By Dan Froomkin
12:03 PM ET, 03/11/2009
Mike Allen writes for Politico: "Even though [former president George W.] Bush is keeping quiet in Texas before heading out on a lucrative speaking tour, an informal network of former aides is keeping his views in the political bloodstream, defending his legacy in TV appearances and backgrounding reporters about his record. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer calls the Bush pundits 'a loose confederation of people united in our belief in what President Bush did, and we're freer now to talk about some things than we used to be — good and bad.'.. The former aides are armed with many of the same arguments that they tried out on reporters when they strolled the hallways of the West Wing."
Chris Cillizza writes in The Washington Post: "President Obama will name Seattle Police Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske as the nation's drug czar today, ending a long search that was slowed as details of drug arrests involving Kerlikowske's son came to light."
Jim Puzzanghera writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Even as it spends hundreds of billions of dollars to revive the U.S. economy, the Obama administration is opening a second front -- pressing European and other nations to launch bigger efforts to stimulate their own economies."
Farah Stockman writes in the Boston Globe: "The Obama administration is leaning toward making a major diplomatic overture to Iran before the country's presidential elections in June. This initiative could come in the form of a letter from President Obama to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to two senior European diplomats who have met in recent weeks with key State Department officials crafting a new US policy toward Iran."
Liz Szabo and Julie Appleby write in USA Today: "As the economy fell, the percentage who reported having trouble paying for needed health care or medicines during the previous 12 months rose from 18% in January 2008 to 21% in December, according to the poll of 355,334 Americans. Each percentage point change in the full survey represents about 2.2 million people, says Jim Harter, Gallup's chief scientist for well-being and workplace management."
John M. Berry writes in his Bloomberg opinion column: "If letting top income-tax rates go back to where they were in 2000 is class warfare against the rich, I'm ready to snap to attention with my old M1 rifle on my shoulder. What a ridiculous label, class warfare. It's hardly aggression against any class to have a progressive income-tax system in which fairness and ability to pay are important considerations in setting rates for different income groups."
The New York Times editorial board worries that Obama isn't as keen on free trade as he should be: "Vigorous trade will help the world recover. For that to happen, the United States will have to provide strong leadership and a clear commitment to fighting protectionism. Any sign of ambivalence from Washington will only make things worse."
Washington Post opinion columnist Michael Gerson lashes out at pro-choice Catholics, and writes that Obama's appointment of one as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, "seems designed to provide religious cover" for his pro-choice agenda and "smacks of religious humiliation -- like asking a rabbi to serve the pork roast or an atheist to bless the meal."
Former vice president Dick Cheney will be John King's guest on CNN on Sunday. It will be Cheney's first TV interview since leaving office in January. Here is what Cheney had to say in his first print interview, five weeks ago.