The Earlybird: Today's headlines

  • President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are no closer to a compromise on campaign finance reform after a 45-minute meeting in the Oval Office Wednesday, Reuters reports.
  • Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, head of the Senate Finance Committee, warned President Bush on Wednesday that he will have to compromise on his tax cut plan, the Washington Post reports.
  • Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan will testify before the Senate Budget Committee about the tax cut issue today, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said he and House Democrats will "create a select committee on election reform," the Washington Post reports. The Los Angeles Times reports that congressional leaders met with Bush Wednesday to discuss election reform and said "he seemed receptive" to the idea.
  • Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., may "have retracted his claws a little after a White House meeting with Bush, displaying a willingness to work with him" on education, Roll Call reports.
  • On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., "called the Justice Department a 'cesspool'" during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce lunch, reports.
  • The House Democratic Caucus is on "unsure footing" as it prepares for its retreat next weekend, Roll Call reports.
Confirmations Abound
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to confirm Interior Secretary nominee Gale Norton, one of Bush's "most controversial nominees," on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
  • Also yesterday, the full Senate voted 100-0 to confirm Tommy Thompson as secretary of health and human services and Norman Mineta as secretary of transportation, the Washington Post reports.
  • Mineta warned the Senate Wednesday "that flight delays this summer will likely be as bad or worse than the past two years," Reuters reports.
  • Labor Secretary nominee Elaine Chao "sailed through her confirmation hearing yesterday," the Washington Post reports. Chao "would be the highest-ranking Asian American woman ever to serve in the federal government if confirmed."
  • Christie Todd Whitman, nominee for secretary of the EPA, "will have to wait at least until next week to be confirmed," the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee "said they wanted more time to review the 65 pages of questions and answers she submitted Monday."
Tough Orientation
  • "A health care expert who applied for a top Cabinet post in Missouri's government contends then-Gov. John D. Ashcroft questioned him about his sexual orientation during a job interview," the Washington Post reports. Although that line of questioning is legal in Missouri, Ashcroft posed "the query in a way that indicated he would not be hired if he were gay."
  • "James Hormel, who became the nation's first openly gay ambassador over the objections of then-Sen. John Ashcroft and others, is returning fire in urging the Senate to reject Ashcroft's nomination as attorney general," AP reports.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., "on Wednesday became the first Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to announce her opposition to the nominee, citing a record she said can 'only be characterized as ultra-right-wing,'" the Dallas Morning News reports.
  • Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., told Bush "that he need not worry about getting confirmation for his cabinet choices, including" Ashcroft, the New York Times reports.
Professor Gore
  • "Former Vice President Al Gore has accepted a visiting professor position at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism for the current semester," reports. The New York Times reports that Gore also will teach at two Tennessee universities -- Middle Tennessee State and Fisk -- and write a book with his wife, Tipper.
  • Liberal and moderate Democratic leaders met Wednesday in D.C. to discuss what went wrong in the November election, the Washington Post reports. "Gore's campaign gave ammunition to both sides, as he often bounced between staunchly populist messages and more centrist themes dear to self-described New Democrats."
  • The Democratic Leadership Council contends "Gore's populist presidential campaign wasn't aimed at the suburban residents, moderates and upper-middle-class whites he needed," AP reports.
Other Legacies Of Election 2000
  • Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., "is ready to open up a leadership political action committee," Roll Call reports. "The PAC would enable Lieberman, already being mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2004, to pay for his political travels and help him honor the many requests from across the country to attend fundraisers for other candidates."
  • "The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by a man who challenged the constitutionality of the state's manual recount law after the presidential election," AP reports.
World Impact
  • After a two-day break, Israel will return to peace talks with the Palestinians today, the New York Times reports.
  • Ariel Sharon, the leading candidate for Israeli prime minister, said Wednesday "that he wants President Bush to participate in the Middle East peace process -- as long as he doesn't pressure Israel to make concessions," the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin "sent a letter to President Bush this week proposing broader Russian-American cooperation," the New York Times reports.
  • The captain of the tanker "that spilled at least 185,000 gallons of fuel in the Galapagos Islands" last week was arrested Wednesday, AP reports.
  • Mexican President Vicente Fox "on Wednesday declared a nationwide war on narcotics trafficking and organized crime," AP reports. The Washington Post reports that the announcement comes less than a week after a drug lord in Mexico escaped from prison.
Government Taking Charge
  • "In one of her last acts before leaving office last week, Attorney General Janet Reno lifted most of the government's restrictions on five Iraqi opposition members who have been unable to leave Nebraska's Lancaster County for a year and a half," the Washington Post reports.
  • The Department of Defense on Wednesday "took control... of the investigation into accusations of falsified maintenance records for the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey aircraft program," the New York Times reports.
Business Interests
  • "The oil industry has begun a major campaign for changes in the strict clean-air standards for buses and big trucks that were ordered late last year by the Clinton administration," the New York Times reports.
  • Lucent Technologies Inc. plans to eliminate 16,000 jobs because of slowing sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Upcoming Races
  • Roll Call reports on the "Southern Cycle" -- ten open Senate seats in 2002 that Democrats are jockeying for. Eight "of those 10 races are for seats held by Republicans, including that of" Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., "the only Senator who has already said he'll retire when his term expires in 2003."
  • In Pennsylvania, Blair County Republican Chairman John Eichelberger (R) announced yesterday that he is running in the special election to fill retiring Rep. Bud Shuster's (R) seat. He will face Shuster's son, Bill Shuster, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
All In Good Fun
  • The Clinton staffers who removed the "w" from office typewriters weren't the first ones to play a prank: The Washington Post reports that "back in January 1993, departing staffers of the first Bush administration perpetrated pranks of their own on the newcomers," including notes that said, "We'll be back."
  • The White House Web site -- which is being revamped for the new administration -- is under construction and "nearly empty," the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
  • The Presidential Inaugural Committee raised $40 million, surpassing "the $33 million spent by President Clinton for his 1993 inaugural," AP reports.
Names In The News
  • "Several angry vendors who worked for" Rick Lazio's (R) failed New York Senate bid "are considering legal action to recover several hundred thousand dollars in payments for what they claim to be legitimate services," Roll Call reports.
  • Jeff Cole, aerospace editor of the Wall Street Journal, died in a plane crash, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plane was being piloted by Michael A. Chowdry, the founder and chairman of Atlas Air.
  • Former Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler has a new namesake -- "a newly discovered dinosaur named in his honor," Reuters reports. Masiakasaurus knopfleri's fossils were discovered while American scientist Scott Sampson was listening to the 1980s rock band.
  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke yesterday in New York, where he "lambasted Republicans for winning the U.S. presidency 'by any means necessary.'" The civil rights leader made "no reference to last week's news that he fathered a daughter outside his marriage. But he did express his frustration with the media attention," Reuters reports.

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