Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:35 PM ET, 02/ 6/2009

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 staffing a new administration. In a USA Today/Gallup Poll taken Wednesday, those surveyed say by nearly 3-1 that their confidence in President Obama's ethical standards and his ability to manage the government and improve the economy has gone up rather than down since his inauguration last month."

Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus write in The Washington Post: "Leon Panetta, President Obama's surprise choice to be CIA director, yesterday promised a 'new chapter' for the embattled spy agency, telling a Senate panel he would banish controversial interrogation policies while demanding greater candor and accountability with Congress and the American public.

Dan Eggen writes for The Washington Post: "The knives are already out just two weeks after Bush left the White House, as some of his closest friends and former aides begin lobbing sharp criticisms at the Obama administration. The comments mark a departure from the general rules of decorum that held sway during the final weeks of the Bush administration, when the departing president and his aides made a point of fostering a cordial relationship with the Obama team."

Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry write for Bloomberg: "U.S. taxpayers are being shortchanged by about $78 billion through the Treasury Department’s bank bailout, the panel overseeing the program said."

Anne E. Kornblut profiled White House Counsel Greg Craig in The Washington Post: "In addition to thoroughly revamping the government's approach to national security and the handling of those captured in the fight against terrorism, he is leading the search for judges and prosecutors nationwide (including 17 court of appeals and 30 district court vacancies, and all U.S. attorneys), monitoring the closure of detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay and, in the days ahead, overseeing the vetting process."

Michael D. Shear, Peter Finn and Dan Eggen write in The Washington Post: "President Obama will meet today with victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the USS Cole bombing and their families as his administration reviews how to handle detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.... One Sept. 11 activist... said 'fireworks' are likely at the gathering because it will include participants who oppose Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay and those who support it."

Matt Kelley writes for USA Today: "The confirmation of another Cabinet member stalled Thursday because of unpaid taxes after USA Today disclosed that the husband of Labor secretary nominee Hilda Solis paid about $6,400 this week to settle numerous tax liens against his business dating to 1993."

Anya Strzemien writes on Huffingtonpost.com: "One day after President Bush's former Chief of Staff Andrew Card blasted President Obama for breaking the Bush dress code, which reportedly required that a jacket be worn by anyone entering the Oval Office, we've unearthed a photo of, well, a jacketless President Bush in the Oval Office."

And here's audio of my appearance on NPR's Talk of the Nation yesterday, in which I advocated more substantive reporting of the presidency and the issues.

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