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Obama Pulls Back from Signing Statements


President Obama signs an executive order on stem cells in the East Room of the White House, but will dramatically cut down on signing statements accompanying laws. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

Updated 5:51 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama promised to pull back dramatically from a controversial tactic used by his predecessor, saying that he will rarely seek to impose his own interpretation on pending legislation with a statement when he signs it, White House officials said.

In a memorandum issued yesterday, he also ordered executive branch officials to consult with the attorney general before assuming that hundreds of President Bush's past official statements on legislation should remain in force.

"There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused," Obama said in the memo. "I will issue signing statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities."

The memo represents a rebuke of Bush, who dramatically increased the use of signing statements as a way of instructing officials in his government about how to implement legislation. The issue became highly controversial as critics accused Bush of using the previously little-known tactic as a way of subverting the intent of Congress, especially when it came to the war against terrorism, torture and domestic surveillance.

But longtime Bush critics hammered Obama for failing to put a complete end to the practice. The American Bar Association in 2006 called signing statements "contrary to the rule of law."

"There should be a clean break with the past on this," said Christopher Anders, the senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The president shouldn't be asserting -- as President Bush did -- wholesale objections to entire sections of statutes and claiming some kind of presidential authority to ignore them."

Anders said his group appreciates Obama's pledge to reduce the number of signing statements. But he said the danger still exists that the new president will use the tactic to ignore the will of the legislature.

"It's not enough to take any president at his or her word on an issue like this," Anders said.

And former Bush administration officials said they could detect little difference between Obama's new promise and the standards the former president used when issuing signing statements on legislation.

"This has been a standard practice going back decades. It's just when President Bush did it, his critics pounced," said former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. "They're going to do the same thing, whenever they feel like it."

In the memo, Obama pledged to use signing statements sparingly and to be bound by "interpretations of the Constitution that are well founded." And he promised to avoid signing statements by fixing constitutional problems before they reach his desk.

But the new White House stopped short of invalidating all of the signing statements that Bush issued during his eight years in office. The memo, first reported by the New York Times, says agencies should seek the attorney general's advice before enforceing the prior statements.

A former Bush lawyer said that instruction is no different than what the 43rd president gave upon taking office. "You couldn't just rely on President Clinton's statements," the lawyer said. "You would have to go to the Department of Justice, the White House to make sure that Bush agreed. That was just standard procedure."

Both presidential candidates last year hammered Bush for the practice. Obama accused Bush of attempting to change the meaning of legislation and of trying to avoid enforcing statutes that he didn't agree with. But Obama did not pledge to get rid of the practice, saying at the time that its limited use could help to protect a president's "constitutional prerogatives" once in office.

That contrasted sharply with his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who said during the campaign that he would never issue a signing statement as president. "Never, never, never, never. If I disagree with a law that passed, I'll veto it," he told The Washington Post.

Now that Obama is in office, the memo suggests that he will make good on his promise from the campaign. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama wants to return the practice to its original intent.

"This president will use signing statements in order to go back to what has been previously done, and that is to enumerate constitutional problems that either the Justice Department or the -- our legislative counsel here see as a potential problem through their reading, but not ask that laws be disallowed simply by executive fiat," Gibbs said.

Gibbs accused the Bush administration of issuing "hundreds and hundreds" of signing statements whose intent was to "disregard portions of legislation or the intent of Congress."

But Gibbs said signing statements -- which are attached to laws once the president signs a bill -- can be a useful tool to deal with constitutional questions about a small provision of a much larger bill.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 9, 2009; 3:24 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama  
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Next: Document: Obama Memo on Signing Statements

Comments

Signing statements circumvent the law and violate our constitutional separation of powers. If this president cannot sustain a veto of a law that he does not agree with than he must deal with his disappointment as would any citizen who disagrees with a law. We don't get to pick and choose which ones we adhere to, we obey them all. Bush did not get this, Clinton did not get this and sad to say Obabma does not get it either. This type of behavior is what causes the average citizen to lose respect for government.

Posted by: rick390 | March 10, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that Obama is a NATURAL BORN citizen -- there's a difference -- my own Governator is a citizen, but he can't legally become President either. If anyone else wants to discuss that, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

JakeD is not a Republican. He's further right than that.

Ah, he's proud of voting for GWB. That's sweet. He also loves Alan Keyes, and thinks Obama is not a citizen. He's just that kind of guy.

I just hope he keeps posting. Saint, JakeD, leapin, king_of_zouk: what more do we need to discredit conservatives? Oh, right. Our cup runneth over. We have Limbaugh. And Steele. And the entire Republican membership of the House. Oh, and Republican Senators, too. Man! Ralph Reed? Ann Coulter, and O'Reilley. Hannity! Well, the entire Fox network, actually. Oh, yeah, and of course THE MAN, GWB, and Cheney, and Gonzales, and Yoo, and . . .

boy, I don't have enough time for this tonight. I could go on and on. Aldridge! Wolfowitz! Rumsfeld! Brownie! . . .

Posted by: nodebris | March 10, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

P.S. Gibbs is the one who is wrong about the "hundreds and hundreds" of GWB signing statements (I've read them all -- have you? -- don't blame GWB for simply being more efficient with a fewer total number than Clinton ; )

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I am not a Republican, but I am proud of my votes for GWB.

Posted by: JakeD | March 10, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Obama has been president for 48 days. When Bush was at this stage in his presidency, after being selected by the Supremes, he had the Clinton surplus to work with, an excellent economy, and no useless wars to fight.
2900 days later, 8 years of republican rule, and Obama gets stuck with a steaming pile of crap.
If I were republican, I would hide.
I would never admit voting for such a loser as Bush, and I sure as hell wouldn't criticize anything except my own tremendous blunders in helping my party destroy this country.

Posted by: seemstome | March 9, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse


More distractions as the economy slides into the abyss.

Posted by: WylieD | March 9, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Another WaPo Op Ed. Sad.

O'Bama would have to first:

1)ask on of his Clintonite aids for advice on what to say, maybe even Bill himself, 2) have that Clintonite aid forward that information/feedback to the speech writer, 3) have the speech writer assigned at taxpayer cost to write the statement, and 4) then turn on the teleprompter to read off the statements written by someone else.

O'Bamma has no idea what the words mean nor the bills he signs other than reading summaries prepared by Clintonite aids.

How to implement them, or lead in carrying the bill into implementation?

He has shown that he has no idea about how to lead anything or instill even waning confidence of the American people, other than assure his own racial group of more handouts, in the economy that has lost 60% now in the 6 months since O'Bama became the designated Democrat for president and elected by a minority pull over vote of black voted who voted 95% for him, over the white candidate who received less than 5% of the black vote.

Lastly, there is an ignoring, passive glee in O'Bama as the markets tank and whites in majority lose everything they have worked for their whole lives.

With the US market collapse for O'Bama, the financial ''playing field'' is leveled for all Americans, regardless of color (Wright preachings)...

Posted by: Accuracy | March 9, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

“The collapse of America is unavoidable”

Dmitry Orlov, author of “Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects” is interviewed on Russia Today at http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/

Orlov: “U.S. collapse is inevitable, new society is needed to survive… Collapse of America will lead to worldwide rebellion.”

Posted by: daishi | March 9, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Shoeshine watches the market continue to tank and tank and tank -

calls Fidel and Sir Kennedy of Mary Jo Kopechnic fame about what to do.

Castro advises block wardens immediately, Sir Teddy also of Harvard cheating fame can't talk - muuuuahahaha

Posted by: webber7 | March 9, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

When do the war crimes trials for Comrade Bush start?

Oh, and Comrade Bush did more signing statements every single year than any prior President ever did in his entire term in office.

That's how bad they were.

Posted by: WillSeattle | March 9, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

So ignore instructions from all previous presidents, but he'll decide what laws from congress he will accept and issue statements for those he "thinks" are unconstitutional. He's so full of himself.

Posted by: hdc77494 | March 9, 2009 7:58 PM
*******************************************
Do you know what signing statements are? Do some research!

Posted by: nursehope | March 9, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm lovin'this guy more every day! Bush abused his power any way he could....Obama is clearly an ethical, pragmatic leader!

Posted by: nursehope | March 9, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama: "Hey, I like this new gig! I just sign the bills Nancy and Harry give me, make a few speeches and look Presidential! Nice work if you can get it. Eat your heart out, McCain."

Posted by: magellan1 | March 9, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

"It's not enough to take any president at his or her word on an issue like this," Anders said.
----------------------------------------------------
And that, my friends, is the crux. The sign that used to be on the Oval Office desk said, "The buck stops here." It did not say, "Trust me".

Sorry, Obama, this one I can't give you a pass on. Get rid of this authority that the Constitution doesn't give you.

Posted by: treetopflyer | March 9, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

So ignore instructions from all previous presidents, but he'll decide what laws from congress he will accept and issue statements for those he "thinks" are unconstitutional. He's so full of himself.

Posted by: hdc77494 | March 9, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

George W Bush is a JA. Even now he should be arrested and charged with treason.

Posted by: Maddogg | March 9, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Good, good for him -- I can support that, and gladly.

Now if he'd get rid of those stinking idiots who render and torture, he'd really be on his way...

Ah, the life is tough, innit?

ROTFLMAO

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | March 9, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse


TEAM OBAMA SHOULD NOW REALIZE THAT REV. WRIGHT WAS RIGHT.

President Obama does not yet seem to be cognizant of a frightening reality -- that the Bush "torture memos" were used to justify "programs of personal destruction" that REMAIN IN PLACE ON HIS WATCH.

Obama must come to realize that federal agencies and commands have enabled the ONGOING covert microwave radiation weapons torture and physical degradation of U.S. citizens deemed "undesirables," "mental defectives" and "dissidents"...

...as well as the nationwide GPS-enabled "community gang stalking" of U.S. citizens, who are hunted down like prey by citizen vigilante goons as "target" vehicles and implanted GPS devices enter the "crown of evil" GPS screen grid of the gang-stalkers.

It appears that Obama and most liberal/progressives have yet to realize that the "war on terror" appears to have been a premeditated pretext for an American genocide/politicide -- a horrific silent holocaust that has destroyed, and continues to destroy, untold thousands, if not millions, of American families and no doubt has contributed to economic tumult.

One person who WAS aware, and deserves vindication, is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

What has been happened since the dawning of the Bush administration has turned a just society into the "US of KKK-A," as harsh and impolitic as that sounds.

And the 21st century version of the Klan -- an American Gestapo -- remains on the march -- hiding behind covert federal "programs of personal financial destruction" and federally-funded community policing and town watch programs co-sponsored by local law enforcement nationwide.

President Obama must act immediately to restore American civil and human rights -- because each day he delays, the forces running these programs, the forces who will resist whatever "change" his presidency offers, are one day closer to making it impossible him to fulfill the "hope" he still embodies.

For more on "Gestapo USA" and why team Obama must move immediately to dismantle the Bush-Cheney "extrajudicial punishment network"...

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

PS. -- Anyone reading this with access to decision-makers on Team Obama (notably, David Axelrod) and in Congress: Please send them this missive.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

As with most things, Obama blames someone else or won't get involved. At some point, he's going to have to take charge and accept responsibility, even if it costs him a vote.

Or, maybe not, he's gotten a pass so far.

Posted by: magellan1 | March 9, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama will sign in some poverty bills, like the Global Food Security Act.

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | March 9, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

GREAT NEWS! The adults are back in charge, and integrity is being restored to government. The days when George Bush and the GOP hacks in Congress could do anything they wanted are OVER!

Well, cheer up, wingnuts. You can always tune in to the fat darft-dodging sex-junket-loving oxycontin addict and howl about socialism on AM radio LOL!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | March 9, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Quoting JakeD:
GWB issued 152 signing statements; Clinton issued 381. McCain promised not to issue a single signing statement.

=============================

Wrong again. Is this your attempt at republican revisionism? How about some facts....


"Mr. Bush broke all records, using signing statements to challenge about 1,200 bill sections over his eight years in office — about twice the number challenged by all previous presidents combined, according to data compiled by Christopher Kelley, a political science professor at Miami University in Ohio."

--Charlie Savage, The New York Times, 03-09-2009

.

Posted by: dastubbs | March 9, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

But Jake, since he isn't the legal president, wouldn't any signing statement of his be an illegal act? Just sayin'.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 9, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"Hundreds and hundreds"?! GWB issued 152 signing statements; Clinton issued 381. McCain promised not to issue a single signing statement.

Posted by: JakeD | March 9, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama is getting everything he wants from Reid, Pelosi and the other Bolsheviks in Congress. Why would he need any signing statements?

Posted by: tharper1 | March 9, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Signing statements from the President appear to be the focus. What SHOULD be the focus is the authority he has ceded to federal bureaucrats to interpret the law, as well as write and rewrite the regulations.

As we all know, given the recent sideshow a.k.a. the stimulus bill, Congresspeople have no clue about what is in a bill. Now the President, who is responsible for implementing and executing legislation, decides that he will duck his responsibility and turn it over to people who are not elected by ANYONE. Not exactly a victory for representative government, or even the ACLU, is IT?

Posted by: magellan1 | March 9, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

This is much ado about nothing.

Signing statements simply provide the president's opinion on whether the law (or section thereof) is unconstitutional and how or even whether the administration will carry it out.

As Mr. Bush found out, however, anyone — even those he labeled as terrorists not afforded constitutional rights — can sue the government over the application of the law and render the president’s signing statement moot.

Bush was not a lawyer. He was a crappy constitutional theorist, as were most of the lawyers in his administration.

How about testing a Bush/Cheney constitutional theory: That the president has unlimited powers when it comes to fighting terrorism. Such as suspending free speech and even the use of our military to target terrorists on American soil.

The Bush Administration seems to have given President Obama the authority to shut down the websites, newspapers, music and video production and the writings of domestic terrorists like the Aryan Nation, Aryan Brotherhood, etc. Obama could, under Bush’s theory, even go after homegrown religious terrorists who murder abortion providers and blow up federal buildings. After he suspends their free speech and other constitutional guarantees, he could bomb the CRAP out of them. Or just line them up and shoot them. No more domestic terrorists, right?

Let’s see how many idiot republicans agree that Obama has the same unlimited powers Bush claimed for himself.

DAStubbs,
Minneapolis

Posted by: dastubbs | March 9, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama's "promise to pull back" from signing statements while signing is a signing statement in itself you numbskulls. 20 yr Jeremiah Wright follower Obama is full of lies and deceptions. If Clinton was a pathological liar and the Devil, according to the Bible, is the father of lies, then 'the abortion president' Obama is somewhere in between them..perhaps he is Beelzebub in the flesh? Visualize world peace?--no...visualize Armageddon..Yes...coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Posted by: techsavvy777 | March 9, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone quote Ari Fleischer on anything?

The fact that he is quoted reduces the intellectual value of this story to dribble.

(Would it be churlish to point out that Bush did not USE signing statements -- he ABUSED signing statements. He added over 700 of them, according to a Boston newspaper.)
--------

In the weeks preceding the war in Iraq in 2003, then Press Secy Ari Fleischer was asked on the estimates for the cost of the war. His response? - "The cost of one bullet". I kid you not, that's a direct quote!

Other wonderful quotes from the Bush years include these gems:

"The Iraqi's will throw flowers at our feet" - Dick

"Once we take care of Saadam Huseein we will resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict" - George W. Bush

and of course the prize goes to:

"Wall St. got drunk!" - GWB

Posted by: dldbug | March 9, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama's bent on trashing the former administration is a sad sign of immaturity and sickening partisan politics.

On the other hand, when he wants to do what he wants to do and to Hell with anyone- he's going to do the same thing - and the American citizens will pay..........NOT ILLEGALS AND NOT HIS BRETHEREN.

Posted by: sandynh | March 9, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

So, Obama will use signing statements "sparingly"? And how is that word "sparingly" to be defined? And how swiftly can the definition be altered?

This is no change worth writing home about. He maintains the principle that he can do it whenever he wants to. Bush was an unprincipled wretch, and Obama is too.

Posted by: EnjoyEverySandwich | March 9, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the stem cell order Obama just signed a signing order?

Posted by: jdcw | March 9, 2009 6:21 PM

_________________________________________

No. That was an executive order (something the president can do by himself). A "signing statement" is an attempt by a president to give his slant on what a law means. Bush abused the practice not only in frequency (over eight times as many as any prior president) but in content--essentially signalling his intent to ignore portions of any statute he didn't agree with. Of course, neither Bush, Gonzalez, or the hundreds of Regent U. "law school" graduates that populated the Justice Department under Bush were exactly Rhodes Scholars when it came to the Constitution....

Posted by: pcpatterson | March 9, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the American Bar Association. Obama should not exempt his administration from the law of land as it was done by Bush. President and his administration are not above the law. Obama should clearly do away with this practice in no uncertain terms.

Posted by: kevin1231 | March 9, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

What a gold plated hypocrite. All a former president’s use of this signing statement mechanism are illegitimate yet he is going to use it. Signing statements are either legitimate or they are illegitimate. Looking at this objectively they should be done away with altogether since it is not an Executive Branch function to enact laws (Congress – Legislative Branch) and decide which are legal (Courts – Judiciary). If the Executive Branch wants to add an opinion, that is all it is, an opinion.


Posted by: FormerNewYorkerNo9 | March 9, 2009 5:45 PM


//
Bush wasn't adding opinions. He was saying in record volume that he wasn't going to enforce a law if he didn't agree with it.

It's your Constitution too, whether you give a flyer or not. You aren't looking at this objectively. You don't see it at all.

Posted by: Attucks | March 9, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Signing statements are the most undemocratic of acts in a democratic system. How President Bush was EVER permitted to issue these, in defiance of an established congressional process, is utterly and completely beyond me.

Good God, did NOBODY else think this was a smack in the face for constitutional law??

Defend these and you defend every tyrant, dictator and autocrat who attempted to wrest the reins of power from their rightful place.

Bush's actions were disgraceful and shameful; we might as well have been a banana republic for eight years.

Posted by: poortrekker | March 9, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the stem cell order Obama just signed a signing order?

Posted by: jdcw | March 9, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The competition remains heated for Dumbest Conservative Troll, but ChangeWhat's entry today puts him a nose ahead of ahashburn and bitter_bill. Don't count JakeD out.

Barry is an arrogant radical Marxist who's intent is to weaken this country in order to further his agenda. He does love this country. Just the opposite. He has a very shady incomplete past. He is a Fraud. Both he and his angry racist wife resent this country and what it stands for. He uses class envy, racism, and populist rhetoric to create division. He is a redistribution of wealth, central controlling government, anti capitalist Marxist. Easy to understand.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | March 9, 2009 6:01 PM

Posted by: Attucks | March 9, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
09 March 2009

This is another whiff of fresh air from the White House.

Those "signing statements" which George W. Bush routinely issued were blatant violations of the Constitution because by them he arrogated unto himself Legislative as well as Judicial powers.

President Barack Obama should refrain from issuing those "signing statements" completely--meaning without exception.

If the meaning of any part of a law is not that clear to him, he should consult the proceedings of the Congress; more likely than not, it is there that he will be enlightened.

Or, alternatively, if he has misgivings about the constitutionality of a law, he can seek declaratory relief from the U.S. Supreme Court.

That is how the President should act in a regime of Law and in obedience to the constitutinal "separation of powers."

Mariano Patalinjug
MarPatalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | March 9, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The signing statement is a comment added by The President. It documents The President's interpretation of the law he just endorsed. For example, Congress may pass a law forbidding The President to torture prisoners of war (i.e. unlawful combatants). George W. Bush dearly wants to torture them. So he comments that "it shall be the policy of my government to torture prisoners of war notwithstanding this silly a$$ law that I just signed." Congress legislates. The Executive executes. POTUS cannot legally pick and choose what laws to enforce and what laws to ignore. The problem is not so much with the signing statement as it is with the holder of the office of President of the United States of America.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | March 9, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

MR. PRESIDENT: MAKE A REAL STATEMENT.

SIGN AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BANNING MICROWAVE RADIATION WEAPONS AND THEIR COVERT USE TO TORTURE AND DEGRADE THE LIVES OF 'TARGETED BUT INNOCENT' AMERICAN CITIZENS.

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Barry is an arrogant radical Marxist who's intent is to weaken this country in order to further his agenda. He does love this country. Just the opposite. He has a very shady incomplete past. He is a Fraud. Both he and his angry racist wife resent this country and what it stands for. He uses class envy, racism, and populist rhetoric to create division. He is a redistribution of wealth, central controlling government, anti capitalist Marxist. Easy to understand.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | March 9, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone quote Ari Fleischer on anything?

The fact that he is quoted reduces the intellectual value of this story to dribble.

(Would it be churlish to point out that Bush did not USE signing statements -- he ABUSED signing statements. He added over 700 of them, according to a Boston newspaper.)

Posted by: pali2600 | March 9, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

In other words:

Whatevahs Missy Peloser and Massah Hairy wants!

They's gits! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 9, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I Congratulate President Obama for doing the right thing. For all the anti-obama crowd, I can live with a president who is addicted to teleprompter than one who is addicted to lies.

Posted by: srikanth_ | March 9, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

What a gold plated hypocrite. All a former president’s use of this signing statement mechanism are illegitimate yet he is going to use it. Signing statements are either legitimate or they are illegitimate. Looking at this objectively they should be done away with altogether since it is not an Executive Branch function to enact laws (Congress – Legislative Branch) and decide which are legal (Courts – Judiciary). If the Executive Branch wants to add an opinion, that is all it is, an opinion.

Posted by: FormerNewYorkerNo9 | March 9, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Obama Pulls Back from Signing Statements"

I wouldn't want my signature on that Pelosi crapola either...it will destroy your place in history, right Obama?
Only Obama's orgasmic tingling legged supporters will be fooled by this.

Even Warren Buffet is losing the tingling in his leg and rejecting his economic policies as Obama continues to destroy the economy.

Media Pimps + Ignorant Voters = the Obamination of America.

Posted by: ekim53 | March 9, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Is this another way to vote "Present"?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 9, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Fleischer is being somewhat disingenuous. Yes, previous presidents have used signing statements. BUT they have never used them in the numbers used by Dubya. Dubya issued 100s and prior presidents issued single digits. Dubya also used his for purposes that were questionable and probably un Constitutional if truth ever be told. One question - Why are all Bushies liars and disingenuous ^#@&*%%%..?

Posted by: Freethotlib | March 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The sooner the Obaminator FAILS the sooner America will succeed.

Posted by: ekim53 | March 9, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

henry waxman does not only look like a pig, he is one.
obama is the downfall of this nation. get ready for the destruction of this great country.
he will not talk to republicans but will talk to the taliban. what a moron.

"We cannot expect the American’s to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving American’s small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.”
~Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev, 1959

Posted by: pferd | March 9, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

..."interpretations of the Constitution that are well founded."

In other words: "My understanding of the Constitution is diferent than Bush's, and I dare anyone to question me."

--------------------

This administration is a charade -- a prop for Pelosi and Reid. And the media, on a pilgrimage to glorify and beautify the "Annointed One", has lost its ability to carefully examine and report in a fair, objective way.

Posted by: JAH3 | March 9, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

When confronted by the fact that their last president ran roughshod over the law, conservatives gird their loins, stand up straight and proud, and answer: "teleprompter!"

Posted by: nodebris | March 9, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

George W. Bush was truly the U.S. President closest to being a dictator.

Posted by: TalkingHead1 | March 9, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Two words- No teleprompter.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | March 9, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Nothing different from what other Presidents had done." Really? I have my doubts Ari.

Bush is a War Criminal and should be arrested, tried and if found guilty, sentenced to Gitomo for some R&R on the water-board since it's not torture.

Posted by: cfeher | March 9, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

It's OBAMA TIME!

Hey Repugnicans!

GIT SOME!

Posted by: DudeCameron | March 9, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"...Obama pledged to use "signing statements" sparingly and to be bound by "interpretations of the Constitution that are well founded."

So, does that mean no new restrictions on the 2nd Amendment?

Posted by: ahashburn | March 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Good for President Obama! Signing statements were nothing more than assertions by Bush that he was not bound by the law. The logic behind that completely escapes me. Unless I am mistaken, the job of the Congress is to enact laws and the job of the Executive is to execute them.

Posted by: Blue_Moose | March 9, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The online edition shows the headline "Obama Pulls Back From Signing Statements," and next to it, a picture of a chimpanzee. Tsk, tsk.

Posted by: Rob_ | March 9, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

(Since my intended post urging Obama to ban microwave radiation weapons assaults on U.S. citizens apparently has been CENSORED by rogue government surveillance operatives, I submit this:)

SUSPECT BIG BROTHER INTERNET / TELECOM SPYING OR MALICIOUS INTERFERENCE?


Do something -- tell your story to the American Civil Liberties Union (link below).

Then demand that ACLU renew its free speech fight by filing a class-action suit against unconstitutional, rogue government surveillance operations.

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate/#comments

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 9, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Signing statements always seemed to me to be GWB's way of saying, "I run everything. The President is all-powerful. Congress, you pass legislation, but I am going to carry it out in the way I choose, not the way you intended." If I were in the congress, I might feel more respected with Obama's way.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | March 9, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

And so another pillar of the Bush administration meets the wrecking ball. One-by-one they tumble as America returns to something more familiar and recognizable. Too bad other parts of his legacy -- war and economic ruin -- can't be so easily disposed of. Save for them, the Bush Administration would have become just an unpleasant memory fragment by summertime, barely thought of again.

Posted by: tzem | March 9, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The most agressive CANCER ever in this universe is called obama.

Posted by: xantiphi | March 9, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

To bitter_bill: "44" refers to the fact that Obama is the 44th President of the United States. Yeah, it took me a little while to catch on, too.

Posted by: dwbl@ix.netcom.com | March 9, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"The memo represents a rebuke of former president George W. Bush, who dramatically increased the use of signing statements as a way of instructing government officials on how to implement legislation."

"The practice became highly controversial as critics accused Bush of using the previously little-known tactic as a way of subverting the intent of Congress, especially when it came to questions involving terrorism, torture and domestic surveillance."


Ari Fleischer: "...the former president did nothing different than other presidents have done. This has been a standard practice going back decades..."

So I think this means that Ari Fleischer is LYING (surprise!). Why do we even go back to any of these people from the last eight years for any statements of "fact"? Haven't we learned that these pathetic excuses for human beings cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction? Please, just let them go away, back to their own fantasy islands and leave the rest of us in our reality-based communities.

Posted by: FactChecker1 | March 9, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing, isn't it, that Republicans have howled for over a generation about activist judges who make their own law, but seem to believe that that's okay if the president does it. Perhaps they are simply using Nixon's reasoning that "when the president does it that means that it is not illegal." Oh, but wait, actually, it WAS illegal. Oops.

Posted by: Bob22003 | March 9, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Pure political theater. If this was a matter of principle, at the very least Obama would specify what kinds of signing statements he would avoid (what type of bill, what kind of restriction). Preferably, of course, he would avoid these constitutional opt-outs altogether. Instead we're left with "no signing statements unless it's REALLY REALLY important!" On this issue, McCain 1, Obama 0.

Posted by: merkytimes | March 9, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Now I know where old republicans go to die, the WAPO comments page. Rest in peace
all you irrelevant elephants.

Posted by: seemstome | March 9, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Bush in jail ? Why does anyone pay attention to the very few Republicans who are left ? Why don't the Republicans in Congress have their Caucuses in a closet ?

Posted by: gatorsn09 | March 9, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just miss the days when Bush was president?

Posted by: lichtme | March 9, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Henry Waxman has a nose like a pig. SOO-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 9, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Why are there no signing statements? Easy... They haven't made a teleprompter designed for the size of his desk.

After all, as the Chief Executive, he is supposed to "execute" the legislation, not leave it languish to the opinions of the many.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | March 9, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

What does 44 refer to?

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 9, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: You, like your friend Bush, are an a-hole

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 9, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

You mean the "previously little-known tactic" that was used by Presidents both Republican and Democrat alike?

Posted by: JakeD | March 9, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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