5 p.m. ET: Lawyers in the Coleman-Franken recount trial made closing arguments today, meaning that legal proceedings that had seemed endless are finally nearing an end. A three-judge panel will now decide which absentee ballots will be counted in the Senate contest and which won't, hopefully deciding once and for all which man will represent Minnesota in the Senate.
In the meantime, the Coleman campaign appears to have gotten itself in a bit of trouble by accidentally putting the private credit card data of its donors online months ago. Some of the information has now been published by Wikileaks, much to the embarrassment of the campaign. What will happen next in this saga? Tune in next week ...
8 a.m. ET: So much time and energy in Washington is expended trying to guess what will happen next, that we thought it might be a more useful exercise this morning to explore what we believe won't happen in the world of politics, at least not anytime soon:
No Steele Replacement. Michael Steele will not quit or be pushed out as chairman of the Republican National Committee. No, the start of his tenure has not gone well, and his confusing answer on abortion in the now-infamous GQ interview (which actually took place more than two weeks ago) and subsequent explanation/clarification didn't help matters. But the party has no appetite for another chairman fight now, or for more coverage of intraparty squabbling along the lines of the Rush Limbaugh saga, which most Republicans saw as a horrible distraction.
No Geithner Front and Center. Did the administration plan this, or just benefit from fortuitous timing? (And on Friday the 13th!) Yesterday, the embattled Tim Geithner got more mixed reviews after his latest rough appearance on the HIll. Today, economic policy will be the message of the day but Geithner won't be the messenger. This morning at the Brookings Institution, Larry Summers will deliver what the White House calls "remarks on the Obama administration’s economic program and the prospects for the American economy." Then this afternoon, President Obama will meet with Paul Volcker before making his own comments on the economy. None of this means Geithner's role has diminished, but it is a reminder that he's not the only cook in the kitchen right now.
No Deputy Treasury Secretary. At least Geithner has been confirmed by the Senate. Yesterday, Rodgin Cohen became the second candidate to pull out of the running for Geithner's deputy, and the fourth to withdraw from consideration for a major Treasury post. The Rundown is considering submitting his own name for a job there, just so he can withdraw and refuse to explain why. Everyone likes a good mystery.
No Second Stimulus. It's only been a month since the first stimulus package passed, so no, there is no appetite on Capitol Hill for doing another one soon. That might change toward the end of this year, but for now, $787 billion will have to do.
No Employee Free Choice Act. This measure, also known as "card check," might also have to wait awhile before it gets consideration in the Senate. Harry Reid said this week that the earliest he might bring it up is "before the August recess." The bill just doesn't have 60 votes, and it's not clear when it will. Who wins as this fight drags on? The lobbyists.
No Franken-Coleman Winner. Getting Al Franken in the Senate would certainly help Democrats on EFCA. But that's not happening quite yet, though at least closing arguments begin today in Norm Coleman's legal appeal. This battle has already gone on a lot longer than last night's epic Syracuse-UConn game, though it hasn't been nearly as entertaining.
March 13, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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