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Check and Checkmate by President Obama?

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Danville, California --

I must take a break from promoting my book to talk about the political move of the day. In an effort to increase his bipartisan governance, President Obama may ask Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican from New Hampshire, to be Secretary of Commerce. Gregg would replace Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), who withdrew because he is under investigation.

Here is the intriguing part: Currently there are 59 Democrats and 41 Republicans in the U.S. Senate (if you include Al Franken (D-MN), although he has yet to be sworn in because the election is being challenged in court). Assuming Judd Gregg becomes Commerce Secretary, the Governor of New Hampshire will select his replacement in the Senate.

The Governor of New Hampshire is John Lynch, a moderate Democrat. If he picks a fellow Democrat for the Senate seat, then the balance will be 60 Democrats to 40 Republicans. Sixty votes is the number neeeded by the Democrats to prevent a Republican filibuster, which is about the only leverage Republicans have in Congress right now.

So, will Gregg take the Cabinet post, or be pressured by his own party to stay in the Senate? Or, if Gregg does go to the Cabinet, will Gov. Lynch honor the will of the people and appoint a Republican to fill Gregg's seat until the 2010 election.

Democrats were already targeting Gregg's Senate seat as vulnerable.

This is Washington intrigue at its finest. The move could either help Obama lead a more bipartisan government, or it could blow up in his face and lead to bitter division in the nation's capital.

Stay tuned! Keep coming back to www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

My book is for sale: "Age of Obama: A Reporter's Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008" is available from www.Amazon.com. Just click on the book button on the right side of this page!

Bill Ayers: To Speak, or Not to Speak

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(Moraga, California)

I am a Doctoral student at St. Mary’s College of California. I love my school! I am also a great proponent of free speech. Given how I make my living, I like to see a vigorous and open debate of all issues.

I know the decision to have former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers speak Wednesday night at St. Mary's was very controversial. By his own admission, Ayers was involved in dangerous acts of domestic terror as a protest to the Vietnam War. More recently, his associations with candidate Barack Obama stirred controversy during the Presidential campaign.

As an academic institution, St. Mary’s was within its rights to invite Ayers, who now makes his living as an educator. And the protesters were within their rights to object. The First Amendment grants ALL the right to free speech and free assembly. Sometimes, in the heat of passion, we forget that; but these are some of the basic tenets that have helped our democracy to survive all these years.

To me, the internet has extended the reach of those rights in a mostly positive way. To that end, I have listed a few links below. One is to the St. Mary’s College website; another is to the "Contra Costa Times"; and the final is a link to one of the groups which protested the event. May society benefit from a free and open discussion of all these issues.

As always, if you have comments--for or against Ayers's appearance or its protesters--post them in the comments section of this blog!

http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/news-and-events/item.html?ID=2959

http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_11578562?nclick_check=1

http://www.melaniemorgan.com/content/view/1347/1/

My new book, “Age of Obama: A Reporter’s Journey with Clinton, McCain & Obama in the Making of the President 2008” is now available. Click the book button on the right of the screen to be connected to www.Amazon.com.

Commentator George Will autographed a copy of my book, Thursday night at Contra Costa USA in Concord, California. What a great event!

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