Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Gore Talks Climate Change With Obama and Biden

President-elect Barack Obama met with former vice president Al Gore in Chicago on Tuesday to discuss climate change, declaring after the meeting, "The time for denial is over."

The meeting, also attended by Vice President-elect Joe Biden, came as Obama prepares to nominate his administration's top environmental officials -- decisions that could come as soon as this week.

"All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over," Obama told reporters as he sat between Gore and Biden at the transition headquarters after the meeting.

"We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now," Obama said, "that this is a matter of urgency and national security, and it has to be dealt with in a serious way. That is what I intend my administration to do."

Gore has advised Obama on environmental issues, and Obama on Tuesday praised Gore's work on climate change as "extraordinary."

Nonetheless, Democratic sources maintain there is no indication that Gore is interested in a job in the new administration.

-- Philip Rucker


At Pentagon, Gates Has Different Changeover Needs

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is "recalibrating" the Obama transition team's efforts at the Pentagon in light of the fact that he will be "transitioning to himself," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Tuesday.

"This is no longer transitioning to a to-be-determined secretary of defense. This is transitioning to himself. And there are certain things he needs," said Morrell, who said he will stay on as Gates's press secretary for "the foreseeable future."

Gates "needs greater insight into the national security agenda of President-elect Obama" as he seeks to restock the department's array of top positions and build "an Obama-Gates Defense Department," Morrell said.

"The last thing I think we want is a situation where you have Secretary Gates at the helm and no one around to assist him during this transition phase," he noted.

Gates met Monday with Vice President-elect Joe Biden to offer the incoming veep insights into running the national security operations, and he held a working lunch Tuesday with the Obama transition team.

Gates is playing "a key role" in identifying and interviewing candidates for top jobs in the department -- and is hoping to have them in place soon, Morrell said.

-- Ann Scott Tyson


Bill Clinton Discloses Sponsors of Recent Meeting

Former president Bill Clinton, who agreed to make his charitable activities more transparent in an accord with President-elect Barack Obama that paved the way for his wife to become Obama's secretary of state, disclosed Tuesday the sponsors of a meeting that his nonprofit Clinton Global Initiative held last week in Hong Kong.

About a dozen corporations, foundations and individuals underwrote the Dec. 2-3 philanthropic gathering, according to a list of sponsors released by Clinton's office. Among them is Citigroup, one of the nation's largest banks, which last month was granted a multibillion-dollar bailout by the federal government.

Victor Pinchuk, who runs a leading Ukrainian steel company and is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Eastern Europe, was listed as a convening partner. Datuk Vinod Sekhar, a Malaysian businessman and philanthropist, was named the major underwriter of the initiative's Hong Kong meeting. Sekhar is chairman of the Sekhar Foundation in Kuala Lumpur and is president of the Petra Group, a rubber-technology company.

Other sponsors include CLSA, a large Hong Kong-based investment bank; Laureate, an education firm; the Robertson Foundation, established by Tiger Management founder Julian H. Robertson Jr.; the Li Ka Shing Foundation, established by Hong Kong entrepreneur Li Ka-shing; Hewlett-Packard, a U.S. technology firm; Ogilvy, an international public relations firm; Suzlon, an Indian wind-power company; and Thompson Reuters, a global information company. CNN and the Economist were listed as the meeting's media partners.

-- Philip Rucker

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