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The Rundown

December 23, 2009

A publication note: This is the last edition of the Political Browser as a standalone daily feature. Thanks to everyone who has read this page since it first launched 15 months ago, and a special thanks to producer John Amick,...

By Ben Pershing | December 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's all over but the shouting in the Senate, where Democrats are in the midst of clearing another procedural hurdle en route to final passage of a health-care bill. The chamber will vote on another procedural motion...

By Ben Pershing | December 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In a saga that has included countless press conferences, high-profile speeches and one seeming climax after another, it may turn out that Sunday's 1 a.m. procedural vote in a snow-muffled Capitol was the most important milestone in...

By Ben Pershing | December 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 18, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is President Obama losing his trademark cool over global warming? Not quite, but the temperature in Copenhagen does appear to have risen Friday. "A clearly frustrated President Barack Obama displayed impatience Friday with world leaders' failure to...

By Ben Pershing | December 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If you're a Senate Democrat who supports health-care reform, which sounds worse: Having to stay in town to vote on Christmas Eve, or leaving for the holidays empty-handed? Both scenarios now appear possible, as Republican delaying tactics...

By Ben Pershing | December 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: During his "combative" interview with 60 Minutes this past weekend, President Obama appeared particularly irritated by Steve Kroft's suggestion that he had simply "turned over" health care -- his top legislative priority -- to Congress. "That's not...

By Ben Pershing | December 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Unless this is a horror movie -- and at this point, it might be -- it appears that the public option is really, truly dead. Probably. After Joe Lieberman drew a line in the sand over the...

By Ben Pershing | December 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

December 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For months, Senate veterans pondering when a health-care bill would pass the chamber eyed Christmas week on their calendars -- specifically Wednesday, Dec. 23 -- as the last and thus, likeliest, day for passage in 2009. But...

By Ben Pershing | December 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

December 11, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama went to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, and he delivered something in return -- the clearest articulation yet of his foreign policy views. In case you haven't heard, Obama accepted the peace prize...

By Ben Pershing | December 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

December 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: When President Obama was sworn into office back in January, it's unlikely that his aides circled Dec. 10 on the calendar in hopes that he would spend this day in Oslo picking up a Nobel Peace Prize,...

By Ben Pershing | December 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The health-care reform roller-coaster has been through more ups and downs in the last six months than are possible to count. With a Senate deal on the public option in the offing, Wednesday is clearly an "up"...

By Ben Pershing | December 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The year -- and this session of Congress -- may be nearly over, but it's never too late for yet another sweeping revision of the health-care reform proposals that have been under consideration for months. Major changes...

By Ben Pershing | December 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

December 7, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The health-care debate slogs forward in the Senate, reaction to the Afghanistan surge continues and the climate conference in Copenhagen begins this week, but a fourth issue will take political precedence. As Nancy Pelosi put it so...

By Ben Pershing | December 7, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Are liberals growing restless with President Obama? This week alone, the president has announced a troop surge in Afghanistan that was greeted tepidly by fellow Democrats; the Senate health-care bill's public option is likely to be watered...

By Ben Pershing | December 4, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

December 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two days after President Obama's major Afghanistan speech, the mixed reaction to his new strategy has been leavened by the realization that divides over the policy won't prevent it from happening. "Despite misgivings, members of Congress seem...

By Ben Pershing | December 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 2, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Back in October, Eugene Robinson wrote that "the decisions on Afghanistan truly are either-or," so President Obama could not -- as is his habit -- decide to split the difference on the war. But to friends and...

By Ben Pershing | December 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

December 1, 2009

8 a.m. ET: After months of deliberation, President Obama will unveil his new strategy for Afghanistan Tuesday to a country -- and a Congress -- still divided on the right way forward. Obama is expected to announce at West Point...

By Ben Pershing | December 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: This week marks a turning point for the two thorniest issues of Barack Obama's young presidency, as the Senate begins debate on its health-care bill and Obama announces his decision on the way forward in Afghanistan. How...

By Ben Pershing | November 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 23, 2009

The Political Browser is spending this week giving thanks rather than browsing. It will return Monday, Nov. 30. In the interim, please do check out the Washington Post's other fine political offerings. Happy Thanksgiving....

By Ben Pershing | November 23, 2009; 06:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Cancel those weekend plans: You've now got a date Saturday night with health-care reform. The Senate measure faces a key procedural vote Saturday evening, and Harry Reid is still working to assemble the requisite 60 votes. Politico...

By Ben Pershing | November 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

November 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two weeks after the House passed its health-care bill and exactly a month after the Senate Finance Committee reported out its version of the measure, the Senate's compromise plan is finally ready for its closeup. Harry Reid...

By Ben Pershing | November 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

November 18, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama may or may not have lost weight so far in office, but there's no question he feels a heavy burden as challenges mount at home and abroad. Speaking to CBS News during a round of...

By Ben Pershing | November 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The story of health-care reform since the summer has been nothing less than epic. There have been tea parties and blowups in Congress, tens of millions spent on television ads and many millions more on lobbyists and...

By Ben Pershing | November 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

November 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Though his term in the White House has been relatively short, President Obama has already gotten accustomed to criticism from some quarters for his forays abroad. His April trip to Europe, his June speech to the Muslim...

By Ben Pershing | November 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

November 13, 2009

8 a.m. ET: We're only 10 years into the 21st century, so it's safe to say that the "trial of the century" so far is coming soon to New York. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who describes himself as the mastermind behind...

By Ben Pershing | November 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

November 12, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Just as it appeared President Obama might be on the verge of approving a new plan for Afghanistan, a crucial meeting Wednesday and a well-timed leak suggest the administration has gone back to the drawing board. "Obama...

By Ben Pershing | November 12, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

November 11, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The unemployment rate remains over 10 percent, the way forward in Afghanistan is uncertain and the attack at Fort Hood last week provided a fresh reminder of both the toll of war and the potential threat of...

By Ben Pershing | November 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

November 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Liberals spent a good portion of the health-care debate complaining that President Obama was insufficiently committed to including the public option in a reform bill, accusing him of sacrificing a cause that was important to them for...

By Ben Pershing | November 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

November 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Believe it or not, that was the easy part. Proponents of health-care reform got their chance to take a brief breath and celebrate Sunday, after a sweeping bill passed the House Saturday night. Now it's on to...

By Ben Pershing | November 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

November 6, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The major political debates of the moment suddenly appeared small Thursday, after an army psychiatrist walked into a medical building at Fort Hood and opened fire, killing at least 13 and wounding 30. The Texas army base...

By Ben Pershing | November 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 5, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's the morning after the morning after, and already the conventional wisdom about Tuesday's elections has begun to shift. The initial reaction -- Republicans had a great day -- has shifted to this: Republicans had a great...

By Ben Pershing | November 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: When reporters look for patterns worthy of coverage, they usually follow a rule -- three makes a trend. Three or more similar examples are enough to merit a story. So what exactly does it mean that Republicans...

By Ben Pershing | November 4, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

November 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The polls are open this morning in upstate New York, New Jersey, Virginia and a handful of other regions, and while electoral predictions are all over the map, the most common sentiment is that this will be...

By Ben Pershing | November 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 2, 2009

8 a.m. ET: A week that will include the one-year anniversary of President Obama's election will also provide two key referendums on his tenure so far -- a trio of off-year contests Tuesday and a House vote to move health-care...

By Ben Pershing | November 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama and congressional Democrats moved closer to the end of a very bumpy road this week, as the House now has a health-care reform bill that is expected to pass the chamber and the Senate is...

By Ben Pershing | October 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

October 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: After months of closed-door negotiations and irritated lawmakers parading in and out of Nancy Pelosi's office, the House's health-care reform bill is finally ready for its closeup. The measure will be unveiled at 10:30 am Thursday at...

By Ben Pershing | October 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 28, 2009

8 a.m. ET: As President Obama's decision nears on how to proceed in Afghanistan, the dangers there for American forces appear to be multiplying. October has been the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in the Afghanistan war, a story...

By Ben Pershing | October 28, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: What is Harry Reid thinking? Even in normal times, it's a common question, as the Majority Leader's ability to schedule bills on the Senate floor puts him at the fulcrum of every major legislative fight in Washington....

By Ben Pershing | October 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

October 26, 2009

8 a.m. ET: House and Senate Democrats are, for the moment, moving in different directions on their respective health-care reform bills. But they do agree on one point -- President Obama isn't doing enough to help them. In the Senate,...

By Ben Pershing | October 26, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 23, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Everyone loves a good comeback story. The public insurance option, the inclusion of which in a final reform plan appeared highly unlikely a month ago, now looks like a decent bet to pass in some form. The...

By Ben Pershing | October 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In his 2000 campaign, Al Gore famously railed against "powerful forces and powerful interests [that] stand in your way." President Obama may not be quite the populist Gore was, but his administration's current frontal assaults on Wall...

By Ben Pershing | October 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Afghanistan war has become plagued by uncertainty both on the ground and in the halls of Washington, as the government there wobbles through the aftermath of a disputed election and the one here remains divided over...

By Ben Pershing | October 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's increasingly possible that we will look back and see that August 2009 was this election cycle's height of Republicans' optimism over their political fortunes, and the depth of Democrats' despair. By the time the midterm elections...

By Ben Pershing | October 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

October 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Remember those innocent days of spring -- before the health-care reform debate heated up and Afghanistan deteriorated so much -- when the political world was preoccupied by executive bonuses on Wall Street? That issue is back, but...

By Ben Pershing | October 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two of the drivers of health-care reform in the House and Senate have reason for good cheer Friday morning, as the former got some good news on the price front and the latter is increasingly confident his...

By Ben Pershing | October 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For all the change President Obama said he would bring to Washington, there is one law of politics that remains reliably constant -- seniors vote. That's why so much of the rhetoric from both sides of the...

By Ben Pershing | October 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In a health-care debate that has often been as fast-paced and only slightly more interesting than watching paint dry, all sides agreed that Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee vote to approve reform legislation was a monumentally momentous milestone....

By Ben Pershing | October 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 13, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Senate Finance Committee's stint in the driver's seat of the health-care debate is nearing its end, as the panel will vote Tuesday at long last to approve its reform bill and send it out to compete...

By Ben Pershing | October 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 12, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's efforts to bring various stakeholders on board the health-care reform train -- particularly hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry -- have gotten quite a bit of attention. But health insurance companies have thus far occupied an...

By Ben Pershing | October 12, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: A surprise of historic proportions happened overnight, even more unexpected than the latest baseball playoff shocker: President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee said Obama was given the prize because he "created a...

By Ben Pershing | October 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Wednesday brought a reminder that wonks bearing calculators can be hugely important to the direction of the country, as the Congressional Budget Office's determination that the Senate Finance Committee health bill would cost $829 billion served to...

By Ben Pershing | October 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

October 7, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Fairly or not, President Obama has in the past been dubbed the "compromiser-in-chief" because of his inclination toward the middle ground. That may well be where he's headed on Afghanistan. At a meeting Tuesday with congressional leaders...

By Ben Pershing | October 7, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 6, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Does President Obama have a good option in Afghanistan? In a week that will be dominated by White House deliberations over the way forward in the war effort, the debates both inside and outside the administration seem...

By Ben Pershing | October 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 5, 2009

8 a.m.: Can't we all just agree on something? The first full week of September begins with Hill Democrats divided on health care, the Obama administration divided on Afghanistan and the business community divided on climate change. In the Senate...

By Ben Pershing | October 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 2, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Oct. 2 could end up being one of the Obama administration's better days, as health-care reform cleared a key hurdle this morning and the president made an in-person pitch that may have secured the 2016 Olympics for...

By Ben Pershing | October 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

October 1, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Just as President Obama is seeking to unify Democrats behind his health-care proposals against a solid wall of GOP opposition, he may be forced to do the opposite if he decides to send more troops to Afghanistan....

By Ben Pershing | October 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

September 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: An outcome that had been expected for weeks still generated a good deal of drama and post-game analysis, as Tuesday's defeat of efforts to add the public insurance option to the Senate Finance Committee's health-care bill pushed...

By Ben Pershing | September 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

September 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Congress will bear down this week on two of the most vexing issues in the health-care debate -- how to pay for the reform plan, and whether it should include a public insurance option -- as well...

By Ben Pershing | September 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

September 28, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Thorny problems in Iran and Afghanistan are testing President Obama's ability to navigate international crises, as his administration presents a resolutely united front on the former country but remains divided on the latter. Much of the recent...

By Ben Pershing | September 28, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

September 25, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Friday's storyline in Pittsburgh was supposed to be all about the economy, as leaders of the G-20 are set to announce plans to work together on the kinds of global economic reforms that had previously been driven...

By Ben Pershing | September 25, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

September 24, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama has now crossed the midpoint of a week dominated by top-level international summitry on U.S. soil, temporarily distracting him from the twin challenges of health-care reform and Afghanistan that currently dominate the domestic political scene....

By Ben Pershing | September 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 23, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is President Obama on the rebound? Events from the last 24 hours provide a mixed answer to that question, suggesting the White House may have reason for optimism on the domestic front even as trouble brews abroad....

By Ben Pershing | September 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Senate Finance Committee begins its slog through the chairman's health-care bill Tuesday, as the effort to pass reform looks healthier but still in need of intensive care. Max Baucus spent the final hours beforehand revising the...

By Ben Pershing | September 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama spent the bulk of his five television appearances Sunday parrying questions on the two biggest challenges currently faced by his administration -- Afghanistan and health care -- and did relatively little to boost optimism on...

By Ben Pershing | September 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

September 18, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama won decisively in November by promising a firm break from the policies of the Bush administration. But when it comes to national security issues, Obama hasn't necessarily steered a much different course than that of...

By Ben Pershing | September 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

September 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: At some point in the last few months, Max Baucus apparently decided to test the cliche that a true compromise should irritate everyone. One day after Baucus released his long-awaited compromise health care measure, the most common...

By Ben Pershing | September 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If Budget Day on Capitol Hill is like Christmas for policy wonks, then today must surely be some lesser holiday for health-care mavens. At long last, Max Baucus will unveil his version of the reform bill, without...

By Ben Pershing | September 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Speaking on 60 Minutes Sunday night, President Obama recalled an adviser telling him that health-care reform "will be pronounced dead at least four or five times" before finally succeeding. This week could be one of those times,...

By Ben Pershing | September 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Amid the current intense focus on the need for health-care reform, it's easy to forget that at this time last year, the political world was consumed by a much different kind of crisis. Today, President Obama heads...

By Ben Pershing | September 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 11, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For one night, speaking Wednesday before a rapt and (mostly) captive audience, President Obama had control of the health-care debate. Now it's back into the gears of the legislative grinder, as intraparty divisions and concern over deficits,...

By Ben Pershing | September 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

September 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The biggest day so far of President Obama's tenure is over, giving way to two questions: Was his address to a joint session of Congress worth giving, and how will it impact the health-care debate going forward?...

By Ben Pershing | September 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

September 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is the 233rd day of Barack Obama's presidency the most important one yet? Given that he is less than a quarter of the way through his first term, Obama has had quite a few big moments already...

By Ben Pershing | September 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The president who essentially made his political career with a few well-delivered speeches has two on tap in the next 36 hours -- a seemingly minor education address that became unexpectedly controversial and an undeniably major speech...

By Ben Pershing | September 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For all the current focus on health-care reform, it may just be the economy and the perceived effectiveness of the stimulus package that drive results in next year's midterm elections. With that in mind, Vice President Biden...

By Ben Pershing | September 4, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

September 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: What was only theoretical yesterday morning is reality today, as President Obama now has firm plans to address a joint session of Congress on health care next Wednesday night. But while the schedule may now be clear,...

By Ben Pershing | September 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 2, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Before this year's health-care debate began, President Obama made an important decision about what he didn't want -- Hillarycare, The Sequel. Aside from pursuing a fundamentally different reform plan than the one Hillary Clinton unveiled during her...

By Ben Pershing | September 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

September 1, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The calendar this morning brings a new month, and a renewed focus on the thorny problem of Afghanistan after August was concerned mostly with controversies of the domestic variety. Stanley McChrystal says "the situation in Afghanistan is...

By Ben Pershing | September 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

August 31, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Today begins the final week before Congress returns to session, but the proliferation of news has made it difficult to differentiate the normally sedate August recess from the rest of the political calendar. In the last week...

By Ben Pershing | August 31, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

August 28, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The mourning of Edward Kennedy continues today, as official remembrances mix with behind-the-scenes negotiations over his Senate seat and talk of moving forward. The Boston Globe paints a picture of Thursday's procession: "Union carpenters holding hard hats,...

By Ben Pershing | August 28, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Having been awakened by the news of Edward Kennedy's death Tuesday night, the political world spent Wednesday looking back at his life and today looks forward -- to three days of memorial services and processions, a debate...

By Ben Pershing | August 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

August 26, 2009

8 a.m. ET: With Afghanistan deteriorating, the deficit growing, the CIA under fire and a host of other storylines enlivening what would normally be a quiet August, only a few figures are genuinely important enough that their deaths would bring...

By Ben Pershing | August 26, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 25, 2009

8 a.m. ET: As President Obama's "vacation" began Sunday, his spokesman reassured the traveling press corps, "Nobody's looking to make any news." Within the next 36 hours, aides leaked Obama's plan to reappoint Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman, Eric Holder...

By Ben Pershing | August 25, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

August 24, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama may be on vacation this week but he'll get no respite from the past. From new details of controversial interrogation tactics to the "deteriorating" situation in Afghanistan, this weekend brought fresh reminders that Obama still...

By Ben Pershing | August 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

August 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: As an unusually eventful August inches toward its end, a health-care debate that has changed markedly this month now appears roughly frozen in place until Congress returns from recess. Key players in the health-care debate spent Thursday...

By Ben Pershing | August 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

August 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If yesterday's health-care narrative was all about message, today's is focused on legislative tactics, not about selling a reform bill but the mechanics of getting one passed. The Wall Street Journal writes, "The White House and Senate...

By Ben Pershing | August 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: How bad is President Obama's health-care message problem, and can it be fixed this late in the game? The new NBC News poll paints a sobering picture for the administration. While the topline data is similar to...

By Ben Pershing | August 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 18, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The White House continued to insist Monday that "nothing has changed" in its position on health-care reform. But two things clearly have: 1) It was likely before, but now appears almost certain, that the public insurance option...

By Ben Pershing | August 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: So far in August, coverage of the health-care fight has focused mostly on process and politics over policy, and tactics over strategy. But the headline news from this weekend wasn't about a town hall meeting. It wasn't...

By Ben Pershing | August 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 14, 2009

Ben Pershing is out this week. Morning Fix is cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. Morning Fix: Polling the Town Halls The protests that have dominated town halls -- and news coverage -- for the first two weeks of...

By washingtonpost.com editors | August 14, 2009; 07:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

August 13, 2009

Ben Pershing is out this week. Morning Fix is cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. Morning Fix: Arlen Specter and What Lebanon Meant The back and forth between Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter and several attendees of a town hall...

By washingtonpost.com editors | August 13, 2009; 08:09 AM ET | Comments (2)

August 12, 2009

Ben Pershing is out this week. The Morning Fix is cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. Morning Fix: Nelson Strikes Back Criticized by two liberal groups about his approach to President Obama's health care reform proposal, Nebraska Sen. Ben...

By washingtonpost.com editors | August 12, 2009; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (1)

August 11, 2009

Ben Pershing is out this week. Morning Fix is cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. Morning Fix: Republicans Go After Democratic Base in N.J. National Republicans are going up with television and radio ads targeting two pillars of the...

By washingtonpost.com editors | August 11, 2009; 08:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

August 10, 2009

Ben Pershing is out this week. Morning Fix is cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. Morning Fix: Dodd Rises Again (Or Not) Friday's ruling by the Senate ethics committee that Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) had broken no rules...

By washingtonpost.com editors | August 10, 2009; 07:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

August 7, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Barack Obama has now been president for 200 days, which means -- according to CNN, the Republican National Committee and others -- that it's time for an assessment of how he's done so far. (Did you know...

By Ben Pershing | August 7, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

August 6, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Will President Obama get an important symbolic victory before the Senate leaves town? The Washington Post reports, "Senate negotiators are inching toward bipartisan agreement on a health-care plan that seeks middle ground on some of the thorniest...

By Ben Pershing | August 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 5, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Just as the White House is increasing its focus on Web-based grass-roots activism in hopes of boosting support for health-care reform, the on-the-ground tactics of reform opponents have become a subject of heated debate. As the congressional...

By Ben Pershing | August 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

August 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Remember when Bill Clinton was seen as a potential liability for the Obama administration? In the weeks after President Obama was elected, the New York Times called the former president and his complex web of financial dealings...

By Ben Pershing | August 4, 2009; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Senate doesn't leave town until Friday, but the battle lines for recess are already drawn: Republicans will attack Democrats' health-care plans, and Democrats will attack the insurance companies. Nancy Pelosi got the ball rolling on the...

By Ben Pershing | August 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 31, 2009

8 a.m. ET: When it comes to health-care reform, the world's greatest deliberative body is living up to its name. With Republican negotiators urging that the pace of talks in the Senate slow down, Max Baucus announced Thursday night that...

By Ben Pershing | July 31, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

July 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In the remaining days before Congress leaves town, what would constitute victory for President Obama on health care? Obama's original goal -- passage in both chambers by Aug. 7 -- slipped by the wayside long ago. But...

By Ben Pershing | July 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For President Obama and his most liberal supporters, this week's health-care debate has delivered a sobering lesson on the limits of majority power in Washington. Even with a popular president in place, 60 votes in the Senate...

By Ben Pershing | July 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

July 28, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The largely newsless confirmation saga of Sonia Sotomayor will make news today, as the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on sending the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee to the full chamber for consideration. Among committee...

By Ben Pershing | July 28, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Most times, regardless of which party is in control of Congress, the dynamic between the two chambers on major bills is the same -- in the House, the majority just rams a bill through, and then the...

By Ben Pershing | July 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 24, 2009

8 a.m. ET: A big setback for President Obama. That's how Thursday's lead story -- the Senate won't pass health-care reform before the August recess -- is being portrayed. "Blown Deadline, Blown Chance?" asks a Politico headline. Harry Reid's move...

By Ben Pershing | July 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 23, 2009

8 a.m. ET: At President Obama's fourth primetime press conference Wednesday night, Tom Shales writes, "clarity reigned." It certainly was clear what Obama wanted to do: Amid all the talk of "bending the curve" and reimbursement rates and efficiencies, Obama...

By Ben Pershing | July 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

July 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Speaking in the Rose Garden Tuesday, President Obama demanded "action over inaction" on health-care reform. But does that action have to happen by Aug. 7? As Obama himself has said, without deadlines, "nothing gets done in this...

By Ben Pershing | July 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

July 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The 2010 campaign began in earnest Monday, and with it the fight for the fate of President Obama's first term. Republicans had nibbled at the edges of Obama's popularity before, testing for weakness by voting against the...

By Ben Pershing | July 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

July 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's poll numbers have been dropping almost since the day he took office. So as he works to sell his signature initiative, Obama plans a brief return to the place where he has achieved the most...

By Ben Pershing | July 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination are over, and there is precious little we know now that we didn't know four days ago. We know Republicans won't filibuster her, but we already knew that,...

By Ben Pershing | July 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

July 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: During the 2008 presidential campaign, so-called "social issues" were mostly overshadowed by economic ones. That trend has continued this year, as debates over abortion and gay rights have taken a back seat to the financial crisis, health...

By Ben Pershing | July 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Quick quiz, what was the most important thing that happened in Washington yesterday? Was it a) Sonia Sotomayor endured her second day of confirmation hearings, with both senators' questions and her answers proceeding mostly free of surprise...

By Ben Pershing | July 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

July 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Nineteen members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke on the first day of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, but as the sessions progress, one will matter more than the others -- the first panel Republican to cross the...

By Ben Pershing | July 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 13, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The final weekend before the start of today's Senate Judiciary Committee session brought one last spate of biographical pieces on Sonia Sotomayor, highlighting her unusual route from the South Bronx to Princeton and Yale, the federal bench...

By Ben Pershing | July 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is health-care reform inevitable? That question has come to the fore in recent days, as President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill attempt to navigate a maze full of opposition and entrenched interests to arrive at...

By Ben Pershing | July 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

July 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Since the day President Obama was sworn into office riding a wave of political momentum and goodwill, the press has kept an eye out for evidence that -- pick your metaphor -- the honeymoon is over, the...

By Ben Pershing | July 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

July 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In the midst of a major international trip, with the economy still teetering and his biggest domestic priorities hanging in the balance back home, you'd think President Obama has enough on his plate. But on Tuesday, he...

By Ben Pershing | July 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

July 7, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If you can tear yourself away from "The Michael Jackson Memorial Orgy of Excess" on every network today, you might just catch a few tidbits of news from President Obama's ongoing visit to Russia, where he is...

By Ben Pershing | July 7, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 6, 2009

By John Amick President Obama arrives in Russia today to, among other things, work out a new arms control deal with Moscow. While negotiations over the terms of a renewed deal have been somewhat contentious since Obama and Russian President...

By washingtonpost.com editors | July 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 2, 2009

A scheduling note: In honor of the Independence Day holiday, the Browser will not be browsing on Friday, July 3rd. We'll be back in action on Monday. 8 a.m. ET: For all the recent focus on the troop pullback in...

By Ben Pershing | July 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 1, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The 2008 election began 545 days ago with the Iowa caucus, and it ended yesterday in Norm Coleman's backyard in St. Paul, where he finally conceded victory to Al Franken in their Senate contest. The Republic had...

By Ben Pershing | July 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

June 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama came to office promising bold change on a variety of fronts, but he has often conducted his foreign policy in shades of gray. Whether in Iran or China or North Korea, when is the Obama...

By Ben Pershing | June 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

June 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's selection of Hillary Clinton to serve as his Secretary of State prompted two primary questions: How would they get along, and how big a role would she really play in formulating the administration's foreign policy?...

By Ben Pershing | June 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

June 26, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The first and best strategy for any politician seeking to survive a scandal is to change the subject as quickly as possible, and restore some semblance of normalcy. For Mark Sanford, the tragic death yesterday of Michael...

By Ben Pershing | June 26, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

June 25, 2009

8 a.m. ET: We are all witnesses now. What began as a relatively routine Wednesday in the world of politics turned into a stunner, with three distinct stages of scandal. It started as a below-the-fold punchline ("hiking the Appalachian trail!"),...

By Ben Pershing | June 25, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

June 24, 2009

8:15 a.m. ET: Mystery solved, apparently. The State reports: "Gov. Mark Sanford arrived in the Hartsville-Jackson International Airport Wednesday morning, having wrapped up a seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said. Sanford said he had not been hiking along...

By Ben Pershing | June 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

June 23, 2009

3:20 p.m. ET: Is Rahm Emanuel a micromanager? For your consideration, three stories: Story No. 1, by Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post, chronicles Emanuel's constant outreach to the press, noting that he returns phone calls and serves up quotes...

By Ben Pershing | June 23, 2009; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (4)

June 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama has already made clear that his strategy in dealing with post-election unrest in Iran will continue to be marked by caution. But has the administration's effort to sell that strategy itself been too cautious? "The...

By Ben Pershing | June 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

June 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's collision with reality continues apace today, as his signature initiatives hit snags -- or what Nancy Pelosi calls "the legislative process" -- on a variety of fronts. The Washington Post writes Obama's health care initiatives...

By Ben Pershing | June 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

June 18, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's No. 1 priority for his first term, health care reform, has gotten off to a halting start in the Senate. His next major goal, climate change legislation, is even further from completion. And there's little...

By Ben Pershing | June 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

June 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama this afternoon will lay out a proposal for an ambitious, sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system that, if you subscribe to the message coming out of the White House in the last 24 hours,...

By Ben Pershing | June 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

June 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: There are only 47 days left until Congress' August recess is scheduled to begin -- less than 30 on the legislative calendar -- and the key players in the health care debate appear to be far from...

By Ben Pershing | June 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

June 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Politicians have lost elections for raising taxes. They've lost for slashing spending. And they've lost because the economy is in recession. But how many times have they lost because the budget wasn't balanced? We may find out...

By Ben Pershing | June 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

June 12, 2009

8 a.m. ET: "Health care reform is not something I just cooked up when I took office," President Obama told attendees at a town hall meeting in Green Bay yesterday. Instead -- as is also the case with the auto...

By Ben Pershing | June 12, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

June 11, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The traditional narrative for any big Washington policy fight is typically Democrats vs. Republicans, or occasionally, "change" vs. "more of the same." But the increasingly heated debate over health care reform isn't quite breaking down along those...

By Ben Pershing | June 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

June 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Well that wasn't close at all, was it? After a grueling but mostly civil campaign, Creigh Deeds pummelled Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran for Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial nomination yesterday, triggering a fascinating general election race and a...

By Ben Pershing | June 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

June 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two key tenets of President Obama's economic recovery plan have hit obstacles in recent days, as the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the sale of Chrysler to Fiat and high unemployment numbers cast doubt on the effectiveness so...

By Ben Pershing | June 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

June 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Having already laid out a historically large first-year agenda that calls for remaking both the nation's health care and energy infrastructures in a matter of months, President Obama just returned from a foreign trip on which he...

By Ben Pershing | June 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

June 5, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Yesterday around this time, President Obama was delivering an historic speech to the Muslim world, an address that included tough words for Israel and recognition that "the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable." Roughly an hour...

By Ben Pershing | June 5, 2009; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

June 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Before much of Washington was even awake this morning, President Obama had already stirred controversy on the other side of the world, delivering a much-anticipated address in Cairo that touched on everything from Israel and Iran to...

By Ben Pershing | June 4, 2009; 08:02 AM ET | Comments (26)

June 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia minutes ago, and as he begins a trip designed to improve his country's relationship with the Muslim world, America's relationship with a key ally -- Israel -- is just as much...

By Ben Pershing | June 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

June 2, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Scan the coverage today of GM's bankruptcy and you'll see a wide range of reaction, from predictions of certain doom to sheer uncertainty about the company's eventual fate. The word "gambling" comes up a lot in reference...

By Ben Pershing | June 2, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (4)

June 1, 2009

8 a.m. ET: How much did President Obama take Sonia Sotomayor's background into account before deciding to nominate her to the Supreme Court? In an interview with the Washington Post's Lois Romano for the "Voices of Power" series, Valerie Jarrett...

By Ben Pershing | June 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Supreme Court campaigns are unlike most others in politics, in that nominees usually make a point of not saying what they really believe, and are applauded for it. So one day after pro-abortion rights groups made it...

By Ben Pershing | May 29, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (5)

May 28, 2009

CORRECTION APPENDED 8 a.m. ET: The main storyline of Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination -- whether she'll be confirmed -- seems hardly in doubt, but her candidacy has already become the vehicle for other interesting subplots. On gun rights, abortion...

By Ben Pershing | May 28, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court a foregone conclusion? Consider: • She is a known quantity. Sotomayor has been seen as a potential court pick for months, giving friends and foes alike ample time to...

By Ben Pershing | May 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

May 26, 2009

12:40 p.m. ET: President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is only a couple of hours old, and reaction is already pouring onto the blogosphere along mostly predictable lines. Liberals are largely pleased, conservatives displeased and neither...

By Ben Pershing | May 26, 2009; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

May 22, 2009

7:00 a.m. ET: Cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. White House Cheat Sheet: Republicans Try to Tar Pelosi When Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House in early 2007, Republican strategists could barely contain their glee, believing that...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 22, 2009; 07:11 AM ET | Comments (3)

May 21, 2009

11:50 a.m. ET: Cross-posted from Capitol Briefing, by David Fahrenthold House Energy Vows to Expedite Consideration of 'Cap and Trade' On the morning after another debate that stretched almost to midnight, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has pledged to...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 21, 2009; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

May 20, 2009

12:35 p.m. ET: Cross-posted from 44, by Robert Barnes A Gathering of Justices There are present, past, soon-to-be-past and perhaps future Supreme Court justices at the Georgetown University Law Center today as the law school hosts the Sandra Day O'Connor...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 20, 2009; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

May 19, 2009

11:30 p.m.: Cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza: New Poll Reveals Reid's Vulnerability Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in a precarious position as he seeks a fifth term in 2010 -- viewed unfavorably by half of the Nevada...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 19, 2009; 07:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

May 18, 2009

12:20 p.m.: Cross-posted from The Sleuth, by Mary Ann Akers: Take Dick Cheney Out to the Ballgame! Now we know where he was. Dick Cheney skipped the Sunday talk show circuit to observe one of the cruelest and harshest forms...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 18, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

May 15, 2009

7 a.m.: Cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza: White House Cheat Sheet: Happy Friday! RNC Rakes It In: The Republican National Committee raised almost $5.8 million in April and ended the month with $24.4 million on hand, a rare...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 15, 2009; 06:52 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 14, 2009

12:20 p.m.: Cross-posted from Capitol Briefing Pelosi Accuses CIA of 'Misleading' Her on Interrogations By Paul Kane House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today accused the CIA of "misleading" her on the use of harsh interrogation techniques in the fall of 2002,...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 14, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

May 13, 2009

11:05 a.m.: Cross-posted from 44 House Pledges July 31 Deadline to Pass Health Care Reform By Scott Wilson House leaders pledged today to pass comprehensive health care legislation by July 31, a deadline President Obama said showed the "urgency" needed...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 13, 2009; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

May 12, 2009

Cross-posted from The Fix, by Chris Cillizza. Can Mitch Daniels Save the GOP? Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered a condemnation of the "Baby Boomer" and a call for generational change during a recent commencement address at Butler University, a...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 12, 2009; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

May 11, 2009

12:30 p.m.: Cross-posted from the Post's new blog on the process of health care reform, The Daily Dose, by Ceci Connolly: It's All About the Middle Class Health care reform: It’s all about the middle class, stupid. More accurately, it’s...

By washingtonpost.com editors | May 11, 2009; 12:33 PM ET | Comments (3)

May 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Six months after Republicans lost control of the White House and slipped further out of power on the Hill, most coverage of the party portrays it as lost in the wilderness, riven by internal conflict and searching...

By Ben Pershing | May 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

May 7, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Raise your hand if you understand the meaning of the bank stress tests, the results of which have been leaking out over the last few days and will be officially announced by the Obama administration this afternoon....

By Ben Pershing | May 7, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 6, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Attention, Supreme Court junkies: President Obama is not expected to name a nominee to succeed David Souter until at least next week, so there's no need to cancel those weekend plans. That's unless your name is Sotomayor,...

By Ben Pershing | May 6, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 5, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two weeks ago, David Obey warned that the war in Afghanistan might "devour" President Obama's policy agenda, turning into "a problem that nobody knows how to get out of.” Yesterday, the House Appropriations chairman unveiled a $94...

By Ben Pershing | May 5, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's ability to multitask will again be on display this week, as he continues to juggle multiple priorities in the wake of last week's three S's -- swine flu, Specter and Souter. While the White House...

By Ben Pershing | May 4, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

May 1, 2009

8 a.m. ET: On the 100th day of his term, President Obama averred that he had no interest in running banks or auto companies because he's "got more than enough to do." That became even more true on his 101st...

By Ben Pershing | May 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

April 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: What was the headline from President Obama's 100th-day press conference? Depends on whom you ask. The news, such as it was, came from his assertion that waterboarding is "torture," his fears about Pakistan, his optimism on Chrysler,...

By Ben Pershing | April 30, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (3)

April 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: On the 98th day of President Obama's term, it looked as though the swine flu crisis might just overshadow today's milestone. On the 99th day, Arlen Specter delivered himself, wrapped in a bow, to the White House...

By Ben Pershing | April 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

April 28, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Often, anything a president touches immediately turns to politics. So far, that has not been the case with the burgeoning swine flu crisis. It's still a story about a public health emergency, and mostly not a story...

By Ben Pershing | April 28, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

April 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Even for presidents, the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. So as Wednesday's 100-day milestone approaches, watch closely to see whether the White House's carefully choreographed effort to tout the administration's accomplishments and lay the groundwork for...

By Ben Pershing | April 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

April 24, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's too early to know how history will judge the Bush administration's use of harsh interrogation techniques, and the Obama administration's decision to make the details public. But it is clear, one week after the White House...

By Ben Pershing | April 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

April 23, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For the first time in recent memory, Hillary Clinton was a prominent figure in the headlines yesterday. She appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warning that the Pakistani government now faces an "existential threat" from Islamic...

By Ben Pershing | April 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

April 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In an interview last week before his trip to Latin America, President Obama said of his predecessor's interrogation policies: "I'm a strong believer that it's important to look forward and not backwards." Robert Gibbs reiterated that cliche...

By Ben Pershing | April 22, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (4)

April 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: This afternoon, President Obama will meet with one former president and the brother of another. The timing seems appropriate, as Obama's session with Bill Clinton and Edward Kennedy to discuss national service comes as the press prepares...

By Ben Pershing | April 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

April 20, 2009

4 p.m. ET: Does President Obama use news and images of his family for political advantage? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, according to two lengthy stories on the topic released in the last 24 hours. The Los Angeles Times writes...

By Ben Pershing | April 20, 2009; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

April 17, 2009

4:50 p.m. ET: Fridays in Washington can be sleepy, particularly when the president is abroad and Congress is in recess. But today has turned out to be newsier than most on the domestic policy front. The EPA today "issued a...

By Ben Pershing | April 17, 2009; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (2)

April 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: On occasion, politicians jetting overseas are accused of going on cushy "junkets." But given the thorny agenda for President Obama's imminent trip to Mexico and the Caribbean, he may just return home by the end of the...

By Ben Pershing | April 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

April 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's Tax Day, and aside from the traditional "wait in line at the post office" ritual, everyone is celebrating a bit differently. Conservatives across the land are organizing "tea parties," which, depending on whom you ask, are...

By Ben Pershing | April 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

April 14, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: The headline on the Post's story about President Obama's address on the economy today is, "In Georgetown Speech, Obama Offers Cautious Optimism." The most important word there is "cautious," because on the same day that the president...

By Ben Pershing | April 14, 2009; 04:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

April 13, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In the last 48 hours, the crucial story of President Obama's new puppy finally broke wide. The first family's choice of which church to attend, for Easter services and beyond, received breathless attention. Today, the Obamas and...

By Ben Pershing | April 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

April 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama said Thursday that he saw "good news" in the housing market. And why shouldn't he? Housing starts went up in February, with new stats due next week. Wells Fargo is making money hand over fist,...

By Ben Pershing | April 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

April 9, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: Sometimes it's not easy being a congressional liberal in the age of Obama. After all, at least when George W. Bush was president, you could scream at the top of your lungs about something he was doing...

By Ben Pershing | April 9, 2009; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

April 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If he's smart, President Obama is sleeping in this morning, having touched down at 2:30 a.m. ET following a long international trip, a whirlwind visit to Iraq and a 12-hour flight home. Obama's stop in Iraq made...

By Ben Pershing | April 8, 2009; 07:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

April 7, 2009

10:30 a.m. ET: Now you can add Iraq to President Obama's unusual spring break itinerary. The White House did an impressive job keeping this visit secret, while also ensuring that the president dominates one more cycle of headlines on a...

By Ben Pershing | April 7, 2009; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (3)

April 6, 2009

4:50 p.m. ET: President Obama is getting a lot of attention for the boldness of his speech to the Turkish parliament today, with much of the coverage focused on the lengths to which Obama went to reassure the Muslim world...

By Ben Pershing | April 6, 2009; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (2)

April 3, 2009

5 p.m. ET: President Obama's passive-aggressive tour of Europe continued apace today, as he alternated between blaming the U.S. and other countries for the financial crisis and proclaimed that both America and its allies need to do more in Afghanistan....

By Ben Pershing | April 3, 2009; 05:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

April 2, 2009

5 p.m. ET: The news that Rod Blagojevich is expected to be indicted any moment now is putting The Rundown in a nostalgic mood. Remember those halcyon days when the Blagojevich scandal first burst into the open? Morbid as it...

By Ben Pershing | April 2, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

April 1, 2009

3:50 p.m. ET: As the counting goes on in the razor-tight special election in New York's 20th district, debate continues on whether the contest really was or wasn't a referendum on President Obama and his policies. It's tough to draw...

By Ben Pershing | April 1, 2009; 03:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

March 31, 2009

11:25 a.m. ET: What is it about the Obama Cabinet and basketball? Last week, at the installation ceremony for Eric Holder, President Obama teased the attorney general about his basketball prowess and his "New York game." After which Holder said,...

By Ben Pershing | March 31, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

March 30, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: President Obama used plenty of metaphors in laying out his latest plan for America's auto companies today, calling the industry "an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success." Well here's another...

By Ben Pershing | March 30, 2009; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

March 27, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: President Obama unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan today, and if the plan does have any high-profile opponents, they're few and far between. Obama announced the commitment of at least 4,000 more military personnel to the country...

By Ben Pershing | March 27, 2009; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

March 26, 2009

4:15 p.m. ET: Back in early February, Tim Geithner went before the cameras to detail the Obama administration's plans to save the struggling financial system. The problem was that Geithner didn't actually provide many details, only generalities, and so the...

By Ben Pershing | March 26, 2009; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

March 25, 2009

8 a.m. ET: With so much going on at home and abroad, with the public anxious and the economy still struggling, it's difficult for the president to field an hour's worth of questions from an eager press corps in the...

By Ben Pershing | March 25, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

March 24, 2009

4 p.m. ET: One of the lingering mysteries of President Obama's young administration has been whether he really does or does not support the Employee Free Choice Act, or "card check" bill. Obama has made general comments in support of...

By Ben Pershing | March 24, 2009; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

March 23, 2009

5 p.m. ET: The markets may well tank again tomorrow, but for today at least, Tim Geithner and the rest of the drama-filled Obama economic team can sit back and enjoy the fact that investors seem to like their plan...

By Ben Pershing | March 23, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

March 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is the White House doing its level best to distract people from the cratering economy and the AIG bonus controversy? Consider: President Obama went on "The Tonight Show" last night and did talk about the economy, but...

By Ben Pershing | March 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

March 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The AIG bonus controversy showed no signs of abating Wednesday, providing a useful reminder of how quickly Congress can move when it's scared, like an otherwise tame animal that lashes out when it's cornered. A body that...

By Ben Pershing | March 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

March 18, 2009

12:40 p.m. ET: President Obama's huddle with the CHC is now over, and according to the White House is was a "robust and strategic meeting," which is slightly different than the "frank and open" formulation usually applied to such discussions....

By Ben Pershing | March 18, 2009; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

March 17, 2009

5 p.m. ET: Like the supple machine that it is, Congress has now sprung into action on the issue of AIG bonuses -- after the bonuses have already been paid and long after lawmakers had the chance to do something...

By Ben Pershing | March 17, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (8)

March 16, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: Did you think a whole day might go by without some new Michael Steele story? Fear not, because the RNC chairman seems to have enough controversial comments in him to fill weeks worth of blogs and newspapers....

By Ben Pershing | March 16, 2009; 04:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

March 13, 2009

5 p.m. ET: Lawyers in the Coleman-Franken recount trial made closing arguments today, meaning that legal proceedings that had seemed endless are finally nearing an end. A three-judge panel will now decide which absentee ballots will be counted in the...

By Ben Pershing | March 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

March 12, 2009

5 p.m. ET: Now that David Vitter's airport run-in has become a full-fledged Big Story, and a potential headache for him back home, The Rundown plans to just sit back and enjoy it. But one thing did catch his eye...

By Ben Pershing | March 12, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (4)

March 11, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: In case you were still wondering what Republicans think of President Obama's earmark reform proposals, the truth can now be told: They don't like it. At a press conference a few minutes ago, John Boehner said of...

By Ben Pershing | March 11, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (15)

March 10, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: Is the GOP the party of "no'? By now you've heard that refrain plenty of times, and Democrats will ensure that you hear it many times more. Democrats were heartened by David Brooks' column in the New...

By Ben Pershing | March 10, 2009; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (6)

March 9, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: President Obama appears to have decided that today is "Opposite Day." Or at the very least, he decided that today is the day to reverse key policiies of his predecessor. First, Obama announced an important shift in...

By Ben Pershing | March 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

March 6, 2009

By John Amick 8 a.m. ET: President Obama's main focus today will shift back to the economy, from health care yesterday, as he and Attorney General Eric Holder travel to Columbus, Ohio, to attend a police graduation ceremony. The jobs...

By washingtonpost.com editors | March 6, 2009; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

March 5, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: How low can it go? That's the question that comes to mind when you spend any time at all staring at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (The Rundown doesn't recommend it). It's like the press is competing...

By Ben Pershing | March 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

March 4, 2009

8 a.m. ET: After spending the first six weeks of his term focused primarily on domestic affairs, President Obama is devoting the bulk of this week to navigating international waters, hosting a "special" ally in Washington as trouble spots continue...

By Ben Pershing | March 4, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

March 3, 2009

5 p.m. ET: With all the attention paid to the fact that President Obama may soon finally have a complete Cabinet, it's easy to forget that we don't yet have a complete Senate. And if Norm Coleman gets his way,...

By Ben Pershing | March 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

March 2, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: This morning, The Rundown wrote that Kathleen Sebelius would have little trouble being confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary "assuming, as we are now hesitant to do, that she's always paid her taxes." Well, as far...

By Ben Pershing | March 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

February 27, 2009

5 p.m. ET: Mickey Kaus, one of the fathers of the blogosphere, writes often of the "Feiler Faster Thesis," which basically posits that, as the news cycle moves more and more quickly, people are also able to process information that...

By Ben Pershing | February 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

February 26, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: So, what's the most important part of this budget proposal -- tax increases or spending cuts? The answer to that question is particularly important to the Obama administration, which is working to burnish its fiscal conservatism credentials...

By Ben Pershing | February 26, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 25, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In the hours leading up to President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress last night, most analysts agreed that he needed to serve the nation a heaping helping of hope after a bit too much...

By Ben Pershing | February 25, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

February 24, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: As the minutes tick away before President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress tonight, the expectations game is already well underway. David Sanger of the New York Times writes that Obama's challenge is to convince...

By Ben Pershing | February 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

February 23, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is President Obama suffering from an acute case of political schizophrenia? A week after signing the largest single spending bill in history, one that he acknowledges will swell the deficit, Obama will convene a "fiscal responsibility summit"...

By Ben Pershing | February 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

February 20, 2009

5 p.m. ET: Is it a good idea for the White House press secretary to use the briefing room podium to go after one particular critic personally? That's the question of the afternoon after Robert Gibbs' briefing today, during which...

By Ben Pershing | February 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

February 19, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: What are the headlines coming out of President Obama's visit to Canada today? That Obama and Prime Minister Steven Harper sang in harmony on a variety of issues? That Obama accidentally said "Iowa" instead of "Ottawa"? That...

By Ben Pershing | February 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 18, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: So what's next for Roland Burris? Will he come up with yet another accounting of his dealings with Rod Blagojevich before he was appointed to the Senate? Will he resign? If he does, will there be a...

By Ben Pershing | February 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 17, 2009

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...

By Ben Pershing | February 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

February 13, 2009

5:45 p.m. ET: Things are looking up for President Obama. The economic stimulus bill has passed the House and is set to do the same in the Senate. Sure, no Republicans backed the bill, but maybe this whole bipartisanship thing...

By Ben Pershing | February 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 12, 2009

5:15 p.m. ET: So what is it with the Commerce secretary job? It's like the Bermuda Triangle of Cabinet posts. First Bill Richardson had to drop out because he was under investigation, and now Judd Gregg is dropping out because...

By Ben Pershing | February 12, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

February 11, 2009

4 p.m. ET: Well, that was fast. Barely a day after Democratic leaders were warning that Congress might have to work right through next week on the economic stimulus package, they announced this afternoon that they have a deal on...

By Ben Pershing | February 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The economic stimulus bill moved forward in the Senate yesterday evening, and not long after, President Obama spent an hour of prime time making an impassioned, occasionally feisty case for the measure and against its GOP critics....

By Ben Pershing | February 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Ten years ago this month, Time magazine ran an iconic cover photo of Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers -- the trio then working to forestall "a global economic meltdown" -- with the headline, "The Committee...

By Ben Pershing | February 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 6, 2009

3:45 p.m. ET: President Obama's campaign was all about hope, but at this hour it's tough to tell just how much hope there is that a stimulus package will be ready for the Senate to vote on tonight. Around midday,...

By Ben Pershing | February 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

February 5, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: The stimulus debate keeps chugging along in the Senate, with a vote possible tonight. And Hilda Solis' nomination for Labor secretary hit another bump with the revelation that her husband ... wait for it ... had some...

By Ben Pershing | February 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

February 4, 2009

4:40 p.m. ET: Is it possible that the withdrawal of Tom Daschle's nomination will really just be a one-day story? This morning's headlines were dominated by Daschle, the accompanying withdrawal by Nancy Killefer and all manner of stories about how...

By Ben Pershing | February 4, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

February 3, 2009

3:15 p.m. ET: Tom Daschle's decision to withdraw as President Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services secretary has generated a ton of media attention and the first full-fledged PR crisis of this administration. But what it hasn't generated is...

By Ben Pershing | February 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

February 2, 2009

3:45 p.m. ET: As the hours go by it's looking less likely that President Obama will announce Judd Gregg as his Commerce Secretary today. But his eventual nomination is looking more assured now that Gregg has made public that he...

By Ben Pershing | February 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

January 30, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: Ladies and gentlemen, meet your brand new Republican National Committee Chairman -- Michael Steele. The charismatic Marylander won the top GOP post this afternoon on the sixth ballot, besting four other candidates in a contest The Rundown's...

By Ben Pershing | January 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

January 29, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: The Senate tug-of-war over the stimulus package has begun in earnest, as friends and foes of the massive measure line up to make their case in the wake of the House's party-line passage of the bill. Senate...

By Ben Pershing | January 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

January 28, 2009

5 p.m. ET: We're just a few hours away now from a House vote on the economic stimulus bill, and that's probably a good thing for the measure's backers. Because the longer the bill sits out there, the more time...

By Ben Pershing | January 28, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (5)

January 28, 2009

3 p.m. ET: We interrupt our regularly scheduled political programming to bring you something far more important -- The Rundown's Official Super Bowl Prediction™ (TROSBP for short). You can see his pick compared to those of his fellow washingtonpost.com bloggers...

By Ben Pershing | January 28, 2009; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

January 28, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Let the betting begin -- how many votes will the stimulus package get on the House floor today? And how many minds did President Obama actually change yesterday? As The Fix points out, Obama is riding a...

By Ben Pershing | January 28, 2009; 07:40 AM ET | Comments (4)

January 27, 2009

3:45 p.m. ET: When today began, President Obama seemingly had his work cut out for him if he hoped to attract any additional Republican votes for the economic stimulus plan. But though he spent a good deal of time meeting...

By Ben Pershing | January 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

January 26, 2009

4:30 p.m ET: The impeachment trial of Rod Blagojevich began this afternoon in the Illinois state Senate, and the governor himself isn't there. Why would he be there when he can be on television? After Blagojevich revealed on "Good Morning...

By Ben Pershing | January 26, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

January 23, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: Now that the choice of Kirsten Gillibrand to succeed Hillary Clinton is official, we can put aside that whole Caroline Kennedy drama (right?) and focus on the soon-to-be newest senator. One thing we've learned already about Gillibrand...

By Ben Pershing | January 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

January 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: When you're on the tracks and a train is bearing down, there are three obvious choices: Get on board, get out of the way or get run over. But Republicans are trying to figure out if there...

By Ben Pershing | January 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

January 21, 2009

4:45 p.m. ET: So which of his predecessors did President Obama most resemble during his inaugural speech yesterday? By this point we've heard more than enough of the comparisons between Obama and Abraham Lincoln -- tall skinny lawyers from Illinois,...

By Ben Pershing | January 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

January 20, 2009

4:40 p.m. ET: The reviews of Barack Obama's speech are rolling in from the blogosphere -- we bloggers work quickly -- and the rough consensus from both the left and right seems to be that it was a good and...

By Ben Pershing | January 20, 2009; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

January 19, 2009

3:15 p.m. ET: Amid the hype and breathlessness surrounding the pending Inauguration (coronation?) of Barack Obama, it's worth remembering that not everyone is on board with our soon-to-be president. Forty-six percent of voters on Nov. 4 preferred John McCain, and...

By Ben Pershing | January 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (18)

January 16, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: So how many people are actually descending on our fair city for Inauguration Day? The latest estimate from event organizers is between 1 and 2 million people, an enormous number but certainly a lot less than some...

By Ben Pershing | January 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

January 15, 2009

4 p.m. ET: For a chamber that's meant to be a relative island of stability -- the "cooling saucer" -- the Senate sure has seen a lot of upheaval lately. As of this moment, there are 11 faces in the...

By Ben Pershing | January 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

January 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Last week, we wondered whether Barack Obama might have been a bit careless in making his Cabinet selections. And that was before yesterday, when Tim Geithner and Hillary Clinton both faced tough questions about past or potential...

By Ben Pershing | January 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

January 13, 2009

3:15 p.m. ET: It's fair to say the Obama transition team has had better days. The incoming administration is navigating troubled waters both foreign and domestic today, as Hillary Clinton parries questions about Bill (of course) in the Senate and...

By Ben Pershing | January 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

January 12, 2009

4:30 p.m. ET: With eight days left until Barack Obama's Inauguration, there's still time left for President Bush to issue a few more pardons, whether for past convicts like Scooter Libby or other officials who could face future prosecution for...

By Ben Pershing | January 12, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

January 9, 2009

3:45 p.m. ET: Rod Blagojevich may be a lot of things, many of them bad, but at least he's not a pushover. That's the most obvious conclusion from his vow moments ago -- complete with a quote from a poem...

By Ben Pershing | January 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

January 8, 2009

3:30 p.m. ET: We've all got the economy on the brain today, so let's put this in financial terms: If Caroline Kennedy's Senate candidacy were a stock, now might be a good time to sell. Just a week ago, the...

By Ben Pershing | January 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

January 7, 2009

4:15 p.m. ET: By this point you may well be exhausted by all the coverage of Obama this and Obama that, and you might be hungry for an update on old whatsisname, the guy he beat, John McCain. Well, McCain...

By Ben Pershing | January 7, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

January 6, 2009

3 p.m. ET: Well, if the Obama team was looking to put the bumpiness of the Panetta and Richardson stories behind them, this is a good way: Sanjay Gupta is tentatively set to become the next U.S. Surgeon General. He...

By Ben Pershing | January 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

January 5, 2009

4 p.m. ET: So Barack Obama has picked yet another Clintonite, Leon Panetta, to serve as CIA Director. But for all the focus on how many people Obama has plucked from the administration of the last Democratic president, today's choice...

By Ben Pershing | January 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

January 2, 2009

4:10 p.m. ET: So it turns out that this sleepy, post-holiday Friday did in fact bring news of a definite occupant for a vacant Senate seat. But it didn't come from New York, Illinois or Minnesota. It came from Colorado,...

By Ben Pershing | January 2, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 31, 2008

By John Amick 8 a.m. ET: Barack Obama has enough on his plate as it is, but yesterday he may have entered a bizarre realm political scientists will reference for years to come. President-elect Obama, welcome to your personal Illinois...

By washingtonpost.com editors | December 31, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 30, 2008

8 a.m. ET: How much clout do Republicans have left in this town? The first and best test of that question should come quickly next month, as congressional Democrats start moving an historically huge, Barack Obama-backed stimulus package under the...

By Ben Pershing | December 30, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

December 29, 2008

2:15 p.m. ET: There may be 12 Days of Christmas, but the real key number this time of year is 10. As in, "Top 10 This in 2008" and "Top 10 That." As a public service, The Rundown has compiled...

By Ben Pershing | December 29, 2008; 07:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 24, 2008

3:30 p.m. ET: With Christmas fast approaching, the lid is on until Monday morning. The only things The Rundown will be running down between now and then are (hopefully) some lovely gifts. And the only thing he'll be browsing is...

By Ben Pershing | December 24, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

December 23, 2008

4:35 p.m. ET: The report is out, and it says pretty much what we thought it would say. No one from the Obama camp did anything wrong, the end. Wasn't that worth the wait? 3:30 p.m. ET: The investigative report...

By Ben Pershing | December 23, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 22, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Barack Obama and his team haven't reached the White House yet, but they already seem to have mastered the art of the slow-motion leak. We learned yesterday, via George Stephanopoulos, that Rahm Emanuel has been cleared in...

By Ben Pershing | December 22, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

December 19, 2008

1 p.m. ET: In an exchange of wisdom matched in history only by the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Chris “The Fix” Cillizza has responded to The Rundown’s earlier post on the auto bailout’s winners and losers. Specifically, The Fix quibbles with the...

By Ben Pershing | December 19, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

December 18, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Amid the focus on a trio of interesting political subplots -- Rod Blagojevich's seriocomic downfall, Caroline Kennedy's Senate candidacy and Barack Obama's Cabinet search -- it's easy to forget that the economy was the single biggest storyline...

By Ben Pershing | December 18, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 17, 2008

4 p.m. ET: Just in time for your holiday shopping comes this unsurprising news: Barack Obama has been chosen as Time's Person of the Year. (If John McCain had won the election, would the honor have gone to him or...

By Ben Pershing | December 17, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 16, 2008

4:45 p.m. ET: The three biggest political stories of the moment -- the auto bailout, Rod Blagojevich and The Kennedy Succession (which should be the title of the next Robert Ludlum novel) -- all seem to be in a state...

By Ben Pershing | December 16, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

December 15, 2008

3:45 p.m. ET: Let's see, the word "impeachment" is in the headlines, and there's a Kennedy running for the Senate. What decade is this, and has the Christmas season brought back the ghosts of Democrats past? In a twist, the...

By Ben Pershing | December 15, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 12, 2008

3:30 p.m. ET: In Washington, bad news is traditionally dumped on Friday afternoons, particularly during the holiday season when everyone has better things than politics to think about. So, given that already this week the auto bailout stalled, the Rod...

By Ben Pershing | December 12, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (28)

December 11, 2008

4 p.m. ET: When Barack Obama and his advisers sat down last week, or last month, or whenever it was that they made a basic outline of today's schedule, they probably envisioned the lead headlines would be something like, "Daschle...

By Ben Pershing | December 11, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

December 10, 2008

8 a.m. ET: The sun will rise over Chicago a few minutes from now, and as of this writing, no Illinois politicians have been arrested yet this morning. But it's still early. As Jimmy Malone once put it, "That's the...

By Ben Pershing | December 10, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 9, 2008

3:30 p.m. ET: We interrupt our ongoing coverage of the depressing auto bailout to bring you this special report on a stunningly good scandal story. We'd like to thank our sponsor, Rod Blagojevich, without whom our lives would be a...

By Ben Pershing | December 9, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 8, 2008

4 p.m. ET: If Dana Perino and Barney Frank agree on something, it must be true, right? If yes, then a deal on the auto bailout is at hand, with the White House spokeswoman calling a deal "very likely" and...

By Ben Pershing | December 8, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 5, 2008

2:30 p.m. ET: Continuing with this morning's theme, President Bush went before the cameras a few hours ago and stoutly demanded that Congress deal with the auto bailout before it leaves town, and that the auto industry must pay back...

By Ben Pershing | December 5, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

December 4, 2008

4:30 p.m. ET: Didn't we just have an election? The news this afternoon is filled with tidbits about various future races, though perhaps that's because campaign stories are less depressing than all the ones about bailouts and bankruptcies emanating from...

By Ben Pershing | December 4, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 3, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Today's front pages look less like a series of news dispatches and more like Craigslist, filled with news of people winning, losing and seeking new jobs, whether in the Senate, the Cabinet or Detroit. In Georgia, Saxby...

By Ben Pershing | December 3, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 2, 2008

4:15 p.m. ET: All is mostly quiet on the Obama front this afternoon -- aside from confirmation of what we already knew about Bill Richardson and Commerce -- most of the day's news is happening on or about Capitol Hill....

By Ben Pershing | December 2, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 1, 2008

2:30 p.m. ET: Okay, it's over. You can put away your copy of "Team of Rivals" -- really, please, put it away -- and stop hedging your bets. Barack Obama appeared this morning in Chicago and announced that Hillary Clinton...

By Ben Pershing | December 1, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

November 28, 2008

By John Amick 2:50 p.m. ET: CNN is now reporting at least 160 killed and 327 wounded in the attacks in Mumbai, India. Among the known dead are a father and daughter from Virginia. The Oberoi Hotel and the Nariman...

By washingtonpost.com editors | November 28, 2008; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 26, 2008

By John Amick 11:40 a.m., ET: President-elect Barack Obama held his third press conference in three days today in Chicago to announce the creation of the "President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board" to be led by former Federal Reserve Chair Paul...

By washingtonpost.com editors | November 26, 2008; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 25, 2008

By John Amick 3:00 p.m., ET: Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson announced the commitment of $800 billon to relieve consumer debt and allow easier borrowing in an effort to strengthen the economy. The pledge of hundreds of billions of dollars to...

By washingtonpost.com editors | November 25, 2008; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

November 24, 2008

By John Amick 2:14 p.m. ET: President-elect Obama formally introduced his economic team to the nation today from Chicago. The nominees: much-discussed appointees Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers as director of the White House National Economic Council,...

By washingtonpost.com editors | November 24, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 21, 2008

8 a.m. ET: We interrupt our regularly scheduled parsing of the latest Hillary Clinton updates to bring you more serious and tangible news: Michael Mukasey is said to be "conscious, conversant and alert" after the attorney general collapsed while giving...

By Ben Pershing | November 21, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 20, 2008

4 p.m. ET: Sometimes, complete sentences and complex ideas can be a drag, especially in the afternoon when the morning caffeine has long worn off. At such times, a celebrity magazine-style "In/Out" list seems like the best way to capture...

By Ben Pershing | November 20, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

November 19, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Like the moon blotting out the sun, the Clintons and their attendant dramas continue to eclipse other stories on this cold and newsy Wednesday morning. Even as Eric Holder appears likely to become the nation's first African...

By Ben Pershing | November 19, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 18, 2008

1 p.m. ET: Senate Democrats have spoken, deciding to keep Joe Lieberman atop the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee while stripping him of a relatively minor subcommittee chairmanship. And now the liberal blogosphere is speaking too, and it's not...

By Ben Pershing | November 18, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

November 17, 2008

4:45 p.m. ET: As we speak, lawyers for the Obama transition effort are busily vetting Hillary and Bill Clinton's finances and other professional entanglements to determine whether she can serve as Secretary of State without raising too many headaches and/or...

By Ben Pershing | November 17, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 14, 2008

2:45 p.m. ET: The Hillary-to-State train is now picking up some serious steam. She and Barack Obama met in Chicago Thursday, her advisors are whispering that it's "a very good possibility" and the buzz up in New York has already...

By Ben Pershing | November 14, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

November 13, 2008

8 a.m. ET: With less than 10 weeks to go until Inauguration Day, are expectations for Barack Obama's presidency impossibly high? Yes and no, according to an interesting Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday, which concluded -- almost paradoxically -- that voters...

By Ben Pershing | November 13, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 12, 2008

2:30 p.m. ET: As Republican governors and their chroniclers gather in Miami, let's journey back a bit to a more sordid episode in South Florida's political history. Yes, we're talking about the Mark Foley "page scandal". Why? Well, because former...

By Ben Pershing | November 12, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

November 11, 2008

2 p.m. ET: Barack Obama may have just made the smartest move yet in his (short) stint as president-elect -- throwing a lifeline to Joe Lieberman. Obama told Harry Reid last week that expelling Lieberman from the Democratic Caucus for...

By Ben Pershing | November 11, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

November 10, 2008

2:45 p.m. ET: If a campaign suddenly broke out tomorrow, would there be anyone left in town to run it? It's a legitimate question, given the news today that Howard Dean will be stepping down as Democratic National Committee chairman...

By Ben Pershing | November 10, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 7, 2008

4 p.m. ET: Wondering what the big takeway from Barack Obama's first press conference as President-elect was for many conservative blogs? That's right, it was his little shot at Nancy Reagan, which he may well have regretted the moment it...

By Ben Pershing | November 7, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

November 6, 2008

3:30 p.m. ET: This morning, we mentioned our craven desire to boost our ranking on Google. In furtherance of that effort, we bring you this Very Special All-Sarah Palin Edition of The Rundown. Why, you might be wondering, should we...

By Ben Pershing | November 6, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

November 5, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Having entered Election Day with so many questions, our brains are now absolutely filled with election results. The Rundown's head actually hurts this morning from processing all this information -- though the pain might also be attributable...

By Ben Pershing | November 5, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

November 4, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Time to kick back and relax, as the well-oiled machine that is American democracy essentially runs itself today. We all deserve a rest, after everything that has happened in the last 24 hours: The polls opened. Dixville...

By Ben Pershing | November 4, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 3, 2008

3:20 p.m. ET: The Day of Reckoning is nearly upon us, so it's time for one last afternoon poll roundup. So much has changed since the first one of these roundups we did ... let's think back nostalgically for a...

By Ben Pershing | November 3, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

November 1, 2008

2:55 p.m. ET: Barack Obama and John McCain are spending the final Saturday barnstorming for last-minute votes, as their itineraries and the latest polling data continue to show a playing field that favors the Democratic nominee. McCain was in Virginia...

By Ben Pershing | November 1, 2008; 03:20 PM ET | Comments (40)

October 31, 2008

2:15 p.m. ET: With apologies to Thomas Friedman, the world -- specifically, the bizarre, overheated world of the presidential campaign -- is flat. In the past month, there have been debates and ads, gaffes and controversies, tens of millions of...

By Ben Pershing | October 31, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

October 30, 2008

1:45 p.m. ET: So, did you watch the Obamamercial last night? (The Rundown admits to having been sucked in instead by a fine Law & Order rerun, but that's why there's YouTube.). According to preliminary Nielsen ratings, about 30.1 million...

By Ben Pershing | October 30, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 29, 2008

4 p.m. ET: There's really only one viable storyline left in this campaign -- barring a surprise, as we are contractually and karmically required to say -- and that's whether John McCain can mount a comeback. So as a public...

By Ben Pershing | October 29, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

October 28, 2008

4:40 p.m. ET: Sarah Palin -- the vice presidential candidate who keeps giving. Specifically, she keeps giving us grubby reporters and bloggers new things to write about in a race whose storylines have otherwise mostly turned stale. Palin today boldly...

By Ben Pershing | October 28, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (30)

October 27, 2008

12:30 p.m. ET: Did someone send out a memo saying that Monday of the week before the election was "Advice Day"? It certainly seems that way, as the series of tubes have been jam-packed today with all manner of suggestions...

By Ben Pershing | October 27, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 24, 2008

8 a.m. ET: Both vice presidential nominees move into the spotlight today, for good reasons and bad, offering the perfect opportunity to let our eyes wander down the ticket and see just what Joe Biden and Sarah Palin have been...

By Ben Pershing | October 24, 2008; 07:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

October 23, 2008

2:45 p.m.: It's college football season, so maybe we should have realized a long time ago that there's an obvious way to sort out the presidential campaign battleground states -- by conference. In fact, a strong argument can be made...

By Ben Pershing | October 23, 2008; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 22, 2008

1 p.m. ET: For your lunchtime reading pleasure, we offer this "all-Palin's-shopping-spree" edition of The Rundown. We provide this service not because this is the most important or informative story of the day -- for that, go read Robert Draper's...

By Ben Pershing | October 22, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 21, 2008

1 p.m. ET: Does John McCain's (narrow) road to victory run through Pennsylvania? The Washington Times -- from a wonderful SALTLICK, Pa. dateline -- reports today that the GOP nominee is "throwing almost everything he can" into the state, looking...

By Ben Pershing | October 21, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

October 20, 2008

2 p.m. ET: Is the race for the White House getting closer? The Rundown spent much of this morning looking at polls -- he doesn't recommend it -- trying to pick through the trends, the tracks, the weights, the blips...

By Ben Pershing | October 20, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 17, 2008

12:45 p.m. ET: Lots of attention on the Old Dominion, as Barack Obama rallies in Roanoke today, John McCain heads to Woodbridge tomorrow (will he stop at Potomac Mills?) and pundits ponder whether the rapidly transforming southern state is moving...

By Ben Pershing | October 17, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

October 16, 2008

12:30 p.m. ET: It's looking like we may have been better served watching last night's debate with the sound muted, because much of the chatter this morning has been about facial expressions and body language. From the left, check out...

By Ben Pershing | October 16, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

October 15, 2008

12:30 p.m. ET: The debate is now only hours away, which means our televisions and Internet caches are full of suggestions for "What McCain/Obama Needs to Do Tonight..." Well, The Rundown would like to hear what YOU think they "need...

By Ben Pershing | October 15, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

October 14, 2008

12 p.m. ET: We interrupt your regular presidential campaign blog to bring you news from a different and, frankly, more interesting race taking place down in sunny Palm Beach. That's where Tim Mahoney, the freshman Democratic congressman, is battling allegations...

By Ben Pershing | October 14, 2008; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (14)

October 13, 2008

12:30 p.m. ET: If Barack Obama beats John McCain three weeks from tomorrow, we may just look back at one particular date on the calendar as the day the race was decided -- June 19. That was the day McCain...

By Ben Pershing | October 13, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

October 10, 2008

1:30 p.m. ET: Does John McCain have a problem with women voters? Yes, he's got a woman on his ticket, but that hasn't stopped his polling numbers with the fairer sex from trending in the wrong direction. Two of the...

By Ben Pershing | October 10, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (47)

October 9, 2008

12:45 p.m. ET: Politics is all about combat, and four competitions are dominating today's news: 1) Free vs. Paid Media. So far, John McCain has gotten a remarkable amount of mileage out of the William Ayers story without spending a...

By Ben Pershing | October 9, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

October 8, 2008

3:30 p.m. ET: We won't know for a few days how last night's debate affects the polling in the presidential race. We do know that, at this moment, Barack Obama seems to be ahead. But by how much? With so...

By Ben Pershing | October 8, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

October 7, 2008

2:30 p.m. ET: The debate is less than seven hours away. What music does each candidate put on to get fired up before going on stage? Eminem? The Superman theme? If you know the answers, drop them in the comments...

By Ben Pershing | October 7, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

October 6, 2008

12:15 p.m. ET: Sarah Palin continued her role as designated attack dog this morning (or, of course, designated lipstick-wearing pit bull) by going after Barack Obama again on his Bill Ayers connection. Some questions to consider: 1) Will anybody pay...

By Ben Pershing | October 6, 2008; 07:55 AM ET | Comments (20)

October 3, 2008

1:30 p.m. ET: Our long national nightmare is (maybe) over: The House has passed the financial rescue bill. Go do your Christmas shopping! Buy a car! All is well. Meanwhile, debate reviews continue to roll in and their collective conclusion...

By Ben Pershing | October 3, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

October 2, 2008

4 p.m. ET: Five hours to go, and the air is thick with anticipation: Will Sarah Palin talk in circles when she doesn't know the answer to a question? Will Joe Biden call Palin "little lady" or harken back to...

By Ben Pershing | October 2, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 1, 2008

4:15 p.m. ET: More polls, more bad news for Sarah Palin as she gets ready for her closeup at tomorrow night's debate. First the Pew poll showed that 51 percent of respondents don't think she's qualified to be president, and...

By Ben Pershing | October 1, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

September 30, 2008

1 p.m. ET: After an appropriate period of mourning for the economic bailout/rescue bill, attention has shifted this fine Tuesday to how and when to bring the patient back to life. President Bush spoke again from the White House this...

By Ben Pershing | September 30, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (16)

September 29, 2008

4:30 p.m. ET: Wow. The Takeaway, who predicted just a few hours ago that the bailout bill would pass (go to the jump for the gory details), feels chastened. As does, presumably, everyone who was backing the bill: Bush, Paulson,...

By Ben Pershing | September 29, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 27, 2008

8 a.m. ET: The almost-didn't-happen debate happened, and today is the first day of the rest of the presidential campaign. The week leading up to Friday night's face-off at Ole Miss was such a whirlwind of activity that the debate...

By Ben Pershing | September 27, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

September 26, 2008

3:30 p.m. ET: Now that the debate over whether to debate is over, we can get on to the debate itself and then the post-debate debate over the winner. Previews are breaking out all over the Interweb, along with advice...

By Ben Pershing | September 26, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

September 25, 2008

2:20 p.m. ET: A deal on bailout legislation is at hand on Capitol Hill -- sort of. Key members of the House and Senate spoke not long ago to say that they had reached what Chris Dodd called a "fundamental...

By Ben Pershing | September 25, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

September 24, 2008

2:30 p.m. ET: President Bush (32 percent approval rating) will address the nation tonight on the economy, in a speech that seems likely to be aimed as much at a recalcitrant Congress (21 percent approval rating) as it is at...

By Ben Pershing | September 24, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

September 23, 2008

2:30 p.m. ET: John McCain got $84 million in public financing in early September, and Barack Obama started the month with $77 million and the likelihood that he would raise well over $100 million more between now and November. The...

By Ben Pershing | September 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

September 22, 2008

2:30 PM EST: What does it mean when Newt Gingrich and Paul Krugman both dislike the same legislative proposal? That it must be bad? That it's "just right"? That the Earth has tilted off its axis? We'll learn more as...

By Ben Pershing | September 22, 2008; 06:31 AM ET | Comments (15)

September 19, 2008

Hello and welcome to Political Browser, the Washington Post's daily guide to politics on the Web. You're getting a sneak preview of this new feature, which officially launches at 8 am EST on Monday, Sept. 22. Each weekday, the Browser...

By Ben Pershing | September 19, 2008; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

September 18, 2008

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By Ben Pershing | September 18, 2008; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

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