oath"-type fare. Here, then, are a few other suggestions of people Bush could pardon for offenses committed during his tenure:
Sarah Palin (for all those clothing purchases)
Steve Bartman (if you don't know who he is, you''re not a tortured Cubs fan)
Rod Blagojevich (would be kind of fun to see how much more trouble he could get into)
Got other suggestions? Please submit them in the comments section below. Time is running out!
8 a.m. ET: For all the talk last week of Congress standing up to Barack Obama on his proposed stimulus package, Leon Panetta and a handful of other flashpoints, lawmakers will get their first chance to draw actual blood Thursday when Eric Holder goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation as attorney general. The betting here is that he will be confirmed, but Republicans do plan to make things difficult for Holder over his career in private practice and his role in Clinton-era pardons.
However many Republican critics emerge this week, Team Obama is still strongly backing Holder. In an interview taped Saturday for washingtonpost.com's new video series, "The Obama Era: Voices of Change," former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe predicted there would be "a lot of support" for Holder in the Senate. Asked whether he was disappointed that Holder failed to disclose on a Senate questionnaire that he had done work for Rod Blagojevich's administration, Plouffe said, "No, not at all." Plouffe said he would not be involved in any of the "murder boards" to prepare Obama's nominees for confirmation but said he had "a lot of confidence" that their candidacies would be well-managed.
Obama himself called Holder a man of "unimpeachable integrity" -- probably a poor word choice, given the circumstances -- during his weekend interview with George Stephanopoulos, though of course the real news from that session was all about the dog.
Perhaps the First Labradoodle (or Portuguese Water Hound) will have some advice for its new masters on how to handle the economy, since the humans currently in charge don't seem able to reach consensus on much of anything. Obama and his staff want Congress to go ahead and release another $350 billion in bailout money, though Obama didn't really give a straight answer when Stephanopoulos asked whether he wanted President Bush to request the cash now. (As was the case with the auto bailout, it may be just as well for Obama to let Bush take the political hit now for doing something unpopular, even if both presidents deem it necessary.)
Speaking of the auto bailout, one of its strongest proponents on the Hill, George Voinovich, is expected to announce today that he will retire in 2010. That follows similar decisions by Kit Bond, Mel Martinez and Sam Brownback, and puts the GOP in something of an early hole for the next campaign cycle. At least they'll have a shot at the Illinois seat, which Roland Burris is likely to finally get this week. Will Burris run in 2010? Or has this whole bizarre appointment saga soured him on the Senate as a long-term career?
January 12, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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