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February 3, 2009, 8:30 P.M.

I thought we won the election? Senator Tom Daschle withdrew his name from consideration as Health and Human Services Secretary today. The President accepted responsibility for appointing Daschle, acknowledging that he screwed up, and that there are not two sets of rules and that mistakes are going to be made.

To me it was refreshing to hear the President admit that a mistake was made. It allows us to move forward without having the matter drawn out unnecessarily. What is important here is the future of health care reform in this country and we canít afford the distraction of Daschleís personal mistakes.

For the most part, I am pleased with the first two weeks of the Presidency. We hear from our President every day. He is showing us that he is on top of issues and that he can manage the number of crisis situations which he has inherited, and that he can juggle a few unexpected ones as well.

I have to say that the Judd Gregg appointment leaves me a little concerned. Itís not because Gregg isnít a good choice, I think he is. I also have to say that Gregg has shown some real leadership on the environment, and real independence from the Bush administration on a few issues. My problem is in the deal between Gregg and Governor John Lynch over Greggís Senate seat.

Apparently, Gregg made a deal with Lynch so that Gregg took the job in the Cabinet, contingent upon a promise by Lynch to appoint a Republican to fill Greggís Senate seat.

I thought the Democrats won here. Why should our Democratic Governor agree to such a deal? The only thing he should have agreed to is appointing the best person for the job defined as the best Senator to represent New Hampshire. New Hampshire, in case anyone hasnít noticed, is a solid Blue State today and I expect that, if asked, the majority would support the appointment of a Democrat to fill the seat. Judd Gregg is a popular, moderate, Republican Senator. He will make a good Commerce Secretary. He should not, however, condition his service on anything, and Lynch shouldnít have sold out his appointment power. Goodness knows what he gets out of the deal. We will have to stay tuned to find that out.

February 3, 2009, 8:00 P.M.

Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly in a plane crash. February 3, 1958, the day the music died, still evokes sadness and a profound sense of loss to a generation. Their music still moves people, and their deaths, at a young age and before they ever approached their potential, still makes people wonder what could have been.

A short few years after the loss of American Pie and her precious cargo, we lost a president and within ten years our country was reeling from the loss of two more important young men, not to mention the thousands of important young lives lost in Viet Nam during the same time period. History is an important teacher and I am hopeful for the future of our government and our country. We survived the day the music died, the loss of Martine and John and Robert, and the damage to our national standing caused by the Viet Nam war. We survived a civil war, a depression and two world wars. Hopefully, the last eight years wonít do us in, either.

The music didnít really die in 1958, although Iím sure it felt that way. The economy really is as bad as we think right now. I hope this too shall pass.

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Copyright 2008 Edward Philpot

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