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

The Limbaugh Chatter Goes Meta

Dan Froomkin is off on Friday. The blog will resume on Monday. The continuing media chatter about right-wing talk show giant Rush Limbaugh's inordinate influence over Republican Party officials is, undoubtedly, a distraction. There are much more important things for...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 4:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Obama Won't Take No for an Answer

When it comes to reforming the health care system, President Obama told a gathering of 150 experts in the field today that he's willing to listen to any idea but one. "The status quo is the one option that is...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Health Care  
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Is Rove Wriggling Away Again?

Yesterday's announcement that former Bush White House aides Karl Rove and Harriet E. Miers will answer questions from congressional investigators about the U.S. attorney scandal puts an end to the absurd proposition advanced by the previous administration that senior advisers...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Handling the Truth

When it comes to exploring and exposing the depths of the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies, congressional Democrats can't seem to agree on the best approach. Should there be congressional investigations? Criminal investigations? Perhaps a bipartisan "truth commission"? Meanwhile, nobody at...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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The President, His Men, and His Women

Elizabeth Drew looks back on Obama's first 30 days in the New York Review of Books and offers these observations on Obama's management style: "Seeking to avoid the mistakes of the early Clinton era, Obama concluded that, unlike Clinton, he...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Brain Trust  
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Front Page News

Who says the media isn't focusing on the important stuff? Helene Cooper writes on the front page of today's New York Times: "Well, that didn’t take long. Just 44 days into the job, and President Obama is going gray.... "'I...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Quick Takes

Here's ABC's Charlie Gibson talking last night about all the earmarks in the $410 billion spending bill currently before Congress. "You may ask, didn't the presidential candidates last fall agree to get rid of earmarks?" But correspondent Jonathan Karl doesn't...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Late Night Humor

Jon Stewart (below) explains: "Recent opinion polls indicate that six weeks into Barack Obama's administration, the American public thinks they approve of his performance. But it turns out they're wrong." In fact, based on cable TV coverage, Stewart concludes: "Opinion...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Late Night Humor  
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Cartoon Watch

Tony Auth on the charge of socialism, Dwane Powell, Robert Ariail, Daryl Cagle and Adam Zyglis on Obama's economic strategies, Nate Beeler on if Obama twittered, Jimmy Margulies on earmarks, Tom Toles, Ann Telnaes, Steve Sack, Stuart Carlson and Chan...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 5, 2009; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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The Need to Know

A detail from artist Fernando Botero's reflection on the 2004 prisoner abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The Senate Judiciary Committee today is holding a hearing on Chairman Patrick Leahy's proposal to establish a bipartisan "truth commission" to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Poll Watch

Laura Meckler writes for the Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama enjoys widespread backing from a frightened American public for his ambitious, front-loaded agenda, a new poll indicates. "He is more popular than ever, Americans are hopeful about his leadership,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Budget Watch

President Obama's budget proposal presents a challenge not only to Republicans, but to Democrats who are more comfortable with the status quo than he is. (See my post from Monday, Obama vs. the Washington Establishment.) Watch the carping begin! Lori...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Buy Low?

Baked into the White House's long-term budget projections is the assumption that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the economy will come roaring back to life -- at least relatively speaking -- thanks in part to government spending. But...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Another Way to Take on Washington

Yesterday, I listed seven ways President Obama could pressure the Washington establishment to support the course change he is calling for. Several readers posted their own ideas in comments, and I'd like to call attention to one suggestion I found...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 11:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Obama v. D.C.  
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Quick Takes

Renae Merle writes for The Washington Post: "The Obama administration gave details of its massive foreclosure prevention program this morning, releasing guidelines for the program for the first time. The program has two major components: a refinancing program for homeowners...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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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 / 10cMess O'Potamia - The Iraq War Is Over Jon Stewart puts up clips of President Obama and former president George W. Bush talking...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Late Night Humor  
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Cartoon Watch

Don Wright on Obama's challenge to the status quo, Chip Bok and Michael Ramirez on the return of big government, Steve Kelley on Obama's bucket brigade, Steve Benson on the deficit, Jim Morin on the government and the banks, Robert...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Seven Ways Obama Can Beat Washington

Obama at a campaign rally at the University of Denver in January 2008. (Reuters) If nearly the entire Washington power establishment is complicit in the problems President Obama is trying to solve (see yesterday's post), then he's going to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 1:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Obama v. D.C.  
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Bush's Secret Dictatorship

The memo issued by the acting director of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel just five days before Barack Obama took office comes across almost as, among other things, a bit whiny. Steven Bradbury wrote to officially retract a...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Taking Bush's Words Seriously

Former president George W. Bush insisted that his controversial plans for an anti-missile base in Poland and radar deployment in the Czech Republic weren't intended to protect Europe from Russia -- but from Iran. Bush's real motives were more complex....

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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What a Rush

This is the kind of story that simply captivates the Washington media. Peter Nicholas writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The Obama White House has begun advancing an aggressive political strategy: persuading the country that real power behind the Republican...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Quick Takes

Robert Pear and Jeff Zeleny write in the New York Times: "In naming a new team to run health policy for his administration, President Obama has recruited a formidable array of talent, but has not clarified the lines of authority,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Unbreaking Government

George Bush pretty much broke the federal government. He and former vice president Dick Cheney put people into key posts who didn't support the traditional missions of the agencies they led. Competence or experience weren't as important as loyalty to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Bush Rollback  
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Cartoon Watch

Pat Oliphant on Bush's legacy, Stuart Carlson on extra-strength Obama, Tony Auth on Obama's test, Chan Lowe on Obama's effrontery, Dan Wasserman and Ed Gamble on the GOP, Phil Hands on Obama's Iraqi asterisk, Clay Bennett on Rush Limbaugh, Peter...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 3, 2009; 9:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Obama vs. the Washington Establishment

In his radio and Internet address on Saturday (above), President Obama boldly -- and accurately -- cast his ambitious and profoundly course-changing budget proposal as an assault on establishment Washington and its entrenched interests. "I realize that passing this...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 2, 2009; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Obama v. D.C.  
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Iraq Watch

Your fellow White House Watchers are weighing in on my Friday item, in which I wondered if, in his recent Camp Lejeune speech, President Obama's essential endorsement of former president George W. Bush's possibly unattainable goals for Iraq means he...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 2, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Iraq  
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Quick Takes

Devlin Barrett writes for the Associated Press: "New documents show the CIA destroyed nearly 100 tapes of terror interrogations, far more than has previously been acknowledged. The revelation Monday comes as a criminal prosecutor is wrapping up his investigation in...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 2, 2009; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Tom Toles on one of the problems with bipartisanship, Tony Auth and RJ Matson on the difficulties Obama is facing, John Sherffius, Adam Zyglis, Jimmy Margulies and Gary Varvel on Obama's budget, David Horsey and Kevin Siers on class warfare,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 2, 2009; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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