Attorney General Eric Holder has been a lightning rod for the president's fiercest critics during his four years in office. Lately, he's been back on the hot seat with a crisis of his own making: the Justice Department's aggressive stance toward reporters in national security leak cases.
Holder heads to the Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers are sure to demand an explanation.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama is shuffling his national security team. As he announced this afternoon, his longtime advisor Tom Donilon will be stepping down next month and Donilon will be replaced as national security advisor by Susan Rice. She is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, whose comments on last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya have made her a favorite target for Republicans.
For more on Susan Rice and Samantha Power and the political calculations behind the president's choices, we turn to our national political correspondent, Mara Liasson. And Mara, let's start with Samantha Power. People might be familiar with her name from the White House, but tell us more about her background.
President Obama has announced his choice of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as the next national security adviser, an appointment that does not require Senate confirmation. Congressional Republicans have sharply criticized Rice for erroneous statements she made after the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
It wasn't exactly a surprise to hear that President Obama named U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his next national security adviser.
Almost as soon as it became clear that her role in the administration's Benghazi talking-points snafu meant Senate Republicans would never let her be confirmed as secretary of state if Obama nominated her, the possibility of her taking over from Tom Donilon as Obama's top national security aide was frequently mentioned.
Still, speculation is one thing; an actual appointment, another. So what to make of Rice's appointment?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Chris Christie calls a very special election in Jersey. Missouri 8th voters call for Jason Smith, and a House committee chair calls out the White House spokesman. It's Wednesday and time for a...
REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA: Paid liar...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
It's ridiculously, absurdly early to talk about 2016 presidential politics. Only a fool would try to predict who will be the next Republican nominee just seven months after the last election for the White House.
Still, in most election cycles, the GOP would already have an obvious front-runner by now, one who would more than likely prevail as the party's pick.
Not this time.
"This will be the most open Republican nomination in 50 years," says Tom Rath, a former GOP attorney general of New Hampshire and a veteran of early state presidential politics.
Mayor Michael Bell hopes Chinese investment will help revive his blue-collar city. He helped broker a deal to sell a chunk of Toledo's waterfront to Chinese investors. Host Michel Martin and Mayor Bell discuss investments with China and what he thinks President Obama and China President Xi Jinping can accomplish during their U.S. visit.
One of the last things Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel did before he resigned to join the Nixon Cabinet was to fill a Senate vacancy caused by the December 1968 death of E.L. Bartlett, a Democrat. Hickel picked a GOP state representative by the name of Ted Stevens. Stevens, who only months before lost a Republican primary bid for a different seat, went on to serve more than 40 years in the Senate, longer than any Republican in history. Appointing Stevens was by any definition a good move.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
The Whitehouse has announced that President Obama's National Security Advisor is resigning and he will be replaced by Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. NPR's Ron Elving is here to tell us more. Ron, some months ago, Ms. Rice was rumored to be nominated Secretary of State - that, of course, did not happen. So why don't you give us a quick fill on the back story.