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Is politics for public service or personal gain? That’s one of the many questions raised when a US Senate seat is put up for sale. We talk about what constitutes corruption in a political system based on trading favors. Also, the White House may tap TARP to bailout the auto industry. On Reporter's notebook, will new trials before "military commissions" make it harder for Barack Obama to close Guantánamo Bay?

Banner image: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich leaves his home on December 11, 2008 in Chicago. Photo: Brian Kersey/Getty Images

Making News White House May Tap TARP to Bailout Auto Industry 6 MIN, 2 SEC

Republicans in the Senate killed the Big Three bailout last night. Now the Bush White House may be ready to do what it has said it would not -- help Ford, Chrysler and General Motors with some of the $700 billion originally appropriated for Wall Street. Today, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut stressed that the urgency in acting was not a matter of weeks but hours. Sudeep Reddy covers the White House for the Wall Street Journal.

Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal (@Reddy)

Main Topic Illinois Governor Blagojevich and the Politics of Corruption 35 MIN, 21 SEC

On Monday of this week, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested and charged with offering Barack Obama's senate seat for sale to the highest bidder. The President-elect, himself a product of Chicago politics, made a distinction yesterday between what he called two separate traditions: public service and "what's in it for me." But, in a political system that's based on wheeling and dealing, what constitutes breaking the law? Just how did Blagojevich step over the line? Does the incident reveal anything about Obama? With the US preaching democracy, how does it look to the rest of the world?

Daniel Lowenstein, Professor of Law, UCLA
Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC (@Lawrence)
Dick Simpson, former Chicago Alderman
Nancy Boswell, President and CEO, US Chapter of Transparency International

Reporter's Notebook Closing 'Gitmo,' Easier Said that Done? 7 MIN, 15 SEC

Even President Bush has said he'd like to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay.  In his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised he'd do the job. But despite doubts about so-called "military commissions," the top prosecutor at "Gitmo" is starting new trials for suspected terrorists. It's a move that could make closing the facility easier said than done, according to Adam Zagorin of Time magazine.

Adam Zagorin, Project on Government Oversight

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