The Note: Reality Check for Obama Agenda

By Hope Ditto

Nov 18, 2008 8:21am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports in Tuesday’s Note:

About that hope thing — can it wait ’til January?

For all the excitement and expectations surrounding the elevation of President-elect Barack Obama, it’s a particularly grim week in Washington.

Lawmakers are reassembling for the lamest of lame-duck sessions, doubtful that they’ll get anything done. Automakers and top administration officials trudge up to Capitol Hill Tuesday for their ritualized grillings — but no one is quite sure what to do next. 

Republicans are looking for a new direction — if not an entirely new reason to exist. It’s revenge time Tuesday, too, with Sen. Joe Lieberman’s chairmanships and Sen. Ted Stevens’ whole job potentially on the line. On the House side, an upstart of a 69-year-old is trying to oust the longest-serving member of the House from his chairmanship.

The politicking and stalled policy amounts to a big reality check for a nation that voted for change two weeks ago. Yes, we can talk about working together (and if Obama and Sen. John McCain can sit together and smile for the cameras, what can’t happen?), but when it comes to governance, the same stubborn splits persist — between the parties, inside the parties, and everywhere in between. 

(If you need a smile, yourself, Sen. Ted Kennedy is back.

Read the rest of The Note — and get all the latest on the 2008 election, Congress, the White House and the wide world of politics every day — from Rick Klein by bookmarking this link.

Obama’s transition, meanwhile, is snagged on a very big question involving — who else? — the Big Dog himself.

“Mr. Clinton’s postpresidential life as a globe-trotting philanthropist, business consultant and speech-giver poses the highest hurdle for Mrs. Clinton to overcome if President-elect Barack Obama chooses to nominate her as secretary of state, according to aides of the Clintons and Mr. Obama,” The New York Times’ Don Van Natta Jr. and Jo Becker report.

“While aides to the president-elect declined Monday to discuss what sort of requirements would make it possible for Mrs. Clinton to serve as secretary of state, they said Mr. Obama would not formally offer her the job unless he was satisfied that there would be no conflicts posed by Mr. Clinton’s activities abroad.”

Said Abner J. Mikva, an Obama supporter and a White House counsel during the Clinton administration: “There would have to be full disclosure as to who all were contributors to his library and foundation. I think they’d have to be made public.”

(Maybe not everything, Obama aides advise — but it’s all under review.)

Continue reading today’s Note by clicking HERE.

ABC News’ Hope Ditto contributed to this report.

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