Why wait? "More than two months before he is sworn in, Barack Obama already is facing a Congress busily asserting itself on the timing and details of the president-elect's agenda, including major issues like healthcare and economic policy," Janet Hook, Noam N. Levey, and Peter Nicholas write in the Los Angeles Times. "Committee chairmen are unveiling legislation to expand health insurance coverage and curb global warming. Democratic leaders have called a lame-duck session next week to consider an auto industry bailout. And other economic stimulus measures may be enacted even before Obama is inaugurated."
The big Democratic leadership fight: "Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) has intervened in the fight between Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), hoping to resolve their battle over the chairmanship of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, one senior Democratic aide confirmed on Wednesday," Patrick O'Connor and John Bresnahan write for Politico. "But neither combatant has agreed to a deal and the dispute may still be resolved by a secret ballot next week."
What about Joe Lieberman? "Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) called on Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to apologize for his attacks on Barack Obama, saying doing so would temporarily let him retain a key chairmanship position next Congress," The Hill's Manu Raju reports. "Bayh warned that stripping Lieberman of his chairmanship position on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee could prompt the Democrats' 2000 vice presidential nominee to side with the GOP on close votes next Congress or resign his Senate seat."
That's what Obama wants too -- but at what cost? "While it's one thing for Obama to personally forgive Lieberman for the race baiting and other gutter tactics that he engaged in on McCain's behalf during the campaign, it's quite another to let the chairmanship of such an important committee, which Lieberman has used for years to prevent Senatorial investigation into no-bid contracts and contractor abuse within the Department of Homeland Security, to serve as an olive branch," FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher writes at Huffington Post.
A counter, from The Nation's John Nichols: "It strikes me that purging members from caucuses never looks very good and never has the desired effect of achieving the ever-illusive goal of ideological purity. . . . My sense is that Democrats would be wiser to keep Lieberman in the Democratic circle for so long as he sides with the caucus on cloture votes."
"It had not been vetted. . . . It should not have made air." -- MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, after David Shuster announced that the leaks inside the McCain campaign had been coming from one Martin Eisenstadt. Eisenstadt sort of doesn't exist -- he's a hoax.
"We're glad to have you here. We missed you a great deal. And we'll let the sparring begin here in just an instant." -- White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, welcoming Helen Thomas back to the briefing room.
"No way. . . . He'll get one day, maybe." -- Thomas, to the Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva, on whether President-elect Barack Obama will get a honeymoon from the press.
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