Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:57 PM ET, 02/17/2009

Edmund L. Andrews writes in the New York Times: "President Obama's plan to reduce the flood of home foreclosures will include a mix of government inducements and new pressure on lenders to reduce monthly payments for borrowers at risk of losing their houses, according to people knowledgeable about the administration's thinking."

Douglass K. Daniel writes for the Associated Press: "Facing a stricter approach to limiting executive bonuses than it had favored, the Obama administration wants to revise that part of the stimulus package even after it becomes law, White House officials said Sunday."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, in the New York Times, profiles "Lawrence H. Summers, the brash and brainy former Harvard president who, as chief White House economic adviser, is guiding [Obama] through treacherous terrain," and who is "assembling a brain trust of hotshot economists to expand his reach into every realm of policy making, from housing to agriculture."

Nicholas Johnston writes for Bloomberg: "At a time when bipartisanship has all but broken down in Washington," Obama and 76-year-old Republican wise man Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana "are quietly working to restore the notion that politics must end at the water's edge."

David E. Sanger writes in the New York Times: "We're about to find out what the Obama Factor is worth around the world. The Factor is all the good will, popular support and considerable charm that Barack Obama brought to the Oval Office nearly four weeks ago."

Kendra Marr and Neil Irwin wrote in Monday's Washington Post that the Obama administration has elected not to name any individual car czar to oversee the restructuring of U.S. auto companies, instead planning to rely on a range of senior officials.

But Mark Silva blogs for Tribune that Ron Bloom, a key adviser to President Barack Obama's new automotive industry task force is the "car czar without a crown."

Juliet Eilperin writes in The Washington Post: "The Obama administration is legally defending a last-minute rule enacted by President George W. Bush that allows concealed firearms in national parks, even as it is internally reviewing whether the measure meets environmental muster."

Peter Baker writes in the New York Times that Obama will soon "have to decide whether to proceed with some of the priciest aircraft in the world — a new fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters that will each cost more than the last Air Force One."

President Obama said last week that he is considering lifting the ban on photographs and videos at Dover Air Force Base, Del., where the remains of fallen U.S. troops are brought home. Ann Scott Tyson and Mark Berman write in The Washington Post: "For Obama, changing the policy would carry some political risk as he ramps up the war effort in Afghanistan with tens of thousands of fresh troops, increasing the likelihood of combat deaths that could produce photographs of numerous coffins arriving at one time....At the same time, Obama has advocated transparency in government, and continuing to hide the Dover ritual from public view conflicts with that principle as well as with public opinion on the issue, polls indicate."

Laura Isensee writes in the Dallas Morning News that the latest designs for the George W. Bush presidential library call for a structure that "has grown to an estimated 207,000 square feet – akin to an average Wal-Mart Super Center – making it more than twice as large as his father's, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University."

C-SPAN asked 65 presidential historians to rank the 42 former occupants of the White House on ten attributes of leadership. Lincoln, Washington and FDR topped the list. George W. Bush came in seventh from the bottom.

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