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White House Watch: February 1, 2009 - February 7, 2009

Why Obama Is Holding Back

Obama speaking to House Democrats last night. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) What's holding President Obama back from wielding his considerable political power like a club and smashing the Republican congressional opposition to his stimulus package? Well, less and less these...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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The Economic Brain Trust

Neil Irwin and Michael D. Shear write for The Washington Post: "The Obama administration today announced a team of outside economic advisers, chaired by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul A. Volcker, to help sculpt a response to the deepening recession.......

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Brain Trust , Financial Crisis  
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Obama's Faith-Based Initiatives

When it comes to polarizing issues like abortion rights and the separation of church and state, is there a way to split the difference? President Obama sought to carve out a middle ground on both issues yesterday, with only limited...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Quick Takes

Susan Page writes in USA Today: "Early stumbles by the Obama White House over some high-level appointments caused a furor in the capital and on cable TV this week, but most Americans dismiss them as just a normal part of...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The Big Test on Monday Night

The White House announced yesterday that President Obama will hold his first news conference on Monday -- in prime time, no less -- to talk about the need for his economic stimulus package. This will present a real test for...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Press Watch  
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Late Night Humor

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10cWhy Are You Such a Dick? - Audio Tape Jon Stewart listens to former vice president Dick Cheney's interview with Politico. "It's nice to see that even in retirement, Dick...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 9:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Pat Oliphant, John Sherffius, Jim Morin and Clay Bennett on the GOP sticking to its principles; Tom Toles, Walt Handelsman and Mike Keefe on the executive pay cap; Robert Ariail, Tony Auth, Scott Stantis and John Deering on Obama's stumbles;...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 6, 2009; 9:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Was 'Post-Partisanship' the Problem?

A major irony of President Obama's pursuit of an economic stimulus package may end up being that in his attempt to be "post-partisan" -- and avoid that "partisan gridlock" he campaigned against -- he conferred legitimacy on the strident arguments...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Is Admitting Mistakes Good Politics?

I wrote yesterday about President Obama's unusually frank admission that he "screwed up" in nominating two people with tax problems to key positions in his administration. Walter R. Mears writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama may not be...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Torture Watch

Torture opponents hope that President Obama will follow up his banning of torture by clearing the air about what the U.S. actually did these past eight years. But there's now one sign he may not. Mary Jordan writes in The...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Looking Backward , Torture  
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Quick Takes

Murray Waas writes for TPM Muckraker: "A federal grand jury probe of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration is focusing on the role played by recently retired Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and former senior Bush White...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The Questions Obama Needs to Answer

Obama at the White House yesterday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Obama and his team are finally making a greater effort to answer the critiques -- large, small, legitimate and absurd -- that threaten to block or delay action that...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Obama Says Partisanship is Holding Up Progress

There's a lively debate over the stimulus package on The Washington Post editorial pages today, headlined by none other than President Obama himself. In an op-ed, Obama responds to criticism of the plan working its way through Congress. He writes...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Froomkin Watch

I'm scheduled to be on NPR's Talk of the Nation today between 3 and 4 p.m. ET. We'll be talking about press coverage of the Obama White House. Call in -- (800) 989-8255 -- and say hi....

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Late Night Humor

.cc_box a:hover .cc_home{background:url('http://www.comedycentral.com/comedycentral/video/assets/syndicated-logo-over.png') !important;}.cc_links a{color:#b9b9b9;text-decoration:none;}.cc_show a{color:#707070;text-decoration:none;}.cc_title a{color:#868686;text-decoration:none;}.cc_links a:hover{color:#67bee2;text-decoration:underline;}The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10cObama: Day 15 Jon Stewart uses video clips to show the continuity between Bush press secretaries Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan and Dana Perino...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Dwane Powell, Rex Babin, RJ Matson and Mike Lane on working with the GOP. Mike Luckovich, Joel Pett, Stuart Carlson, Nate Beeler, David Horsey, Chip Bok, Walt Handelsman, Clay Bennett and Dan Granlund on ethics, taxes and Obama's presidential appointees....

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 5, 2009; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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When Mistakes Are Made

.msnbcLinks {font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #999; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 425px;} .msnbcLinks a {text-decoration:none !important; border-bottom: 1px dotted #999 !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px;} .msnbcLinks a:link, .msnbcLinks a:visited {color: #5799db !important;} .msnbcLinks a:hover, .msnbcLinks a:active {color:#CC0000...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Ethics , Financial Crisis  
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Stimulus Watch

Last night's media blitz on five networks was supposed to let President Obama sell his stimulus package directly to the American public. Instead, of course, the primary focus was on the embarrassing implosion of two nominees with ethics problems. But...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Opinion Watch

The New York Times editorial board, which yesterday successfully called for Tom Daschle to step down as health-czar nominee, writes: "At last, the new administration is waking up to the need for top officials to live up to the high...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Opinion Watch  
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A Changing Culture?

Was the Daschle drama a symptom of a changing culture in Washington? Or a symbol of how intractable it is? R. Jeffrey Smith, Cecilia Kang and Joe Stephens write in The Washington Post: "A classic rule of Washington's political culture...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ethics  
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Late Night Humor

.cc_box a:hover .cc_home{background:url('http://www.comedycentral.com/comedycentral/video/assets/syndicated-logo-over.png') !important;}.cc_links a{color:#b9b9b9;text-decoration:none;}.cc_show a{color:#707070;text-decoration:none;}.cc_title a{color:#868686;text-decoration:none;}.cc_links a:hover{color:#67bee2;text-decoration:underline;}The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10cBig 'Bama's HouseDaily Show Full Episodes Jon Stewart: "So maybe Obama cannot instantly drain the ethical swamp that is Washington. But can he...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Citizen Cheney: Unbowed -- and Unhinged?

Two weeks as a private citizen doesn't appear to have mellowed Dick Cheney one bit. Far from going quietly, Cheney is lashing out with some pretty low blows against the new administration -- saying that President Obama is the putting...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Cartoon Watch

Walt Handelsman on the cure for economic dysfunction, Matt Wuerker on different ways to spend $900 billion, and Mike Luckovich, John Sherffius, John Branch, Signe Wilkinson, Jim Morin, Tony Auth, Jim Day, Nick Anderson, John Trever, Bruce Plante, Adam Zyglis,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 4, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Obama Launches Media Blitz

The embarrassing disclosures about his nominees' tax problems are making big headlines and the naysayers are dominating the debate over his stimulus package. So what's a (still) hugely popular president to do? Commandeer the spotlight, that's what. President Obama sits...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Why Daschle Stepped Down

Daschle at the Senate yesterday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post) President Obama's good friend, trusted advisor and would-be health czar withdrew his nomination as secretary of health and human services today as the controversy over his failure to pay back taxes...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
Categories:  Ethics  
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Stimulus Watch

President Obama repeated his appeal for support of the stimulus package this morning, as he announced his nomination of Republican Senator Judd Gregg to be commerce secretary. "Now is the time for Washington to act with the same sense of...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Poll Watch

Susan Page writes for USA Today: "Americans overwhelmingly want Congress to pass an economic stimulus bill, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, but expectations are low that it will help their families or turn the economy around this year.... "There are...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Get Ready for the Next Rumble

The question of how to reshape the nation's collapsed financial system hasn't been a big political issue thus far -- in part because the Obama administration has yet to make its intentions clear. But Peter G. Gosselin writes in the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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New Era at Justice

Eric Holder was sworn in this morning as the nation's new attorney general and declared a "new day" for the Justice Department. "There shall be no place for political favoritism, no reason to be timid in enforcing the laws that...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Honeymoon Watch

Richard Cohen writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "The new Obama administration could use a rewind button. Hit it and we'd go back to those wonderful days of a couple of weeks ago when history was made, change was...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Karl Rove Watch

Murray Waas reports for TPMMuckraker: "Karl Rove will cooperate with a federal criminal inquiry underway into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys and has already spoken to investigators in a separate, internal DOJ investigation into the prosecution of former Alabama...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Cartoon Watch

Tom Toles, Rex Babin, Scott Stantis, Kevin Siers, Pat Oliphant, Robert Ariail, David Fitzsimmons and Dan Wasserman on Obama, Daschle and taxes....

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 3, 2009; 9:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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The White House's New Tone

Obama meets with Republican Vermont Governor Jim Douglas in the Oval Office on Monday. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) Not too long ago, we had a president who didn't just defy and shun his political opponents, he refused to respond to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Stimulus Watch

In his interview with NBC's Matt Lauer that aired this morning, Barack Obama acknowledged that he'll be a one-term president if the stimulus doesn't work. Lauer: "[A]t some point will you say, 'Wait a minute, we've spent this amount of...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Financial System Watch

David Stout writes in Sunday's New York Times: "Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will soon announce a new strategy for reviving the country's financial system while making sure that banking executives do not misuse federal money meant to assist their...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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The Daschle Dilemma

Thomas A. Daschle's nomination to be secretary of health and human services got tripped up on Friday by the disclosure of a series of tax filing errors made over the past three years, including his failure to pay taxes on...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Ethics  
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Honeymoon Watch

Rick Klein writes for ABC News's The Note that it's a "make-or-break week" for the Obama agenda in the Senate: "The message he wanted to send with the stimulus package -- a new tone of bipartisan cooperation and coordinated action...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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First Promise Broken

Politifact.com determines that President Obama has broken his first campaign promise. His campaign Web site promised: "As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Bush Legacy Watch

Todd J. Gillman writes in the Dallas Morning News: "The Bush legacy-protection machinery isn't in full gear yet. But it's getting there, with former aides gathering online to share talking points and swap spin. "'We were there. And as members...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 12:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Obama Aces Super Bowl Prediction

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By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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The Comedian in Chief

Talk about bipartisan politics. President Obama's comic side was on display Saturday night when he headlined the exclusive Alfalfa Club dinner. The club, founded in 1913, was named for the plant's willingness to "do anything for a drink" and exists...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 9:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Mike Luckovich, Steve Sack, Adam Zyglis, RJ Matson, John Cole and Bill Mitchell on reaching out to the GOP. Tom Toles on Obama to the rescue, Joel Pett on the return of science, Nate Beeler on what lies beneath the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 2, 2009; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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