Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:45 PM ET, 04/ 3/2009

Del Quentin Wilber and Karen DeYoung write in The Washington Post: "A federal judge ruled yesterday that three detainees at a U.S. military prison in Afghanistan may challenge their confinement before a U.S. court, handing the Obama administration one of its first legal defeats on a claim of executive power. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates...said that the situation of the three detainees at Bagram air base -- who were captured elsewhere and transported to Afghanistan by U.S. forces -- is 'virtually identical' to that of prisoners held by the military at Guantanamo Bay. A landmark Supreme Court ruling last year accorded habeas corpus rights to detainees at that facility....For the moment, the ruling lays to rest some of the concerns voiced by human rights groups that Bagram, a secretive prison that has generally escaped public scrutiny, could become a replacement destination for suspected terrorists."

Lydia Saad writes for Gallup: "Neither George W. Bush's deliberate silence about the Obama administration nor Dick Cheney's ready criticism of it appear to have altered U.S. public perceptions about either man. The former president and former vice president are each viewed unfavorably by 63% of Americans, very similar to where they stood with the public in their final White House years....The 35% of Americans viewing Bush favorably today is close to his all-time low of 32% in April 2008....The 30% of Americans viewing Dick Cheney favorably today matches Gallup's previous favorable reading on him, obtained in July 2007, which was his all-time low."

Randall Mikkelsen writes for Reuters about a new National Geographic documentary, "Explorer: Inside Guantanamo," which is "the first in-depth look at the detention center for terrorism suspects that has become a worldwide symbol of U.S. abuses in fighting terrorism after the September 11 attacks. National Geographic Channel will broadcast it on Sunday evening."

Binyamin Appelbaum writes in The Washington Post: "A former senior official in the Treasury Department under Henry M. Paulson says the Bush administration's response to the financial crisis was hamstrung by 'chronic disorganization,' 'a broadly haphazard policy process,' and 'sometimes strained relations' between the Treasury and the White House."

Al Kamen writes for The Washington Post that the White House unwittingly sent reporters trying to join a high-level conference call to a phone sex line.

TVNewser explains why Obama said "my heart goes out to you" after calling on CBS News's Chip Reid at yesterday's G-20 press conference: Reid's father passed away shortly after he arrived in London to cover the president -- but "his mother and wife, Nina, insisted that his father would want him to continue on the President's historic trip."

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