Political Notebook

Obama repeats call to aid Clinton with debt

December 6, 2008
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President-elect Barack Obama yesterday asked supporters again to help Hillary Clinton, his former rival and now his choice for secretary of state, pay off her campaign debt.

Obama had asked soon after he and Clinton joined forces last summer, but this appeal is more urgent because once Clinton takes office, federal ethics rules severely restrict her fund-raising. "We welcome Hillary as a partner in our administration, and I hope you will show your support by helping Barack fulfill our campaign promise," said a letter signed by Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

At the beginning of November, Clinton owed $7.5 million to vendors, including about $5.3 million to the polling firm of Mark Penn, the Clintons' longtime political strategist.

Also, Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, will headline a major fund-raiser Dec. 15 in New York with "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera as master of ceremonies. Clinton also plans to sell a children's book, "Dreams Taking Flight" by Kathleen Krull, about her pioneering candidacy.


Caroline Kennedy reported interested in Senate seat

WASHINGTON - Caroline Kennedy has spoken to Governor David Paterson of New York about the US Senate seat that will open when Hillary Clinton becomes secretary of state, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Kennedy reached out to the governor to discuss the Senate seat, according to the Democratic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private. The source would not disclose the details of the conversation.

Kennedy is the daughter of President Kennedy and a niece of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and of Robert F. Kennedy, who held the New York seat from 1965 until his assassination in 1968.

As a prominent member of the Kennedy clan, Caroline Kennedy could overshadow many other New York politicians hoping to be Paterson's choice. Kennedy, who gave a high-profile endorsement to Barack Obama, spent much of 2008 taking bigger steps onto the public stage.


CNN poll assesses likely GOP candidates in 2012

It's not too early to start handicapping the Republican presidential field for 2012.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released yesterday put Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential nominee, and Mike Huckabee, who contested the presidential nomination, at the head of the pack.

According to the survey, 67 percent of Republicans said they would be very or somewhat likely to support Palin, the Alaska governor, if she ran, while 65 percent said so of Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, came in third at 61 percent, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani got 57 percent, former House speaker Newt Gingrich had 52 percent, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana had 44 percent, and Governor Charlie Crist of Florida got 32 percent.

The survey is a look at potential support, not a horse race snapshot.


Obama makes documents of transition team public

WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama is making public details and documents of official meetings between his transition team and outside organizations such as interest groups.

The policy, outlined in a memo obtained by the Associated Press, is retroactive to the Nov. 4 election and covers the transition period until Jan. 20, when Obama is sworn into office as the country's 44th president.

Dated yesterday, the memo said that the transition team will post on its website the dates and organizations represented at official meetings in the transition headquarters and in agency offices, as well as any policy documents and written policy recommendations from such meetings.


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