Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
11:10 AM ET, 03/27/2009

Former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson writes in the Atlantic that "elite business interests...played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them."

Paul Krugman writes in his New York Times opinion column: "[I]t has become increasingly clear over the past few days that top officials in the Obama administration are still in the grip of the market mystique. They still believe in the magic of the financial marketplace and in the prowess of the wizards who perform that magic....I don’t share that vision. I don’t think this is just a financial panic; I believe that it represents the failure of a whole model of banking, of an overgrown financial sector that did more harm than good."

Joel Berg writes in a Washington Post op-ed that "many charitable organizations, especially ones that serve low-income populations, such as the one I run, strongly support....President Obama's proposal to marginally roll back the amount of the tax deduction the very wealthiest Americans can take for donating to charity....Combined with other progressive Obama tax proposals, [the] change would not only start to redress the inequality gap that has engulfed America in recent decades but would also help to pay for many effective domestic programs, including efforts that fight hunger and improve nutrition; boost public education; improve health care and make it more affordable; and create jobs for low- and middle-income families. In other words, the funding would greatly reduce struggling families' need for charitable aid."

Tom Coyne writes for the Associated Press: "The University of Notre Dame has a tradition of inviting new presidents to speak at graduation. But this year's selection of President Barack Obama has been met by a barrage of criticism that has left some students fearing their commencement ceremony will turn into a circus. Many Catholics are angered by Obama's planned appearance at the May 17 ceremony because of his decisions to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and international family planning groups that provide abortions or educate about the procedure."

Lymari Morales writes for Gallup that as "lawmakers on Capitol Hill battle back and forth over President Barack Obama's proposed budget plan, Americans' views are holding steady. Four in 10 have a positive impression of the plan and just over a quarter have a negative impression -- hardly changed from views expressed a month ago. A third still don't know enough about the budget to have formed an opinion either way."

Peter Nicholas writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The liberal group MoveOn.org is running radio and Internet ads focused on 10 Democratic members of the House and Senate considered potential 'no' votes. The ads suggest phone calls to lawmakers urging them to vote for Obama's budget...Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, said that the TV advertising would not influence his vote. And he questioned whether the ads were consistent with the president's promise of collaboration."

Alan Fram writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama says lobbyists pushing for projects in the stimulus package can't utter a word about them to administration officials. Lobbyists are hardly staying mum about this latest affront and are looking for ways to cope with the extraordinary speaking ban."

CBS News's Bob Schieffer will interview Obama on "Face the Nation" this Sunday.

Jonathan Weisman and Stephen Fidler write in the Wall Street Journal: "Barack Obama, heading overseas for the first time as president next week, aims to use a combination of summit protocol and campaign flash to corral support for his programs."

Timothy Wilson writes in The Washington Post: "The White House's Internet distribution of tickets to this year's Easter Egg Roll....produced what some would-be roll-goers described as large gaps in availability, and frustration and confusion."

Al Kamen writes that despite an e-mail he obtained earlier this week, administration officials continue to insist that no decision has been made to stop using the term "global war on terror" in official communications.

The Associated Press reports: "The president's NCAA tournament bracket took a hit Thursday night when Memphis lost to Missouri 102-91. Obama also missed with Duke's loss to Villanova, and slipped to the bottom half of the 5-plus million fans who entered ESPN.com's pool."

The Associated Press reports: "President Barack Obama told the viewers of a popular Latin music awards show Thursday that they must 'stay involved and make your voices heard' as the nation fights its way out of troubled times." Obama ended his prerecorded message broadcast during the "Premio Lo Nuestro" show on Univision by saying in Spanish: "y para los nominados que se preguntan si esta será su noche, les digo, ¡si se puede!" In English: "And for all those nominees wondering if tonight is their night, let me just say, ¡yes you can!")

Sarah Parker writes for CNN: "The DNC released a scathing Web ad Thursday blasting Rove for a his recent comments calling President Obama an 'arrogant guy.'"

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