Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was the only Senator not to vote yesterday on the economic recovery package. (Judd Gregg had recused himself.) “He was at a New York gathering of prominent media conservatives and Wall Street Republican donors called the Monday Meeting, held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Midtown Manhattan.”
The New York Times reports that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “prevailed” against several top Obama aides in “opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions” in the debate on the bailout. Geithner successfully blocked “more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid” and replacing top bank executives and wiping out “shareholders at institutions receiving aid.”
Yesterday, the struggling General Motors announced that vice chairman and product chief Bob Lutz will retire at the end of 2009, capping off a 46-year career. Lutz came under criticism last year, after declaring that global warming was a “crock of sh*t.”
Just weeks before leaving office, former President Bush appointed a number of top aides and GOP lawyers to “potentially lucrative” jobs at an “obscure World Bank agency” that “attempts to broker international finance disagreements.” Bush “made more than 100 such end-of-term appointments to a constellation of presidential boards and panels…many of which will outlast President Obama’s current term.”
During a closed-door speech at the House Republican retreat last month, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that “with George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay out of the picture,” voters would embrace Republicans again. One lawmaker in the room later called Gingrich’s singling out of other Republicans “gratuitous.” Gingrich’s office refused to “confirm or deny the comments attributed to the ex-Speaker.”
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “appealed to President Obama to attend a hastily planned summit here in late March to promote international efforts to stem the pace of climate change.” Officials at the U.N. “are concerned that the world’s richest countries, including the United States, may withhold funding for environmentally friendly programs…because of the financial crisis.”
Yesterday, Obama “ordered a 60-day review of the nation’s cybersecurity to examine how federal agencies use technology to protect secrets and data.” Run by former Bush administration aide Melissa Hathaway, the review will examine “all the government plans, programs and activities underway to manage large amounts of data.”
The FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm, PMA, founded by a former aide to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and specializing “in winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients.” “PMA is the second company with close ties to Murtha to be raided by federal agents recently”; combined, the “companies reportedly have received over $100 million in earmarks, thanks to Murtha’s efforts.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “made a conditional offer of dialogue to the Obama administration” today, saying that Tehran was ready for “talks based on mutual respect and in a fair atmosphere.” Ahmadinejad’s comments come on the heels of a press conference last by President Obama, in which he said that “Now it’s time for Iran to send some signals that it wants to act differently.”
And finally: “The head of state was a little bruised” yesterday after President Obama “misjudged either his height or that of the door to a waiting helicopter.” After waving goodbye to crowds, he attempted to board Marine One but instead hit his head in the doorway. Watch video of the incident here.
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