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Campbell Brown

Israel Considers Temporary Truce; Illinois Governor Names Obama Replacement

Aired December 30, 2008 - 20:00   ET


TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. Campbell is off tonight. I'm Tom Foreman.
And we begin with breaking news.

Tonight, the man just named to replace Barack Obama in the Senate joins us live.

Bullet point number one: Roland Burris, appointed this afternoon by embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. We will ask him why he is willing to step in when Senate leaders have told Blagojevich that anyone he chooses will be stopped cold.

We will also hear what president-elect Obama just said about these breaking developments.

Bullet point number two: Israel considers a two-day truce after four days of devastating air raids on Hamas targets in Gaza. Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the U.S., is standing firm. It continues lobbing rockets into southern Israel. We will take you live to the battle front.

And bullet point three: As this year ends with political and global cliffhangers, what in the world is ahead for 2009? See if your answers match up with our predictions as we haul out our crystal ball. That's all coming up just ahead.

But we start with the story that is lighting up the final hours of this year. The governor of Illinois, accused of trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, today gave it away instead, in the process, going to war with some of the nation's most powerful Democrats who have vowed to fight against seating anyone chosen by Rod Blagojevich.

This extraordinary bit of political theater in Chicago is going to put that vow to the test. The lucky or unlucky appointee depending on how you look at it is former Illinois attorney General Roland Burris. He has a long, respected history of service. He's African- American. He will join us live in just a moment. And he may be just who Blagojevich needs right now.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Despite the threats from Washington, despite the looming legal charges, Rod Blagojevich went on the offensive. GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS: The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington, D.C.

As governor, I am required to make this appointment. If I don't make this appointment, then the people of Illinois will be deprived of their appropriate voice and vote in the United States Senate.

Please, don't allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man.

FOREMAN: Burris quickly sidestepped a flurry of questions about the governor's legal problems, making it clear he certainly did not buy the office.

ROLAND BURRIS, FORMER ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm accepting an appointment by the governor to go to the United States Senate. That's it.

FOREMAN: And then effectively making a vow of his own, to help Barack Obama fix the economy, restore trust in government.

BURRIS: If ever there's a man with the talent to succeed against the long odds, it is he.

FOREMAN: Blagojevich, who denies doing anything wrong, answered few questions, except to say, by law, the governor has to pick someone.

BLAGOJEVICH: And when the legislature didn't act on this legislation they said they were considering, which I supported, which would have given the people the right to be able to elect the next senator, failing that, then it's the governor's responsibility to fill the vacancy.

FOREMAN: But the political overtones of this pick are enormous. And just in case anyone might miss them, Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush spelled it out. Since Obama left, there are no African-Americans in the U.S. Senate.

REP. BOBBY RUSH (D), ILLINOIS: So I applaud the governor for his decision. And I will ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer. Separate, if you will, the appointee from the appointer.


FOREMAN: Well, that sets the stage.

Now to our NO BIAS, NO BULL interview with the man chosen today to serve the people of Illinois by the governor who faces impeachment for his handling of this Senate appointment.

Tonight, even Barack Obama is praising Roland Burris, calling him a good man and a fine public servant. But, in a statement, Obama also said Burris shouldn't have been chosen -- quote -- "Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it."

Roland Burris joins us live from Chicago.

Thanks for being here.

And I have to start with the most obvious question. If all the big Democrats in Washington say they won't work with you, won't recognize you, if Barack Obama says he doesn't want you in the seat, if the leading Senate Democrat there in Illinois says he doesn't want you there, how are you going to get this important work done if all these people won't work with you?

BURRIS: Well, I think that, once those persons really get down to it and can face Roland Burris and understand that I have nothing to do with the governor and his problems, that I have experience in serving this great state of Illinois and all 13 million people admirably, honorably, and aggressively, that I spent 20 years in Illinois government serving the people, and that my heart is in the right place for the people of Illinois and to also make a difference with the crises that we're facing in our country -- I'm a public servant by heart.

I'm a public servant by commitment, and that's what I seek to do. And what the governor's problems are, they are not my problems. I am not tainted by this appointment. The governor followed the United States Constitution and the 17th Amendment to fill the vacancy. That's all that's there.

All of this other action is conjecture. And being a former attorney general of my state, I know the law in terms of a person is innocent until he is proven guilty in a court of law. And that's what Blagojevich should have. And if he's found guilty, then that's -- he should serve his time and get punished for whatever he did that's wrong.

But that doesn't have anything to do with the 13 million people of my state being absent of a representative in the great United States Senate.

FOREMAN: Well, Mr. Burris, that said, it seems from the accolades coming your way that an awful lot of these people do think very highly of you. They just don't want anything to do with Rod Blagojevich. And now, because he picked you, you do have something to do with him.

What do you say to those folks? How do you make them not feel that way?

BURRIS: Well, I will tell them, as the governor said, and as Congressman Bobby Rush said, you have got to separate the appointee from the appointer. That's all it is.

He followed the law. He made an appointment. That has nothing to do with how I'm going to serve, how I'm going to carry out my duties as a United States senator. That has to do all about the governor, which is -- that is -- that -- those are his problems. They're not mine.

And, therefore, he picked a person who is ready, willing, and able to go into the Senate and be prepared to work on behalf of the people of Illinois and the people of America.

FOREMAN: One of the phrases used today described any effort to stop you, the word used -- maybe an unfortunate word -- was a lynching.

Do you think it is appropriate for that type of racial overtone to be put on this race?

BURRIS: Well, no, no, I have not spoken of race at all.


FOREMAN: No, you did not. But you stood -- no, but you stood alongside folks today who did talk about race. Is that appropriate? Or should that be no consideration in this?


BURRIS: Well, let me put it this way.

As a fact, since senator president-elect Obama has left, there's no black person in the United States Senate. It just so happens that God made me a black person. That has nothing to do with my abilities or skills to serve the people of this state. They elected me four times statewide.


FOREMAN: Which is precisely my point here.

Representative Bobby Rush said today he would rally the Congressional Black Caucus behind you, specifically speaking to the issue of race. Do you think that's appropriate? Or do you think this should be purely about your record?

BURRIS: Well, I think that that certainly is not the major issue.

And the fact that -- and why those persons will not seat me is a question that they're really going to have to answer, because I have done no wrong. And they're going to deny the people of Illinois a qualified person to go in and help carry out the duties and responsibilities to represent them because of another matter that has nothing to do with my serving?

I think that there are, you know, situations where the individuals are caught up in the problems with the governor, which are not the problems of Roland Burris. FOREMAN: You're a very experienced man in politics. You know full well what people are saying right now, is that you're being used as a puppet of the governor to cover up his problems precisely because you have nothing to do with them. How do you respond?

BURRIS: Well, I respond in this way.

Is it a law under the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution that the governor of a state has a right to fill a vacancy, an absence of a United States senator? Is that the law? And I would say to you, it is the law and the governor did follow the law. That's all I say on that point. That's all there is.


FOREMAN: Last question I want for you here. The Illinois secretary of state has already said he will not certify your appointment. As we pointed out earlier, powerful people in Washington say they will fight it.

How far are you prepared to take a battle on this, a legal battle, if need be? To the U.S. Supreme Court? What? How far will you go to try to get this seat?

BURRIS: Well, we will take it one step at a time. It's a process.

And we must first deal with the -- my good friend, who I know very well, and talked to him this morning, the secretary of state. And we're pretty sure that the distinguished secretary of state will recognize that the appointment is legal.

And if the appointment is legal, the problems that the governor has, has absolutely nothing to do with my serving. And the United States Senate and the Democratic Caucus will recognize the same thing, that the appointment was legal, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my ability to serve and represent the 13 million people of the great state of Illinois.

FOREMAN: Do you think the governor should resign?

BURRIS: I have no opinion on the governor's problems. But, as a former prosecutor and a former attorney general of my state, we know that a person is innocent until they're proven guilty. And, in a court of law...

FOREMAN: Fair enough. Thanks very much.

BURRIS: My pleasure.

FOREMAN: Good to have you here, Roland Burris. Thanks very much for joining us live from Chicago.

Our political panel heard every word of that. When we come back, I will ask our experts if Burris can really be the next senator from Illinois. And, later, the bubble of power waiting for Barack Obama, it surrounds every president. And it sounds innocuous enough, but it can be a trap. Will it trap him?

And we will take you live to the battle raging over Gaza. Tonight, Israel's leader who vowed all-out war is thinking about a couple of days of peace.

Stay with us.


FOREMAN: We are covering breaking news tonight. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich defiantly appoints Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, even though the governor faces a corruption charge for allegedly trying to sell that Senate seat.

In his announcement today, Blagojevich tried to make a couple of important points. First, he has to appoint a successor to Barack Obama and second Burris is so squeaky clean, that no one in their right mind would deny him that seat. So, that is his argument. Does it have any chance of persuading the Senate to let Burris in?

Let's ask nationally syndicated columnist Clarence Page, a member of the "Chicago Tribune" editorial board, and CNN senior legal and political analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, what about this press conference this afternoon?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: You know, that wasn't Chicago land. That was dreamland.

Rod Blagojevich is out on bail. He's an accused federal criminal. He cannot be governor of Illinois anymore. He has no support in the state of Illinois. He has no support in the United States Senate. And the idea that he is trying to appoint a United States senator in the face of that is just crazy. And it's never going to happen.

FOREMAN: OK. OK. Let me challenge you on that.

And I will go to Clarence on this.

Clarence, we have a long history in this government of having people who are charged with all sorts of things who keep their jobs and keep doing their jobs. Why is he different?

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": Well, I don't think he is different, in the sense that he is fighting to keep his job right now, and behaving like he is governor because legally he is governor.

Jeffrey's right. It seems really absurd for a man in his condition, having lost all of his political support from his party allies, to be hanging on like this. But he said he was going to fight, fight, fight. And I think that there's some narcissism and ego involved here.

He looks like a fool to the nation and the world based on the transcripts that the U.S. attorney has read of his phone conversations. It sounds like a "Saturday Night Live" skit. And he wants to show that he can play hardball too and that he can fight and that he's got at least the letter of the law on his side...


FOREMAN: Well, Clarence, you raise an interesting point here. What does he get out of this? What does the governor get out of doing this, other than a boost to his ego?

PAGE: Well, I think he gets -- he buys time, for one thing. It's easier for him to fight or if necessary negotiate with the U.S. attorney on a plea bargain if he is still the sitting governor. I'm not saying that's what he's going to do. But -- I'm just saying, if I was in his kind of predicament, that's the way I would be thinking.

After all, he and his lawyer had said before that he wasn't going to make an appointment under these circumstances. Now he's shifted gears. He's made the appointment, and he's got a legal case. And Roland Burris has a case for sitting -- taking his seat in the Senate.

FOREMAN: Jeffrey, let's turn to that legal question right now, because this is a tough one right now. You have got the secretary of state there saying he won't certify this. You have Democrats in Washington saying they won't accept it, the governor's saying it's his legal right to do it. Does the law favor anybody in this?

TOOBIN: The law favors the Senate Democrats. It is almost certain that the Senate, under Article 1 of the Constitution, can decide on the qualifications of their members and that they can exclude him.

FOREMAN: They can do this with anybody elected anywhere?

TOOBIN: Well, elected. See, this is where things start to get tricky.

There's a famous case from 1969 in the U.S. Supreme Court when Adam Clayton Powell, the congressman from Harlem, who was elected was denied his seat, denied his seniority, and the Supreme Court ruled in Powell's favor. So, the power of the Congress is not absolute to control its own members, but in these circumstances, it seems almost certain to me that the Senate could successfully say, by majority vote, we will not accept you as a senator.

But Burris could have the right to bring a case. And it would not be a frivolous case, but I think ultimately he would lose it.

FOREMAN: Clarence...

PAGE: May I raise a point?

FOREMAN: Yes, you can. And I want to ask you about a point. Bobby Rush raised the issue of race today in all of this. Was that a smart play, bad play? Will it have any traction?

PAGE: I want to answer that. It's a juicy question. Thank you.

I just want to point out, though, that a number of legal scholars have been interviewed about this back in Illinois and elsewhere, say that that case of Powell v. McCormack -- that was the Adam Clayton Powell case -- that that makes a very good argument for Burris to be seated, based on his behavior, which is not in question.


FOREMAN: Well, we will have to sort that out. But what about the other question? Was race a good thing to raise here or not, Clarence?

PAGE: It's a tricky thing. This is interesting now, because Bobby Rush is a very well respected politician back in Illinois, and he raises a point that could have a lot of sympathy with black voters. And we're talking about a Democratic Party here, where black voters are very important.

And Dick Durbin, the other -- the sitting senator from Illinois, there's going to be pressure on him now perhaps to change his position. Offering him cover, of course, is president-elect Obama.


FOREMAN: I'm going to have to cut you off there, Clarence.

And Jeffrey, I have to get back to you, one very quick question at the end. Does this change the case for Rod Blagojevich? Does he say, look, you said I was trying to sell the seat, here's part of the evidence that I wasn't; I appointed somebody?

TOOBIN: Not a bit.

FOREMAN: Not a bit.

TOOBIN: The evidence in the case is closed on the day he's indicted. You can't subsequently un-rob the bank.


FOREMAN: You can't return the money.


TOOBIN: So, no, it doesn't help him.

FOREMAN: Good to have you here, Jeffrey.

You, too, Clarence. Good to have you talk with us about all of this.

We will have more breaking news tonight, a lot more coming up.

Passions running high, as the latest fighting in the Middle East sparks protest in Miami and in Washington. We will go live from near the Israeli/Gaza border, where there's a noticeable change tonight.

And, later, will Bill Clinton stay out of trouble in 2009? Our NO BIAS, NO BULL predictions for the new year, and you do not want to miss them. Stay put.


FOREMAN: There is potentially good news from overseas.

After four days of Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza and waves of Hamas rockets into Israel, tonight, there is talk, talk of a temporary cease-fire. At least 375 Palestinians and four Israelis are dead. It's been a rough day, as Israeli strikes continued. Hamas forces started firing longer-range rockets from Gaza into Israel.

And we can show you on a map here just an idea of how much further they go. You can see Hamas area there. The Gaza area is in orange and then further out red are the furthest range of some of these rockets. So you can see they're going further than they were. Initially, it was just the green area there. It give you a sense of how many neighborhoods at risk.

And of course Israel can strike anywhere they need to in Gaza or want to in Gaza. Tonight, all of that has added up to increased pressure on both sides to stop the killing.

CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is near the Israel-Gaza border tonight.

And, Nic, you're in Sderot, a town that's been hit awfully hard. What's been it been like there today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, about 11 rockets landed here today, Tom.

If you look just over my shoulder there, that's one of the houses that was hit. A fireman working overnight came back. He had gone to sleep just after finishing his shift. Within a couple of hours, that missile hit his house. He's sleeping in the house again tonight. He was uninjured.

But other houses have been hit in this town. It is rattling people here. And those missiles that were fired into the town of Beer Sheva, which is about 30 miles east of the Gaza Strip, those are the missiles that are causing the greatest concern right now.

Hamas has never fired missiles that far before. And this is an indication of what they have in their arsenal. But, in the last few hours, we have heard planes flying overhead from here towards Gaza. Missiles have been fired in the south end of the Gaza Strip targeting those tunnels that Hamas uses to bring explosive parts, missile parts from Egypt through those tunnels at the Rafah border into Gaza. Those have been targeted overnight tonight -- Tom.

FOREMAN: Well, Nic, today, we learned that the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, is mulling a cease-fire. What do you know about that?

ROBERTSON: Well, he discussed it with the foreign minister and with the prime minister as well. This is a cease-fire that has been proposed by the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner.

The idea is that, if Hamas goes along with it, that this will provide a two-day period for humanitarian supplies to be brought into Gaza. But while that has been discussed at the top levels of government, the Israeli cabinet has agreed to call up another 2,500 army reservists. That's in addition to the 6,500 already called up.

And when we were trying down here from Jerusalem tonight, we passed more tanks on the road heading south on their tank transporters to join those many tanks already around the Gaza Strip -- Tom.

FOREMAN: So, yesterday, Nic, we were thinking maybe not so much it looked like a ground war, but now it sounds like at least more of a threat of one.

ROBERTSON: You know, the options are out there. The government has those options. It's talking about the possibility of the potential for a cease-fire, but the reality...


ROBERTSON: ... preparing for a worst-case scenario, that it might have to go in on the ground.

FOREMAN: All right, thanks, Nic, for joining us. We appreciate it very much. We lost your signal for a moment. Glad that you're well, and good reporting -- Nic Robertson in southern Israel.

President-elect Barack Obama's Hawaiian vacation is almost over and almost certainly so are scenes like these. Coming up, a challenge every president faces, how to stay in touch with ordinary people once you get inside the security bubble that comes with being a world leader. It's a bigger problem than you think.

Also ahead, Sarah Palin's daughter may be looking at a financial windfall, the kind that the average unmarried teenager can only imagine.

Stay with us.


FOREMAN: Awful lot happening in the news tonight.

David Mattingly joins me from Atlanta with the "Briefing" -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tom, the Pentagon is highlighting a sharp drop this year in military deaths in Iraq -- 309 U.S. service men and women have been killed there in 2008, one-third as many as last year. Officials credit last year's U.S. troop surge and improved Iraqi security.

Women, children, old men, and priests are among those slaughtered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Catholic aid group reports 400 people were killed in rebel massacres during Christmas week celebrations. U.N. peacekeepers put the number of deaths at nearly 200. They say 20 children have been kidnapped.

A new cell phone report says hands-free doesn't mean danger-free. According to AAA's Foundation for Safety, state laws requiring drivers to use hands-free cell phones make no difference. The report warns any driver faces four times the risk of a crash while they're on the line.

And Black Friday left a few black eyes at a Wisconsin mall. Take a look at these guys caught on security tape. Three men got into a fight at the Mayfair Mall near Milwaukee. Shoppers got more than they bargained for, as the brawl sent displays crashing to the ground and customers running for safety. Police say they still don't know what started it -- Tom.

FOREMAN: All right. Thanks, David.

It's quite a scene in Hawaii these days, too. When Barack Obama goes golfing, crowds of ordinary people line up to watch, cheer, and shake his hand. But this will not last much longer. When we come back, what the president-elect stands to lose once he's inside the bubble.

And you won't believe who some disgruntled Republican National Committee members are going after. He isn't even a Democrat.

Stick around.


FOREMAN: President-elect Barack Obama's vacation is almost over and so is his relative freedom. Our senior White House correspondent Ed Henry knows all about that. He's with the Obamas in Hawaii tonight.

Ed, the Obamas have been on vacation, but the Washington bubble is going to close in on them even sooner than we thought. You got some new information tonight. What's up?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Tom. We're just learning tonight, in fact, that the Obamas are going to be moving to Washington this weekend, a few weeks early before the inaugural. And the reason they're doing that is first of all, they're going to a Washington hotel for the first few days and then on January 15th, they're going to eventually move to Blair House across from the White House.

But the big reason they're going early is so that their daughters can start school in the Washington, D.C. area. But they're not revealing tonight exactly when that first day of school is. They want to keep that private. And the reason is that this is a big part of that bubble you were talking about that they're not too excited about. They want to try to have some sort of a zone of privacy around their daughters in particular.

The president-elect, according to a senior adviser, say basically that he realizes that his life is up for grabs. It's an open book now, as is his wife as the incoming first lady. But they're trying to carve out at least some private time with their children, such as the first day of school so it doesn't become some crazy media swarm. And so, it's going to be a balancing act for him and the family and a balancing act for the media, frankly, Tom.

FOREMAN: How is he reacting to this so far? Are there already things that he really can't do that he used to do?

HENRY: Big time. You know, on previous Hawaiian holidays, he used to come out here and body surf. He went to public parks in a local area and sort of hang out. Obviously for security reasons, you've got to cut back on that. But also we've seen him chaff around all the media attention.

He did some golfing on this trip. At one point, there were so many pictures being taken, they said basically come on, guys, you've gotten enough shots already.

Another day, he decided to take his daughters to sort of like a sea world place and they didn't tell the media. Normally it's protocol for the president or president-elect to bring a small pool of reporters with them. They left the media behind which caused many rockets.

It shows that he's sort of chaffing a little bit there at the swarm around him, the bubble as you say. And also he's having a little difficulty giving up that BlackBerry. He feels like that will connect him to his friends. But for security reasons, Secret Service and others want him to give it up. He doesn't necessarily want to give that up, and it shows it's going to be a difficult balancing act for him, Tom.

FOREMAN: All right. Thanks, Ed.

This whole issue of being in a bubble has clearly been on Obama's mind. Listen to what he said in an interview that he and his wife Michelle did with "60 Minutes" just after the election.


BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: There still some things we're not adjusted to.

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: Like what? What do you want?

B. OBAMA: Me not being able to take a walk. That's something that I don't think I'll ever get use to. I mean, the loss of anonymity. And this is not a complaint, this is part of what you sign up for.

I can't go to my own barbershop now. I got to have my barber come to some undisclosed location to cut my hair. You know, the small routines in life that keep you connected, I think, that some of those are being lost.


FOREMAN: Little things, but will they make a big difference for the president-elect? Let's put that question to Doug Hattaway, former campaign spokesman for Senator Hillary Clinton, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, and Errol Louis, "New York Daily News" columnist and morning show host on WWRL radio.

And let me start off by describing the problem we're talking about here. This is Barack Obama before all of this started, before he became the president-elect. He was in touch with people. He was close to people all the time around him.

But look what he has to deal with now and what he will be dealing with as soon as he's inaugurated. A circle of advisers right around him, a circle of Washington insiders right around them, a circle of security around all of that and a circle of press and media around that, all of which separates him from all those normal people out there and this is tough on presidents.

So, Errol, let me start with you, particularly when one -- when you're one of these candidates who has run on the idea of I know the people, I'm part of the people, I can connect to the people, how much does this hurt you?

ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Oh, it's devastating in a way. I mean, what I heard him saying when he was talking on "60 Minutes" about being able to go for a walk, he's a city kid. I mean, Chicago, this is why we come to New York. You get to go for a walk and clear your head. That's now denied to him. He's now got to change his political style, his personal style, and what made him effective both personally and politically is now going to be radically rearranged and perhaps lost altogether.

FOREMAN: Doug Hattaway, tell me exactly how complex this is. If you want to take your daughters out for a quick lunch, want to go to the park, you want to do any of the normal things that we can do, how hard is it for a president?

DOUG HATTAWAY, FMR. HILLARY CLINTON SPKS.: It's not normal anymore. Any action that you take like that, a simple thing like going to get an ice cream cone with your daughters becomes a situation that has to be managed. It's a crowd situation, a media situation, a security situation. And it's just impossible given the celebrity status of the president.

He's going to draw a crowd whether you like it or not. Given obviously the security threat, there's all that apparatus that goes with him, which is just literally logistical management about moving around from place to place, managing the press, managing the crowd.

But also when the president travels, there is a large communications apparatus goes with the military. There's a whole operation that actually you don't see that moves along with the president wherever he goes. Maybe not on short little hops, but I think it really is a problem. It creates an isolation that's not just a political problem, but it's also very stressful on the president and the family.

The folks I've worked with who have been a president, vice president, presidential candidates, you can see it is just very stressful on them to be on all the time. That's one of the problems.

FOREMAN: How much more complex and stressful is this for someone like Obama who first of all, has young children? We haven't seen that in the White House in a while. And secondly, he wasn't a top official like a vice president or a governor who was used to having that many layers around him.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Look, it's tough, but it's part of the job of being a president. All presidents have to deal with this.

Theodore Roosevelt used to just disappear into the wilderness to try to get away from the press. He bought a little cabin called Pine Knot in Charlottesville and would even refuse Secret Service to be anywhere near him. He would sleep with his own pistol by his bedside.

You know, you have every president with stories. Our current President Bush stopped e-mailing his daughters because they didn't want them to, you know, become public somehow. So the loss of privacy, the White House has become a glass house and it's just part of the job description.

What's interesting about Mr. Henry's report is that getting to Blair House quickly. Blair House has literally over 60-some rooms. It's there to absorb foreign dignitaries. It's like a hotel and you could manage things there at Blair House better than you can when you're out of places like Hawaii. But Barack Obama's going to learn to how to kind of get along with the paparazzi and the media, laugh with them all the time.

Ronald Reagan once faked a heart attack at Santa Barbara at his ranch knowing that these lenses were far away trying to photo grab him just to mess with the press.

FOREMAN: You know, it's funny -- it's funny as you say that, Doug, because Jimmy Carter told me that he and his family on occasion would dress up in disguise and go out so they could see the town.

Errol, is there a way, briefly, that Barack Obama can defeat all those layers and keep in touch with the people who elected him who want him to be in touch with him?

LOUIS: Well, yes, and he has to negotiate it. I mean, the problem with the press is that -- I mean, you know, joking about a heart attack, if something happens, it is, you know, I'm sure you've done some stakeout duty in your time. I've certainly done it. You've got to be there. You've got to have answers. You can't go back to your editor and say, well, I missed it. You didn't want me to be -- you didn't want me around.

So he's got to keep a small group that can come with him on relatively private privileged occasions. They have to stay in the background and let him do what he has to do. He's got to figure that out though very quickly, and his communications team is going to have to facilitate that, I mean, really almost instantly.

FOREMAN: Doug Brinkley, very briefly, is that possible for a modern president to really pull off? I know you think, well, here are your old buddies -- is it really possible?

BRINKLEY: Yes, it is. It's called Camp David. That's why they spend a lot of time there, and FDR used to call it a yacht. He spent about a third of his days, Franklin Roosevelt, at sea so he didn't have to be stuck with that kind of swirl around him.

FOREMAN: I think that's where we have to call it done. Thanks, Errol. And the two Dougs, it's good to have you here.

Coming up, our "NO BIAS, NO BULL" prediction for Barack Obama. How long do you think his honeymoon with the American people will last? We'll look into our crystal ball.

And you'll never guess how Hillary and Bill Clinton are spending New Year's Eve. Here's a hint. They'll be at one of the biggest parties in the world. We'll show you on our "Political Daily Briefing."


FOREMAN: Randi Kaye joins us now with the "PDB," the "Political Daily Briefing."

Randi, President Bush is nearly done, but some of his fellow Republicans are still teeing up some shots at him. What's that all about?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He may be done, but they are not done with him. The vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, James Bopp Jr., has written a resolution accusing President Bush and other Republican leaders in Congress of embracing socialism. Yes, there is that word again.

The president's support of the recent auto bailout helped tip the scales for Bopp and the other Republicans. The extraordinary measure comes as a battered Republican Party looks to re-launch itself after the deep losses it suffered in November. The resolution has been circulated to all 168 voting members of the RNC and is expected to be voted on sometime next month, Tom.

FOREMAN: You have an update on Bristol Palin's new baby boy? KAYE: I sure do, and it has to do with money actually. 18-year- old Bristol Palin and her fiance, Levi Johnston, both of whom have not graduated from high school might be in for quite a payday. Reports indicate that the couple has been offered as much as $300,000 for the rights to their new baby's first photos.

Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston was born Sunday weighing in at seven pounds, four ounces. In case you missed the news, no word yet on whether Grandma Sarah Palin would get a cut from all that cash.

FOREMAN: Yes. His nickname is moneybag.

KAYE: Oh, yes.

FOREMAN: And it's good.

KAYE: I think that's something.

FOREMAN: Oh, that's a lot of money.

Big celebration here in town tomorrow night. I know you'll be down in Times Square, but another famous couple will be there. Tell me about it.

KAYE: You'll be there? You're not going to be center stage?

FOREMAN: I may be back in D.C. keeping tabs on things.

KAYE: OK. We'll see.

Well, none other than former President Bill Clinton and the newly nominated secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will join New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg triggering the ball drop and countdown to the New Year. Now if the Clintons are involved, then you know this is going to be -- not going to be just your average ball drop, of course.

This year's ball is actually double the size of previous balls, weighing more than -- get this -- 12,000 pounds and measuring 12 feet in diameter. For those of you who worry that the larger ball will draw more energy, never fear. It is also more eco-friendly using the energy of about two traditional home ovens.

FOREMAN: Wow. And you have some resolutions from the ghosts of campaigns past.

KAYE: Did you make your resolutions yet?

FOREMAN: No, I haven't made my resolutions.

KAYE: Yes. OK.

FOREMAN: I got more better (ph).

KAYE: Well, the "Wall Street Journal" asked a variety of influential people to submit three resolutions, a professional one, a personal one, and an industry-related goal. And among those surveyed were former Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

Now if you look closely, you might notice one person seems to be thinking more along the lines of taking another stab at a presidential run. You see it there.

Well, Mike Huckabee's professional goal is to launch a radio show. Mitt Romney plans the small task of restoring balance in Washington this new year. Hmm.

As for their personal goals, Huckabee wants to train for another marathon while Romney's hopefully kidding when he says he wants to stop wearing a suit and tie to bed. We think he's kidding, but we're not sure.

FOREMAN: I don't see why he should give that up. Thanks, Randi.

KAYE: You never know.

FOREMAN: And Happy New Year to you.

KAYE: Thank you.

FOREMAN: When we come back, New Year's predictions, prophesies, even prognostications. Stay tuned to see our experts ask the "NO BIAS, NO BULL" crystal ball whether the economy will revive.

And a year-ending "Bull's-Eye" too. Facebook is taking aim at nursing mothers. Sharing is OK from the neck up. Stay with us.


FOREMAN: Honestly, a year ago, would you have guessed stocks were going to nosedive? And could you have named the governor of Alaska? And could you have pronounced the name of the governor of Illinois? Probably not.

So, let's try to get some better predictions this year from our political experts gazing into their crystal balls tonight. CNN contributor Dana Milbank, the national political correspondent for the "Washington Post," Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez, and back again, "New York Daily News" columnist Errol Louis.

And let's start off. It's going to be a quick sort of a lightning round approach to this. I want a quick read on all of this.

I'll start off with you over here, Dana. How long will Obama's honeymoon last in 2009?

DANA MILBANK, "WASHINGTON POST": I'd say about the length of a Britney Spears marriage, you know, 29 minutes or so. Nothing wrong with Obama, just the expectations are just way too high for him right now.

FOREMAN: Errol, you're buying that? LOUIS: No, not really. I think he's got some of that Teflon that Ronald Reagan used to have. If things go wrong, there'll be people to blame. There'll be all kinds of cabinet members, Hillary Clinton comes to mind. But I think the candidate himself, the president himself, I think will be above the fray and relatively immune.

FOREMAN: All yearlong, do you think, Errol? Or just for a little while?

LOUIS: At least a year. At least a year.

FOREMAN: At least a year? Really? Leslie, you're buying that?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. I hate to be Goldilocks and fall. I'm right down the middle. But I will say about 99 days. I think people are going to circling, have high expectations, I agree, but I don't think it's longer than that 100-day honeymoon.

FOREMAN: OK. Leslie, let me pick it up with you as we turn to the Republicans here. Republicans in 2009, will they be in retreat or resurgent?

SANCHEZ: Absolutely resurgent. You're seeing a lot of interesting candidates, surprisingly, and a lot of competitive states that are now looking at seeing this as an opportunity for them to get involved in this new revived technologically advanced Republican Party. And I think there's a tremendous amount of interest in our new leadership, this election we have in January.

FOREMAN: Yes. But, Dana, the real leadership power is in the hands of the Democrats right now. Couldn't the Republicans just sort of lie low for the year and see what happens?

MILBANK: Yes, I think so. The only reason I'd say they can't really retreat any further is because you can't go a whole lot lower than they are now with a third of the public supporting them. So I think it's going to be a lot of treading water.

FOREMAN: Yes. Errol, do you buy that? Or do you think they're going to be sort of --

LOUIS: Yes. Absolutely.

FOREMAN: Will they play the spoilers on this, or will they simply say here's our agenda?

LOUIS: Well, they may try and play spoilers. I think that's part of the disarray that has kept them out of power and that they're going to have to have a bloodletting. Somebody is going to have to take the blame for what just happened in this last round of elections. The new messages that are being fought over.

I mean, if you look at Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee Republican chair who wants to be the RNC chair, sending out this CD with the parody that somebody --

SANCHEZ: You know, that's -- let's hear it. That's one thing that's been blown out.


LOUIS: Here's the thing -- here's the thing -- here's the thing, Leslie.

Forget the content of it. Has the guy ever heard of MP3s? I mean, this is the guy who is going to reorganize the party using yesterday's technology?

SANCHEZ: You have (INAUDIBLE). You have several other candidates. I think people are excited about who's going to be the new head of the Republican Party. But also this new stream of candidates that I think the party is going to take an interest in growing a new formed (ph) team.

FOREMAN: OK, Dana, let's look to Sarah Palin, big story this year. Running out of steam or rising up in 2009?

MILBANK: No way. She is rising like an updo hairdo with extra firm hold spray right now. There is nobody out there who has the star power in the Republican Party. You know, a Romney, a Huckabee. It doesn't mean she's going to win in 2012 or even win the nomination, but she has enough to keep us all interested.

FOREMAN: Errol, when will the economic turnaround begin? We're all waiting for it.

LOUIS: Unfortunately, I think it's going to be at least a year. We have not touched bottom as far as rising bankruptcies and foreclosures. It will be at least two quarters before we get anywhere near the bottom, I think. And you can't just snap your fingers and get a turnaround. So I think next year we're going to still be looking at maybe the beginnings of some signs of hope.

FOREMAN: I think you're wrong about that. I think middle summer it's going to change.

Leslie, last part here. The next front in the culture wars, what's it going to be?

SANCHEZ: You know, we talk to a lot of people about this. There was so much made about the issue of gay marriage, but you are hearing talk about the next issue. The next shoe to drop is going to be gay adoption. I think that's going to be another wedge issue within probably Republicans and conservatives independently of how it strikes the rest of the country. But that's what we're hearing now.

FOREMAN: All right. Well, we're getting you all on record a little bit. And, of course, next year, we're going to weigh these against your predictions to see if you were right or wrong.

Everyone stay put right now, though, because we've got one more big one to go. Former President Bill Clinton -- he gave up a lot to help his wife get a new job in 2008. Will the former commander in chief stay out of the news in the new year? Our "NO BIAS, NO BULL" predictions continue next.


FOREMAN: As 2008 winds down, we're looking for next year's news tonight and we're back with our panel here with one more big prediction, the biggest one for the year coming up.

I start with you, Errol. Will Bill Clinton behave in 2009?

LOUIS: Not a chance. He likes the limelight. I think the good news, though, is that what he wants to do and looking out for the interest of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton will actually coincide and work for the best advantage of the Barack Obama administration.

FOREMAN: Leslie, what do you think?

SANCHEZ: I think that people are very eagerly waiting to see where he moves next. And also, if he's going to stop being a money machine in terms of what he's been doing with his foundation, some of those interests he has that could pose conflicts for his wife. I think we're very interested even to see how her confirmation process moves forward.

FOREMAN: And, Dana, those keen blue eyes are so good at staring into the future. What is the final word on Bill Clinton in 2009?

MILBANK: Tom, we don't even have to predict this. We can say with 100 percent scientific precision that he will go off message in 2009. The guy is about as easily controlled as Rod Blagojevich.

FOREMAN: And wildly entertaining in the process. Errol, Leslie, Dana, good to have you here with your predictions. We're going to hold you accountable next year.

We will face 2008 one last time and show you why one place made lots of friends but then did something that even moms wouldn't love. It's in tonight's "Bull's-Eye." Stay with us.


FOREMAN: When you are throwing one of the world's biggest New Year's Eve parties, you can't make mistakes. Today workers in New York's Times Square rehearsed the famous midnight ball drop. That six ton ball takes exactly 60 seconds to come down from the mass at the top of One Times Square.

You can see the real thing right here tomorrow night as Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will host CNN's New Year's Eve special beginning at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

But you don't have to wait until then to get the party started. Join me tomorrow night as we take a special look back at this year that none of us will ever forget. It's called "All the Best, All the Worst 2008," the high points and low points in everything from politics to pop culture. Take a look.


FOREMAN (voice-over): The best place to be seen online this year, Facebook. Four years ago, Facebook had a mere million faces online. Now the company says it is tipping the cyber scales with a whopping 140 million active users.

DANA GOULD, COMEDIAN: But I can actually be out with my real friends and spend time communicating with my fake friends gives me a lot of comfort at night, because my real friends aren't so cool.

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": And I say to my friends now, if you're not on Facebook, I really can't be friends with you. I don't know how to interact with you. If you're not going to tag me in a photo, I think we're done.

FOREMAN: And the worst place to be seen online, that's Facebook too, as millions of grown-ups continue to resist the call.

MARCUS MABRY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I get calls every day from people who are like 85 asking me to go on Facebook.

TARA WALL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I'm not going to get a Facebook page. Sorry. You know where to find me.

FOREMAN: Most misunderstood tech link of the year, "twitter." People who got it really did. People who didn't get it, really didn't.

GOULD: I don't twitter, certainly not that I would admit to publicly. Oh, I did. Oh, it's a technical thing?


FOREMAN: Speaking of Facebook, our final "Bull's-Eye" of 2008 goes to that addictive site. Sure, it's the most popular online community in the world, but it just upset one very special interest group -- mothers.

Thousands of moms are up in arms because Facebook has been removing photos of mothers breastfeeding their children. Facebook officials say the pictures are indecent and they only remove images after other users complain about them. Really? Moms feeding their babies? Indecent?

For that, well, we have to call the folks at Facebook boobs.

Anyway, we're glad that you're here that you joined us here on our show tonight. And we hope you had a wonderful year. For you and your family, we wish the best.

Tomorrow night, join me at 8:00 and 10:00 for "All the Best, All the Worst 2008," and that's followed by CNN's New Year's Eve live special with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. It's always a lot of fun. Begins at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. All the best of the new year to you and your family.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.