a curious Yankee in Europe's court

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A glance at online news of politics USA

Posted on the November 23rd, 2008

I may be right, I may be wrong, but my impression is…

If it’s true, as widely reported, that President-elect Obama has chosen Hillary Clinton (in effect, the Clintons) to be his new Secretary of State, it seems to me he may be doing something analogous to pushing the reset button on a malfunctioning computer.

Could it be that by choosing Senator Clinton, Obama is re-setting USA foreign policy? Could he be (figuratively speaking) returning to the pre-Bush era of eight years ago — returning to the President Clinton era that is familiar and, more or less, reassuring to world leaders? Could it be that Obama (who reportedly is a pragmatist) sees this reset as the best possible starting point to begin building his own, distinctive foreign policy?

Some items of interest this week

I. As mentioned above, rumor has it that President-elect Barack Obama wants Senator Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State. But will former President Bill Clinton’s recent, highly lucrative, worldwide business activities pose an obstacle for her? Do some of the former president’s activities — paid speaking engagements, donations to his official library — create conflicts of interest for his wife who would be one of the highest officials in American government?  (“Bill goes to the vet” Politico.com, Nov 19, 2008).

On the other hand, some say Hillary might simply tell Obama “No thanks! (“Clinton Said to Be Unsure About Cabinet Job” The New York Times, Nov. 18, 2008).

II. Another cabinet appointment of great importance to people outside the U.S. (in light of the ongoing worldwide economic crisis) is Obama’s new Secretary of the Treasury. On Friday it was widely reported that Obama has chosen Timothy Geithner as his new Treasury Secretary — a formal announcement reportedly is expected tomorrow.

The news of this choice reportedly caused an immediate surge of optimism on Wall Street, sending markets up a soaring 500 points (“Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary” The Huffington Post).

III. President-elect Barack Obama is already doing something innovative — he’s posting his weekly, three-to-four minute radio broadcasts to the public on his newly created YouTube channel change.gov. As a helpful aid to those who need it, the video has subtitles in English.

In this week’s talk, Obama announces he has directed his economic team to assemble an Economic Recovery Plan that will save or create 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011.

IV. When she becomes First Lady, Michelle Obama says she wants to be Mom-in-Chief. What does she mean by this (“Michelle’s Closet Agenda” The Daily Beast, Nov 18, 2008)?

Hint from the article:

Don’t be fooled by her Brady Bunch moments. The Mom-in-Chief will promote feminism, speak out on Iraq, and tackle America’s public health crisis.

And one group that seems to be particularly happy with Michelle Obama becoming First Lady is the world of high fashion (“Michelle Obama’s White House Style” WWD, Nov 11, 2008). Now there’s a new website, Mrs. O, solely dedicated to daily chronicling and photos of what that style is.

It was first inspired by Mrs. Obama’s wardrobe at the Democratic National Convention in August 2008. The site hopes to be a central, ever evolving resource to chronicle Mrs. O’s look, while providing fashion commentary and information. The site will encourage visitors to contribute tips, photos and commentary, and share enthusiasm for the budding style icon, Mrs. O.

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Michelle Obama on what American voters want

Posted on the October 9th, 2008

Yesterday Michelle Obama sat down for an interview with comedian Jon Stewart of THE DAILY SHOW. An early comment she makes is that she and Barack have been campaigning for 20 months – so for those who feel as if this U.S. Presidential electoral process seems endless, I think she might agree with you.

Part I (04:14) intro blurb
Michelle Obama knows there are some people who will never vote for Barack Obama, but most Americans want a leader who will find solutions that make sense. See video here.

Part II (04:28) intro blurb
Michelle Obama puts herself in the position of a voter when she listens to her husband speak. See video here.

UPDATE: On the same day, Michelle Obama did another major interview, this one on The Larry King Show. Here she talks more seriously about various aspects of the campaign and the Obamas’ home life.

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(6th) Occasional U.S. news media round-up on presidential race

Posted on the September 1st, 2008

Defending First Ladies — past and future

A young feminist calls for her mainstream colleagues to show just as much solidariety with Michelle Obama as they did with Hillary Clinton.

Jessica Valenti, the founder of Feministing.com, writes in an essay in the UK’s Guardian that Ms. Obama is offering to be an advocate for women if she becomes First Lady, so women need also to become advocates for her as she faces sexist and racist attacks from the media (“The baiting of Ms Obama” Aug 21 2008).

Speaking of Michelle Obama

Just in case you missed it, Ms. Obama’s widely praised speech last week at the Democratic National Convention, from C-SPAN:

Obama’s mother of all text messages

Nielsen Media estimates that 2.9 million people received Obama’s text message on August 23rd announcing his selection of a vice presidential running mate, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (“Nielsen: About Three Million Got Obama Text” by Amy Schatz, Aug 25, 2008).

And how the wait drove CNN anchors a bit nuts

See the short video here at 23/6 of how the news media is having to adjust to new technology (“Obama, if you don’t text us soon, CNN will go insane!” Aug 22, 2008).

A chat with Caroline

When it came time to choose someone to help him choose a vice presidential nominee, Obama asked JFK’s daughter Caroline to help. After the choice was made, the famously reclusive Ms. Kennedy sat down with NBC‘s Tom Brokaw to talk about the process (“Caroline Kennedy Speaks On Veep Vetting Process” The Huffington Post, Aug 24, 2008). See a video clip here.

And the vice presidential nominees are…

To read the basics about Obama’s vp choice, go here (“Obama introduces Biden as running mate” CNN, Aug 23, 2008). And look here for info about McCain’s vp choice (“McCain taps Alaska Gov. Palin as vice president pick” CNN, Aug 30, 2008 ).

Crossing paths — a hurricane and the GOP Convention

The hurricane now approaching the area of New Orleans is taking priority over politics as usual. Story here (“Republicans scale back convention due to Hurricane Gustav” by Maeve Reston and Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, Sept 1, 2008).

Michael Moore explains the election

In a new book, “Mike’s Election Guide,” the famous film director offers “the definitive guide” to the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.

Moore approaches the subject with his usual satiric wit. One chapter title, for example, is “How many Democrats does it take to lose the most winnable election in American history?” A sample chapter is available to read here online.

Blogging the election

A highly regarded and informative blog about what’s happening day to day, and hour to hour sometimes, in the election is written by Marc Ambinder for the Atlantic Magazine.

Polls and pols

One of the most popular go-to blogs for news and commentary on the various political polls is here at Pollster.com. The blogger is Mark Blumenthal, bio here.

Watching Obama and his new running mate

Last night, Obama and his vice presidential running mate Joe Biden sat down for a long interview with the highly rated TV news show, Sixty Minutes. In this short video clip, Obama responds to questions about why he chose Biden, and his reaction to McCain’s vp choice, Sarah Palin:

UPDATE: See more of the interview here and here.

(See previous round-up here)

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(2nd) Occasional U.S. news media round-up on presidential race

Posted on the June 29th, 2008
  • Audition

Michelle Obama debuts on popular US daytime talk show (“‘The View’: Michelle Obama on Hillary Clinton, sexism and the vice presidency” by Sheigh Crabtree,  Los Angeles Times,  June 18, 2008).

Full 24-minute version here.

  • Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes*

Brief analysis of some recent policy choices by Obama (“Will ‘Experience’ Hurt Obama?” by Jay Newton-Small, TIME magazine, June 24, 2008).

  • Cover story

Q&A and 97 photos (“A Conversation With Barack Obama” by Jann S. Wenner, Rolling Stone, July 10, 2008).

  • A rose by any other name…*

New ways against old smears (“Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own”by Jodi Kantor, New York Times, June 29, 2008).

(See here for previous round-up)

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