Top Democrat steps down
Howard Dean announced that he would not seek a second term as Democratic Party chairman, honoring a tradition that allows the incoming president to fill the post. Dean won praise for rebuilding the party’s infrastructure and establishing a Democratic presence in red states. But he clashed with party bigwigs over using resources in marginal races. He reportedly is interested in becoming secretary of Health and Human Services. 

Lobbyist restrictions
Barack Obama’s transition team placed new restrictions on lobbyists’ activities during the transition. Honoring a pledge to limit lobbyists’ access, Obama said registered lobbyists would be barred from contributing money to the transition effort or working for it in any field in which they’ve represented clients in the past 12 months. Some lobbyists said the restrictions deprive the Obama team of much-needed talent.