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The Recount Begins

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Norm Coleman declared victory over Al Franken in the race for Senate in Minnesota, but it’s a bit premature. The recount begins today, a painstaking process that could whittle down Coleman’s 215-vote margin. The entire effort took on new importance after Mark Begich was declared the winner on Tuesday in his Senate race against Ted Stevens in Alaska, leaving Democrats two votes shy of a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority. More than 2.9 million ballots will be counted, one by one.

Lowe’s Diplomacy: Tina Daunt of the Los Angeles Times reports that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enlisted Rob Lowe to host Chinese government officials in town for the Governor’s Global Climate Forum. Lowe got them on the set of “Brothers & Sisters” — and then pitched environmental awareness.  “I told them that we need to bring our countries to the table to have a dialogue to figure out how we can solve global warming together,” Lowe said.

Baldwin Backtracks:
McCain supporter Stephen Baldwin no longer wants to leave the country — as he promised to do it Obama was elected. “The liberal Democrats who didn’t get that I was joking need to lighten up,” the born-again Christian told Page Six. “Obama is obviously talented and intelligent, and I have great respect for the man. He’s got my full support, and I’m gonna be praying for him and his administration.”

Quotable: David Geffen, Clinton critic, on the possible choice of Hillary as Secretary of State: “She’s smart and tough, a lot better than any of the old hacks like Holbrooke, Albright, etc. Barack Obama is going to run policy, and Hillary will be an effective communicator. It also takes Bill out of the game. It completely turns him into an ally — and probably a help to both of them. I think Obama is very smart to get as many smart people into the room as he can, to bring in Rahm and keep Lieberman and get Hillary into the cabinet. It brings an enormous amount of good will his way, and he’s going to need every ounce of it, given the wars and financial catastrophe America is facing. It’s getting bleaker every day. There are many, many, many more bubbles to burst.”

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