By Dan Froomkin
1:03 PM ET, 02/27/2009
Lymari Morales writes for Gallup: President Barack Obama's address to Congress Tuesday night appears to have bolstered confidence among many Americans. Four in 10 (41%) say they are now more confident in his plans to improve the economy, including 57% of those who watched or listened to the speech live."
Karen DeYoung writes in The Washington Post: "President Obama's first presidential directive, outlining the organization of his national security structure, adds the attorney general, the secretaries of energy and homeland security, and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to the formal National Security Council.....Another directive made available this week by Secrecy News, orders an interagency review of the White House homeland security and counterterrorism structure."
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence yesterday announced the selection of Charles W. Freeman, Jr. to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council. "As Chairman, Ambassador Freeman will be responsible for overseeing the production of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) and other Intelligence Community (IC) analytic products." Over at NiemanWatchdog.org, where I am deputy editor, I recently called Freeman "a one-man destroyer of groupthink."
Citing new cooperation coming from the Egyptian, Afghan and Pakistani governments, Helene Cooper writes in the New York Times: "The honeymoon period between President Obama and Congress may be running its course in Washington. But on the world stage, the romantic flame is still flickering."
Ann Scott Tyson writes in The Washington Post: "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday that he is lifting a 1991 government ban on news coverage of the return of the remains of fallen service members to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and will let families decide whether to allow photographs and videos."
Farah Stockman and Bryan Bender write in the Boston Globe: "As President Obama rolls out one of the most ambitious agendas in US history, federal agencies are struggling to administer hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of new projects and to enact sweeping policy changes with a mere handful of senior staff members in place, in part due to an increasingly tough vetting policy initiated by Obama himself. Only about 70 people have been formally nominated to fill the roughly 500 senior posts in the Defense, State, Treasury, and Education departments and dozens of other government agencies, according to White House records. Dozens of nominations are still pending as FBI and White House officials scrub potential nominees' tax returns, financial ties, and former activities in government."
Vice President Biden writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed: "Today, in Philadelphia, the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families is holding its inaugural meeting.....The task force's first order of business is to evaluate how investing in green jobs will help build a strong middle class."
ABC News's Jonathan Karl and Karen Travers talk to Laura Bush, who tells them that she and her husband are settling into a normal, post-presidency life at their new home in Dallas, and that she did not watch President Obama's address to Congress on Tuesday night because she "totally forgot about it."