Time magazine has announced that President-elect Barack Obama is its 2008 Person of the Year after he became the first African-American to win the White House. “In one of the craziest elections in American history, he overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions and the racial divide to become the 44th president of the United States,” the magazine said. Click here to see never-before-seen photos of Obama in Time’s pictorial: “Obama: The College Years.”
*By the way, one of the photos (below) from Time’s pictorial of Obama’s days at Occidental College in LA’s Eagle Rock district, would lead you to believe that the prez-elect was snapped smoking a blunt. Even though he’s admitted to doing a doobie or two back in the day, this photo of a young, cool, hip Obama is really showing him puff puffing on a plain ol’ cigarette, according Time magazine’s Rick Stengel. So, no Rush Limbaugh, it’s not what you’re thinking or hoping.
*Meanwhile, Obama said Wednesday he wants very badly to discuss the investigation into charges that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich schemed to sell his Senate seat to the highest bidder, but has been told by the U.S. attorney to keep quiet for another week. “There’s been a lot of speculation in the press that I would love to correct immediately,” Obama told reporters. He said his team is “abiding by the request of the U.S. attorney” to not release the results of his internal investigation, already compiled, until next week. “It’s not going to be that long,” Obama said. (Related article: Some Pundits Not Buying Obama’s Protests on Scandal)
*Barack Obama announced Wednesday his choices of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to lead the Interior Department. “It is time for a new kind of leadership in Washington that’s committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all of our families,” Obama said in a news conference, his third in as many days to announce Cabinet choices.
*It was reported late yesterday that Obama plans to choose a second Republican for his Cabinet in a press conference scheduled for later today. Illinois congressman Ray LaHood will reportedly be named transportation secretary. He’ll join defense secretary Robert Gates (a holdover from the Bush administration) as the lone Republicans in Obama’s Cabinet – so far.
*Comedians Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook and Paul Rodriguez were reportedly invited to perform at various inauguration events in Washington. The New York Post reports: “We’re told they’ve been practicing their punch lines at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. Chappelle said: ‘The economy is so bad, terrorists are bombing their own countries because they can’t afford to come here.'”
*Patti Austin says she will definitely be performing at the Inauguration, although “she can not announce exactly where or what event she will be performing at,” according to an email from her camp. She says she’ll sing “We the People,” a tune penned specifically for Austin by the songwriting team of Marilyn and Alan Bergman. “[It] is the perfect tune to celebrate this new chapter in all of our lives,” says Austin.
*Jailbreak Toys is offering a Barack Obama doll in time for Christmas. The six-inch action figure is priced at $12.95 and, according to gossip blogger Janet Charlton, “are flying off the shelves at stores in New York.” Click here to order.