The Obama campaign announces that the President-elect will meet with his general election opponent John McCain in Chicago Monday. Via a release from transition team spokesperson Stephanie Cutter:
It's well known that they share an important belief that Americans want and deserve a more effective and efficient government, and will discuss ways to work together to make that a reality. They will be joined in the meeting by Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Rahm Emanuel.
Speaking of former opponents, rumors are a-swirling that Obama's Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton is in contention for an appointment as Secretary of State. AP's Liz Sidoti writes that the appointment of several top Clinton aides to the transition team re-invigorated HRC speculation that had died down after some chatter last week. Mike Allen moves the rumors forward in this morning's Playbook:
[S]ome Obama advisers argue that Clinton would be an ideal fit if Obama concludes that he will have to focus his early days in office on the domestic economy, and will have to essentially outsource heavy-duty foreign travel to his secretary of State. Her celebrity and credibility would be a huge asset in his goal of reengaging the United States with allies. "You can send out John Kerry or Chuck Hagel," said one adviser, mentioning some other candidates for secretary of State. "Sending Hillary Clinton out is better."
Flashback...May 22, 2008. A town hall meeting in Boca Raton, FL. Asked about selecting Hillary Clinton as his running-mate, Obama said this:
One of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln. Awhile back, there was a wonderful book written by Doris Kearns Goodwin called 'Team of Rivals,' in which she talked about how Lincoln basically pulled all the people he'd been running against into his Cabinet. Because whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was, 'How can we get the country through this time of crisis?' I think that has to be the approach one takes to the vice president and the Cabinet.
Hmmm...pro: HRC has 16 years of experience dealing with foreign governments, and has relationships and standing with many overseas leaders. Con: she vocally criticized Obama's foreign policy ideas during the primaries, from Iran ("naive") to Pakistan ("reckless") to an Iraq withdrawal (she refused to set a timetable). And wasn't the early part of Obama's primary challenge against Clinton almost wholly predicated on her "bad judgment" for supporting the Iraq war resolution? Also...Bill.
But like so much else said in the heat of a campaign, perhaps those old battles can be left at the White House door. And Clinton did follow through on her promise to "work [her] heart out" to get Obama elected after his nomination was secure. In any case, no one is speaking on the record about this yet.
Speaking of campaign ghosts, former Weatherman Bill Ayers, whose relationship with Obama became a heated campaign issue this year, appeared on Good Morning America today. The occasion was a paperback re-release of his book Fugitive Days. Ayers said the militant group's actions were "wrong", "illegal", and "immoral" and urged today's protesters to use nonviolent means. But he repeated his controversial sentiment that "I don't think we did enough" to protest the Vietnam War "just as today, I don't think we've done enough to stop these wars," but denied that the Weather Underground's actions constituted terrorism. "It's not terrorism because it doesn't target people, to kill or injure."
As for his relationship with Obama, Ayers describes the President-elect as a "neighbor and family friend" in his book's new afterward. On GMA, he downplayed the friendship, saying, "we knew each other in a professional way on the same level of, say, thousands of other people." Ayers added, "I don't buy the idea that guilt by association should have any part of our politics." (Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin seems to disagree — even post-election.)
And finally, after decades of audio-only, the weekly radio address goes multi-platform. The Obama transition team announced this morning that the President-elect's office will begin posting his Saturday remarks to the transition website change.gov (and after January 20th to whitehouse.gov) as YouTube videos. The radio version will still be distributed as usual (including in podcast form). The transition team crows:
No President-elect or President has ever turned the radio address into a multi-media opportunity before. This is just one of many ways that President-elect Obama will communicate directly with the American people and make the White House and the political process more transparent.
Or at least more visual.