8 a.m. ET: For all of President Obama's desire to change Washington and blaze a trail different from that of his predecessor, the new occupant of the White House is having to spend an awful lot of time dealing with the problems and policies left behind by the old one.
Last week, the Obama administration rolled out -- to mediocre reviews -- its financial rescue plan, a continuation of the controversial bank bailout begun by George W. Bush. This week, it's the auto industry that will be giving the White House headaches. GM is set to ask the federal government for several billion dollars more in federal aid today, after Bush decided back in December to give the big auto companies access to loans rather than forcing them into bankruptcy.
At the time, it seemed as though Bush had done Obama a favor, by choosing to bail out the auto companies rather than punting the decision to the new administration or letting them fail just in time for Obama to inherit an even worse economic mess. It still looks that way today, but that doesn't mean the road ahead will be easy. Obama has already decided to dispense with the Bush administration idea of naming a "car czar," instead choosing to create a panel to guide auto policy. (How much time does the average president spend naming czars, councils and commissions? Let's appoint someone to figure that out.)
Next Obama will have to determine how much more cash he's willing to commit to keep the auto industry alive. And his inheritance from Bush isn't restricted to economic policy.
The new administration has also been in court, as AP puts it, "resisting pressure to release documents the Bush administration kept secret about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists." Obama is trying to postpone making a decision on whether to support the Bush administration's invocation of executive privilege to try to prevent Karl Rove from having to testify before Congress on the firings of U.S. Attorneys and other issues. And the Obama administration is defending, for now at least, a rule issued under Bush that allows people to carry concealed firearms in national parks.
In other "43" news, there is a bit of evidence this morning that the relationship between Bush and Dick Cheney had degraded somewhat by the time the two men left office last month. Tom DeFrank reports not just that Cheney had wanted the president to grant a pardon for Scooter Libby, which was already widely known, but also that Cheney is supposedly "furious with Bush" and "really angry" that he didn't do so.
Both Cheney and Bush have chosen largely to stay out of public view. Not so Rove, who opines regularly on the White House's new occupant, and has drawn the ire of his opposite number in the Obama administration -- David Axelrod. After hitting back at both Rove and Cheney during an interview last week with the Washington Post, Axelrod stayed on the topic Sunday on "Meet the Press," again mocking Rove's standing to give Obama advice on ethics or fiscal policy.
February 17, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Go to full archive for The Rundown »
Please email us to report offensive comments.
The comments to this entry are closed.