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Political tidbits: Nadler interested in N.Y. Senate seat, latest on Franken-Coleman

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  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler says he’s interested in the New York U.S. Senate seat. He says in an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that he has not been doing a "public campaign" but has spoken to New York Gov. David Paterson privately.
  • Al Franken says he’s "on track to win" the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota, writes Politico. He’s now up by 50 votes, with more than a thousand absentee ballots still in dispute:

“I’m glad to be ahead, and as it appears that we’re on track to win, I want Minnesotans to know that I’m ready to get to work for them in Washington on Day One,” Franken said in a statement. Franken also sent out an e-mail to his supporters with a similar message.

  • Meanwhile, Politico also reports that the Republican Party appears ready to back Norm Coleman in a possible legal challenge to the results in Minnesota:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the incoming chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has some fighting words for Al Franken: The Minnesota Senate race is far from over.

In a statement released this afternoon, Cornyn accused the Franken campaign of promoting "chaos and disorder" in the ongoing recount and called Franken’s current 50-vote lead over Sen. Norm Coleman "artificial."

  • A group of atheists has filed suit to prevent the controversial Rick Warren, or any other religious leader, from praying at the inauguration, reports the Washington Post:

Michael A. Newdow, 17 other individuals and 10 groups representing atheists sued Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., several officials in charge of inaugural festivities, the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery and megachurch pastor Rick Warren. They filed the complaint in U.S. District Court.

Newdow and others also argue that the phrase "so help me God," used consistently in inaugural oaths since the swearing-in of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, should be stricken, saying it is not part of the oath as specified in the Constitution.

  • Warren answered some questions from the Weekly Standard’s Terry Eastland, including one about how he intends to pray on Jan. 20:

It doesn’t bother me at all when an Imam prays a Muslim prayer in [a] public arena or when a Rabbi prays a Jewish prayer in public or when anyone expresses their personal faith in public. This is America. We don’t deny our differences but we are respectful of all of them. I’m a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray.

  • Leonard Fein, in the Forward, notes that "there were more Jews on the 1938 Detroit Tigers, when Hank Greenberg was the only Jew on the team, than there are in Barack Obama’s Cabinet":

Is that good news or bad news? It used to be said of Bill Clinton that he was the first president who didn’t count Jews, meaning that he felt no need not to appoint “too many” Jews — Summers, Rubin, Reich, Kantor, Glickman, Albright. My sense is that it’s safe to say Obama is comfortable enough in his relationship with Jews not to fear appointing “too few” to his Cabinet. There are those who will be disconcerted by the Cabinet’s Jew-lessness. They should take comfort from the composition of the White House staff, arguably the more consequential of the two: Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff; Lawrence Summers, head of the National Economic Council; David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president.

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