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White House Watch: January 25, 2009 - January 31, 2009

Labor Day at the White House

Obama signs an executive order reversing Bush labor policy on Friday. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) Citing ordinary Americans he met during the campaign who were experiencing "the American dream in reverse," President Obama today told an audience full of labor...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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What's Next?

Ceci Connolly writes in The Washington Post: "The Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation yesterday to provide health insurance to 11 million low-income children, a bill that would for the first time spend federal money to cover children and pregnant women who...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 1:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Health Care  
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'New Politics' Watch

President Obama didn't get anything concrete in return for his recent attempts to woo Congressional Republicans. Every one of them voted against his stimulus bill on Wednesday. But Linda Feldmann writes in the Christian Science Monitor: "By making very public...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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'Progressive Federalism' Comes to Washington

Is President Obama embracing states' rights? Odd as that may be for a liberal African American, yes. That's because these days, on regulatory issues at least, the states are often more progressive than the lobbyist-clogged federal government. John Schwartz writes...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 12:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Claiming Immunity From Beyond the (Political) Grave

Just when you thought former President Bush didn't have any more tricks up his sleeve... Michael Isikoff writes for Newsweek: "Just four days before he left office, President Bush instructed former White House aide Karl Rove to refuse to cooperate...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Lawyer Watch

Dan Eggen writes in The Washington Post: "Washington lawyer Norman L. Eisen made his name in politics as a regular Democratic contributor and co-founder of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, a liberal-leaning watchdog group that, among other things,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Lobbyist Watch

Carrie Budoff Brown writes for Politico: "The new chief of staff to health reform czar Tom Daschle was a lobbyist through late last year and will have to recuse himself from issues he worked to influence, an administration aide said...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ethics  
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Gitmo Watch

Peter Finn writes in The Washington Post: "A military judge threw a wrench yesterday into the Obama administration's plan to suspend legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, denying the government's request to delay the case of a detainee accused of planning...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Quick Takes

Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse write in the New York Times: “President Obama and his advisers have approached Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, about becoming commerce secretary, a step that could open the way to significant shift in...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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My Morning Read

What's on my radar this morning? That flash of populism  yesterday, Obama invites labor to the White House and focuses on the middle class, Bush's extraordinary attempt to assert executive privilege from beyond his presidency, and a setback for Obama...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Tom Toles and Jimmy Margulies on Obama's courtship attempts, Ann Telnaes and Daryl Cagle on GOP principles, Dwane Powell on the Limbaugh imperative, Larry Wright on Obama's work in progress, Peter Brookes on the Obama octuplets, Signe Wilkinson on al...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 30, 2009; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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A Spoonful of Populism

Well, that changes things a little. President Obama, in an appearance with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, just ripped into banks for continuing their profligate ways even as they are being bailed out with taxpayer money. He even mentioned the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Where's Obama the Populist?

(For an explanation of the recent format change, please read this post.) Barack Obama campaigned as a champion of the little guy -- and kicked off his presidency on decidedly populist notes. The marquee event of inauguration night was a...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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The Lobbyists

Obama's new lobbying rules are undeniably the strictest the White House has ever had. But the exceptions are starting to pile up. Kevin G. Hall writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "President Barack Obama on Wednesday named a politically connected top executive...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ethics  
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An End to War(s)

Roger Cohen writes in his New York Times opinion column: "In his first White House televised interview, with the Al Arabiya news network based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, President Obama buried the lead: The war on terror is over....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Quick Takes

Anne E. Kornblut writes in The Washington Post about how Obama is sticking close to home for now, and "will be delegating a heavier-than-expected share of the travel duties to his most prominent surrogates, including Vice President Biden." Sheryl Gay...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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My Morning Read

President Obama gets his stimulus bill passed in the House -- but without one GOP vote. So who really won? Who was vindicated? What does this bode for the future? Peter Wallsten writes in the Los Angeles Times about how...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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The Daily Schedule

Today's public schedule for President Obama and Vice President Biden, after the jump....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Mike Luckovich, Tony Auth, John Darkow, Jim Morin, and Bill Mitchell on Obama and the Republicans, Rob Rogers on Obama's dilemma, David Cohen on transparency, Jimmy Margulies on being green, and Jeff Danziger and Steve Sack on Rush Limbaugh....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 29, 2009; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Obama Tests the Bully Pulpit

Obama with business leaders at the White House this morning. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)(For an explanation of today's format change, please read this post.)Spending time with them didn't seem to do the trick, so President Obama took to the bully pulpit...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Looking Backward

As I noted yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. has issued a new subpoena to former Bush White House aide Karl Rove. Rove deflected an earlier effort to compel his testimony about the politicization of the Justice Department....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Obama's First Big Bill

Robert Pear writes in the New York Times: "Congress gave final approval on Tuesday to a civil rights bill providing women, blacks and Hispanics with powerful new tools to challenge pay discrimination in the workplace. It is likely to be...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Unsupportable Defense of the Indefensible

Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen posted a heated response on the National Review's blog on Monday to my suggestion last week that his defense of the Bush administration's torture policies was based on falsehoods. A little background: The Post last...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Looking Backward , Torture  
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Honeymoon Watch

Patrick O'Connor and Jonathan Martin write for Politico: “Beneath the polite give and take between the new president and the newly disempowered Republican caucus, there was a sense that Obama’s honeymoon had already begun to ebb. For the first time,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Dan Wasserman, Ed Stein and Joel Pett on Obama's new GOP friends, Pat Bagley on Rush Limbaugh, Jim Morin on the stimulus plan, Ann Telnaes on Obama's exceptions, Dana Summers on the honeymoon, Adam Zyglis on light at the end...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Morning Read

Alec MacGillis writes in The Post that some Democrats think Obama isn’t being bold enough, and should to focus more on long-term investments in energy, health care and infrastructure. But Robert Pear writes in the New York Times that Democrats...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Live Q&A

I’m Live Online today at 1 p.m. ET. There's so much to talk about....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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A Change in Format for White House Watch

Welcome to my new blog. It's the same old White House Watch, only different. A new presidency seemed like a good time to shake up my format, and this one has some distinct advantages. I hope you'll agree. Back when...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (124)
 
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Obama the Sphinx

President Obama officially launched his push for peace in the Middle East yesterday, sending his new envoy George Mitchell to the region and declaring his desire for genuine progress -- "not just photo-ops."Obama's sense of urgency -- and his aversion...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Middle East  
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The Rollbacks Continue

Lisa Wangsness writes in the Boston Globe: "President Obama yesterday swept aside his predecessor's skepticism about global warming and reluctance to goad US automakers into producing more fuel-efficient vehicles, issuing orders that he said would lay the groundwork for breaking...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Honeymoon Watch

Even as he undoes the Bush legacy and moves forward in his own right, Obama has encountered a few obstacles. But are they speedbumps of the sort that he will inevitably encounter as he moves forward, or are they indications...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Obama and the GOP

Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas write in the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama travels to the Capitol today to meet with House and Senate Republicans, the latest in a series of high-profile efforts to reach across the aisle and make...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Looking Backward

Gary Kamiya writes for Salon that in banning torture and ordering the closure of Guantanamo last week, "Obama emphatically rejected Bush's warped vision of America, and announced the return of the confident, principled country we all believed in, and too...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Loose Ends

The fact remains that some former Bush officials still owe us some answers.Carrie Johnson writes in The Washington Post: "House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) issued a new subpoena yesterday to former Bush White House aide Karl Rove,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Quick Takes

Other White House items of note: * Michael D. Shear writes in The Washington Post about the White House's unfortunate e-mail outage yesterday. (It's over now.) * Ben Pershing blogs for washingtonpost.com that it's not at all clear what Vice...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Live Online

I'll be Live Online Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET. Let's talk Obama!...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Ed Stein on closing Guantanamo, Pat Oliphant, Tony Auth, and David Horsey on Obama and the GOP, John Sherffius on Obama's standards, and Matt Davies on a responsible withdrawal....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 27, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Is Reaching Out Futile?

In his first weekly address from the White House, President Obama on Saturday described his proposed $820 billion ecnomic stimulus plan in more detail and appealed for public support."[I]f we act now and act boldly; if we start rewarding hard...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 26, 2009; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Rollback Watch

With a blistering critique of the Bush era, Obama this morning announced his plans to overhaul environmental policy and overturn some key Bush decisions."The days of Washington dragging its heels are over," Obama said. "My administration will not deny facts;...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 26, 2009; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Afghanistan Watch

What to do in Afghanistan is shaping up as one of the most complicated issues facing Obama -- with the new president finding himself under increasing pressure to reassess his campaign promise to send in more troops.Helene Cooper writes in...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 26, 2009; 1:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Afghanistan  
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Quick Takes

Joby Warrick writes in The Washington Post about al-Qaeda’s consternation over our new president. “The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group… . With Obama,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 26, 2009; 1:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Tom Toles on the changing of the guard, Jeff Danziger on faith, Mike Luckovich on TMI, Rex Babin and Tony Auth on torture and Gitmo, Joel Pett on common ground, and Pat Bagley on trashing Bush....

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 26, 2009; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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