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White House Watch: January 18, 2009 - January 24, 2009

Return to the Moral High Ground

All it took, at long last, was a few strokes of a pen.Scribble scribble. "There we go," President Obama said yesterday as he ordered the closure, within a year, of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Scribble scribble. "There you go,"...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Bush Rollback , Torture  
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The White House and the Press Corps

Despite all of Obama's impressive nods to transparency, based on reports of the first briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday, it didn't look like a whole new era in the press room.Gibbs seemed to see his job as deflecting...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Press Watch  
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Obama's Visit to the Press Room

Jonathan Martin writes for Politico: "President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question."Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Press Watch  
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Bubble Watch

Jeff Zeleny writes in the New York Times: "For more than two months, Mr. Obama has been waging a vigorous battle with his handlers to keep his BlackBerry, which like millions of other Americans he has relied upon for years...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bubble Watch  
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Bush Rollback Watch

Michael Hirsch writes for Newsweek: "After Inauguration Day, departed presidents usually become footnotes pretty quickly. What we are witnessing now is far more dramatic. It's closer to a liquidation, or a cauterization. George W. Bush is being turned into an...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Middle East Watch

Obama yesterday made it clear that the Middle East will be an urgent priority for his administration -- but those hoping for him to announce a substantially new approach were disappointed.Mark Landler writes in the New York Times: "Signaling his...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Middle East  
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Critique From the Left

Robert Scheer writes in his syndicated opinion column: "My concern is with the nation's two most serious flashpoints (the economic bailout and the war in Afghanistan) and on both the early actions of the Obama team have been far from...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Opinion Watch  
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Critique From the Right

So this is what Obama gets in return for breaking bread with Washington Post opinion columnist Charles Krauthammer, among other right-wing pundits....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Opinion Watch  
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Whitehouse.gov Watch

Anne E. Kornblut writes for The Washington Post: "The new White House web site is expected to display many cool things once it's fully operational (which, currently, it is not)."But pool reports -- the informal, quick accounts of the president's...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Whitehouse.gov  
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The Bushies Fire Back

Peter Baker writes for the New York Times that some former top Bush aides feel Obama "used his inaugural lectern to give the back of the hand to a predecessor who had been nothing but gracious to him."'There were a...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Late Night Humor

Jon Stewart looks at Fox News’s Obama fear-mongering: “It is the second full day of the Obama presidency, day number two. It’s obviously going to take some time before we get a real clear sense of the direction that this...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Late Night Humor  
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Cartoon Watch

Ann Telnaes, Tony Auth, Peter Brookes, and Mike Keefe on torture and Guantanamo; Signe Wilkinson and Robert Ariail on do-overs....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 23, 2009; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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'A Pretty Good Place to Start'

President Obama often spoke during the campaign about a new kind of politics. He promised a common-sense way of running the country that defied left-right stereotypes.It wasn't always entirely clear what he meant by that.But on his first full day...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transparency  
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And Then, on the Second Day

This just in: We don't torture anymore.Obama this morning signed three more executive orders, one requiring the closure of the prison at Guantanamo within a year, the second definitively banning torture and the third establishing a task force on interrogation...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Middle East Watch

Mark Landler writes in the New York Times: "President Obama moved swiftly to engage on the Middle East on Wednesday, calling Israeli and Arab leaders on his first morning in office and preparing to appoint a seasoned peace negotiator and...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Middle East  
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Brain Trust Watch

The Post's Al Kamen on Tuesday uncorked the new West Wing floor plan.As Jeff Zeleny wrote in the New York Times last week: "Among the top members of the staff, David Axelrod, a senior adviser, will occupy the space closest...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Brain Trust  
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Quick Takes

Marc Ambinder blogs for the Atlantic that Obama is apparently going to be able to keep some sort of super-encrypted BlackBerry-like device.Susan Page writes for USA Today: "By nearly 6-1, those surveyed Tuesday in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll say Obama's...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Whitehouse.gov Watch

It looks like Obama's technology team has hit a few roadblocks.Anne E. Kornblut writes in The Washington Post: "Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Whitehouse.gov  
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Honeymoon Watch

Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz asks this morning, apparently quite seriously: "It is well past time to ask the question: What has Barack Obama really accomplished as president, anyway? . . . How long are we supposed to wait...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Ann Telnaes on shredding the Bush legacy, Gary Markstein on restoring the Constitution, Scott Sherffius on Obama's first official act, Kevin Siers and Tom Toles on the botched oath, and Walt Handelsman, Scott Stantis, RJ Matson, Nate Beeler, Steve Kelley,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 22, 2009; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Picking Up the Pieces

What a difference a day makes.Yesterday's inauguration of President Obama represented an epochal shift for this country, from a conservative leader to a liberal, from one generation to another, from a child of privilege to someone entirely self-made, and ever...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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The Big Picture

Peter Baker writes in the New York Times: "Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday and promised to 'begin again the work of remaking America' on a day of celebration that...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The First 100 Days

It begins.Peter Finn writes in The Washington Post: "In one of its first actions, the Obama administration instructed military prosecutors late Tuesday to seek a 120-day suspension of legal proceedings involving detainees at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Crisis Without an Obvious Solution

The most immediate crisis facing Obama is also the one that he doesn't yet have a plan to address. Edmund L. Andrews writes in the New York Times: "The president's advisers watched most banking shares fall sharply on Tuesday, reinforcing...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Word Watch

The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes: "One curious note in Obama's speech was a line that could have come out of the mouth of George W. Bush: 'Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The First Family

Jodi Kantor writes in the New York Times about what may end up to be one of the most lasting impacts of the Obama presidency: "For well over two centuries, the United States has been vastly more diverse than its...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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How Long a Honeymoon?

Adam Nagourney writes in the New York Times that “there is evidence that, enthusiastic though the public is about the change in power, there are no expectations of quick fixes. The cascade of grim economic news, combined with the calculatedly...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Whitehouse.gov Watch

It's still very much a work in progress, but the new Whitehouse.gov Web site, launched at the stroke of noon yesterday, promises enormous steps forward in terms of embracing Internet technology and promoting transparency.In an inaugural blog post, (yes, blog...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Whitehouse.gov  
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Exit Bush and Cheney

Maura Reynolds writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The choreography was smooth, the smiles were gracious, but all the same, George W. Bush's exit from Washington still carried a measure of pain. . . ."[W]hen Bush's helicopter lifted off from...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Looking Backward

Scott Shane wrote in the New York Times on Saturday that the acknowledgment by attorney general-designee Eric H. Holder Jr. that waterboarding is torture amounts "to an admission that the United States may have committed war crimes" and "opens the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Looking Backward , Torture  
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Last Licks

The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes: "Like the war that came to define it, Bush's presidency conceivably could be viewed more favorably by historians than it is by the nation that looks forward expectantly to his retirement on Tuesday....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Tony Auth and Pat Oliphant on the last chapter; Steve Sack on a new chapter. And Mike Luckovich, Tom Toles, Ann Telnaes, John Sherffius, Dan Wasserman, Walt Handelsman, John Sherffius, Rex Babin, Signe Wilkinson, Ted Rall and Jeff Danziger on...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Change

For those of us who closely follow activities at the White House, the transition from George W. Bush to Barack Obama is not just a remarkable and historic event — it’s also an occasion for us to rethink our relationship...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 20, 2009; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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About Dan Froomkin

I've been writing White House Watch (originally called White House Briefing) since January 2004. It's an annotated and opinionated daily anthology of what I consider the most interesting White House-related items from newspapers, magazines, blogs and broadcasts. You can read...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 20, 2009; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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