Pressure against Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "Arms control advocates and anti-war activists are ratcheting up pressure on President-elect Barack Obama to dump Defense Secretary Robert Gates and replace him with a more strident anti-war voice," Politico's Jen DiMascio writes. (Anyone think Obama will be taking cues from Code Pink?) It won't be Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., at OMB. "U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad said he has turned down an opportunity to serve in a powerful position with President Barack Obama's administration," per the Grand Forks Herald. Sen. John McCain did Leno last night -- his first interview since losing the presidential race. "I salute, as you know, and admire and respect the winner: Senator-President-Elect Barack Obama," said McCain, R-Ariz., per ABC's Bret Hovell.
"I'm sleeping like a baby," McCain said. Leno: "Oh?" McCain: "Yes. I sleep two hours, I wake up crying. Sleep two hours, wake up crying."
On Sarah Palin's impact on the race: "Did you expect mavericks to stay on message?" he asked Leno with a nervous chuckle. When Leno didn't immediately jump in, McCain then fumbled around a little for what would be the next part of his answer.
"Oh, I'm sure that from time to -- well, but she was, look, I -- we did a lot of things together a lot of these rallies, and the people were very excited and inspired by her, and that's what really mattered, I think," McCain said.
Said McCain: "The one thing I think Americans don't want is a sore loser."
On running again: "I wouldn't think so, my friend. It's been a great experience and we're going to have another generation of leaders come along."
The Palin Reclamation Tour continues: She says she's not interested in running for a potentially open Senate seat. "I'm not planning on it because I think the people of Alaska will best be served with me as their governor. . . . I think the people of Alaska appreciate me where I am today as their governor," Palin said Wednesday on "Today." "The attraction is to best serve the people I will be accountable to, and right now I am accountable to the people of Alaska. They hired me as their governor and I am blessed to have the opportunity that I have to serve them as governor -- it's a great job. I love it."
"Life is pretty unpredictable and that's the excitement of life," she added. "You never know what's around the next corner, I don't know what's around the next corner, but I do know that today and tomorrow I will be in the governor's office in Anchorage and Juneau and I will be serving the people of Alaska."
On that front: "Look for the needle to move on Alaska's landmark U.S. Senate race and other tight contests this week, with the Division of Elections planning to tally more than half of the uncounted ballots Wednesday," Kyle Hopkins reports in the Anchorage Daily News.
Next for Palin: Miami, at the Republican Governors Association meeting. She's not the only star on display: "Just as more centrist Democrats like Bill Clinton emerged in the wake of Ronald Reagan's triumphs, more pragmatic Republicans like [Florida Gov. Charlie] Crist, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels and even more conservative Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal will likely be the phoenixes that rise from the GOP ashes of 2008," Time's Tim Padgett writes.