Roughly equivalent to Iranian Intelligence coming over here and helping with...anything.
UPDATE (9:14pm Pacific): According to the Times of India, not so much.
“From our point of view, it looks pretty damn good because of continuity and stability,” said an Obama adviser, who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations. “And I don’t think there are any ideological problems.”
In deciding to ask Mr. Gates to stay, Mr. Obama put aside concerns that he would send a jarring signal after a political campaign in which he made opposition to the war his signature issue in the early days. Some Democrats who have advised his campaign quietly complained that he was undercutting his own message and risked alienating war critics who formed his initial base of support, especially after tapping his primary rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, for secretary of state.
But advisers argued that Mr. Gates was a practical public servant who was also interested in drawing down troops in Iraq when conditions allow.
But it also stirred a debate inside Mr. Obama’s circles, where some advisers worried that the decision to turn to a Republican appointee — something President Bill Clinton did in naming William S. Cohen to the defense post in 1997 — would reinforce the notion that Democrats could not manage the military. “It makes them look like they’re too wimpy to be trusted to run the building,” said one adviser who asked not to be named.
Keeping Mr. Gates after a polarizing campaign on the war also seemed incongruous to some. “I really can’t begin to understand from a political point of view how Barack Obama, a person who got the nomination because he ran against the Iraq war, can keep around the guy who’s been in charge of it for the last two years,” said Loren B. Thompson, head of the Lexington Institute, a research organization.
It is the goal of the Lexington Institute to inform, educate, and shape the public debate of national priorities in those areas that are of surpassing importance to the future success of democracy, such as national security, education reform, tax reform, immigration and federal policy concerning science and technology. By promoting America's ability to project power around the globe we not only defend the homeland of democracy, but also sustain the international stability in which other free-market democracies can thrive.
So far, Mr. Biden has not been given a defined portfolio, the way Al Gore was given the environment and technology in 1992. And Mr. Obama’s aides say they do not expect Mr. Biden to assume the kind of muscular role that Vice President Dick Cheney has played over the last eight years, although he is expected to put out a number of fires.
Biden, who had stayed neutral in the Democratic primaries after dropping out in January, told Obama that he was "ready to be second fiddle" and sought no specific portfolio—but only if he got a guaranteed hourlong, one-on-one session with the president every week (like Al Gore's lunches with Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush's with Ronald Reagan) and a presence at all important meetings. Obama said yes, that he wanted him for his judgment and for his help in enacting a big legislative agenda. And so the job was defined: "My role will be to say, 'Boss, here's the way I'd go about it'."
Mr. Biden is spending most weekdays in Chicago, where he stays in a hotel and has lunch once a week with Mr. Obama. During the days, Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama and a coterie of advisers are in the team’s transition offices, going through possible hires. Mr. Biden has been involved in cabinet and policy decisions, offering advice to the president-elect, aides said.
Mr. Obama’s aides say Mr. Biden has backed the decision to appoint Mrs. Clinton secretary of state. “If he had made an argument against it, it would have carried a lot of weight,” a senior aide to the transition said. “He was totally in support of it.”
Gates has been negotiating with Obama emissaries over his deputies — some will be retained, and some new — and how the Pentagon will be run.
Reginald Simpson, a student at Pearl Junior High, explained that when students on the bus started saying, "Obama is our president," the bus driver told them she didn't want to hear his name. One kid said, "This is history woman," and according to Simpson, "She pulled over and kicked me and the kid off the bus." They were left waiting at the high school and later taken to their own school.
“A complete prohibition of political speech violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and will not be tolerated,” the ACLU said in a statement. “This election should serve as an opportunity to educate students and encourage tolerance.”
The ACLU is encouraging students and parents to contact the group if they are subjected to or witness any form of restrictions on speech, discipline, or santions in response to protected speech activities. Call (601) 354-3408 or 888-354-ACLU (2258).
President Hugo Chávez’s supporters suffered defeat in several state and municipal races on Sunday, with the opposition retaining power in Zulia, the country’s most populous state, and winning crucial races here in the capital, the National Electoral Council said.
Pro-Chávez candidates won 17 of the 22 governor’s races at stake. Many of the seats that Mr. Chavez’s supporters did win were in relatively sparsely populated rural states.
President Hugo Chavez's candidates won a majority of the governor's elections in Venezuela on Sunday, but opposition forces could point to gains with victories in several major states as well as the capital city, Caracas.
The new First Lady will have the chance to knock down ugly stereotypes about black women and educate the world about American black culture more generally. But perhaps more important—even apart from what her husband can do—Michelle has the power to change the way African-Americans see ourselves, our lives and our possibilities.
The Obamas may enforce a bit of normalcy by making the kids do chores and make their beds—advice that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis gave to Hillary in 1992. But the Obama family will grapple with issues that former first kids haven't had to face. Chelsea Clinton, the last girl of a similar age in the White House, grew up well before the era of Facebook and cell-phone snapshots. Banning Facebook entirely could risk alienating the Obama girls from their peers, but restrictions will almost certainly be necessary for their own protection. Schools that were once valued for their ability to protect famous kids from prying eyes are now wide open if their students choose to post photos or status updates.
It's just unknown. And like any new thing, it feels a bit daunting until you have your plan. What I do know is that once the pieces start coming together, I think that's when the excitement can begin. When the girls know what school they're going to be in, they'll have a sense of how that's going to feel, and they'll know what their rooms look like. All my anticipation is really around the girls, making sure that they're OK. Barack and I … it's going to be a hard job. He likes hard jobs [laughs]. We know we have a lot of work to do. That's just a natural part of it. But as soon as I know that the kids are where they need to be, the other stuff is just hard work, which we are used to.UPDATE: I should have noted, but the Michelle Interview was conducted on the Campaign Trail, so it's not new.
Mr. Scowcroft spoke by phone with President-elect Barack Obama last week, the latest in a months-long series of conversations between the two men about defense and foreign-policy issues, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was deputy national-security adviser under Mr. Scowcroft in the George H.W. Bush administration, is almost certain to be retained by Mr. Obama, according to aides to the president-elect. Richard Haass, a Scowcroft protégé and former State Department official, could be tapped for a senior National Security Council, State Department or intelligence position. Mr. Haass currently runs the Council on Foreign Relations.
Other prominent Republicans with close ties to Mr. Obama include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who endorsed the Democrat in the final days of the campaign, and Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Mr. Scowcroft's re-emergence caps a tumultuous few years for the 83-year-old former Air Force general. In the run-up to the Iraq war, Mr. Scowcroft wrote an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal arguing against an invasion and warning that it would "seriously jeopardize, if not destroy" the Bush administration's war on terrorism. In speeches and interviews, he regularly criticized both the decision to invade Iraq and the Bush team's handling of the war effort.
The White House responded by removing Mr. Scowcroft from his position as chairman of a foreign intelligence advisory board. Defenders of the Bush policy say the president has planted the seeds of democracy in the Middle East and preserved strong ties with Israel, which had a tense relationship with the elder President Bush when Mr. Scowcroft was national-security adviser.
Mr. Scowcroft, who stayed neutral in this year's presidential campaign, is a prominent advocate of a "realist" approach to foreign policy that favors deal-making over the ideological commitments the second Bush administration was known for.
"He said before the war that this is a war of choice that we shouldn't be engaged in. I think that has resonated with Obama," said Amy Zegart, a public-policy professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who served as an adviser on national-security matters to Mr. Bush's 2000 campaign.