Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:45 PM ET, 03/ 2/2009

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 the matter. The acknowledgment of dozens of destroyed tapes came in a letter filed by government lawyers in New York, where the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking more details of the Bush administration's terror interrogation programs following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks."

Michael A. Fletcher and Ceci Connolly write in Sunday's Washington Post: "Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius yesterday accepted President Obama's request to become his secretary of health and human services, stepping into a central role in the new administration's ambitious effort to overhaul the nation's health-care system."

Aliza Marcus writes for Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama plans to revoke a last minute rule from the Bush administration to shield health workers who refuse to participate in abortions or other medical activities that go against their beliefs."

Nancy Benac writes for the Associated Press: "For all the sweeping changes that President Barack Obama has delivered, there also has been an ample helping of more-of-the-same. The Bush policy of imprisoning enemy combatants in Afghanistan without trial? The Obama White House is OK with that. The Bush tax cuts for the rich that candidate Obama promised to wipe out early? President Obama will let them run their course. The Bush team's claim of a 'state secrets' privilege to avoid releasing information? The Obama White House has agreed thrice over, even as it reviews the policy." Here's the AP's list.

Ginger Thompson writes in the New York Times: "White House officials said Sunday that President Obama would sign a $410 billion spending bill that includes thousands of pet projects, known as earmarks, despite campaign promises to put an end to the practice... 'This is last year's business,' Peter R. Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in an appearance on the ABC program 'This Week.' 'We want to just move on. Let's get this bill done, get it into law and move forward.'"

Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes in the New York Times that a "burst of entertaining is giving the new White House a far livelier feel than during the twilight of the Bush administration, when more people were demonstrating outside than boogieing inside. But Mr. Obama's open-door policy is not just fun and frivolity; it is an exercise in presidential image-making to advance his political agenda, while also carefully nurturing an identity for a first family that embodies racial history, youth and a stylistic shift in leadership....Senior White House officials say the Obamas want to bring together people whose paths might not ordinarily cross. The White House social secretary, Desirée Rogers, said an overarching question was: 'How do we Obama-tize this event?'" Here's Stolberg's video report.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates compared his two bosses on Sunday, with David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think that probably President Obama is, is somewhat more analytical, and, and, he makes sure he hears from everybody in the room on an issue. And if they don't speak up, he calls on them....President Bush was interested in hearing different points of view but didn't go out of his way to make sure everybody spoke if they hadn't, if they hadn't spoken up before."

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