Barack Obama

President-elect Barack Obama plans to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay as early as his first week in office.  The closing of the prison will show a break from the Bush administration’s approach to the war on terror. Officials say it would follow Obama’s campaign promise to shut down the prison through executive order.

Obama on ABC’s  “This Week”:

“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication,”

The military prison at Guantanamo Bay is a major issue because it has become a symbol of mismanagement and overreach in the war on terror.

Barack Obama speaking at the 2007 Essence Music Festival

Barack Obama made his case to Congress on Monday for the release of $350 billion in remaining federal bailout funds.

Obama’s economic aide laid out new priorities for the use of the remaining balance under the Treasury Department’s $700 billion ” Troubled Asset Relief Program”.  The Obama team sent out a note of urgency about winning the release of the funds which was addressed to the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“President-elect Obama believes it is not too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible,” says the letter, written by Larry Summers, director-designate of the National Economic Council.

The incoming administration is seeking a response in regards to the economy slowing down and also to win over congressional critics of federal bailout efforts.

The Summers letter which was addressed to Reps. Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, and Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell said Obama plans to:

  • Use “our full arsenal of tools” to get credit flowing to consumers and businesses;
  • Reform the oversight of the TARP program and other responses to financial crisis;
  • Use “smart, aggressive policies” to reduce foreclosures;
  • Toughen conditions for recipients of bailout money; and
  • Try to attract private capital and speed the end of bailout plans.

Earlier on Monday,  Obama asked President Bush to notify Congress of his plan to use the remaining TARP funds.