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White House Watch: April 5, 2009 - April 11, 2009

Obama's State Secrets Overreach

Attorney General Eric Holder (AP file photo). I'm off tomorrow. Blogging will resume Monday morning. There are two things you really need to know about the "state secrets" privilege. The first is that the government lied in the 1953...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Torture Watch

Some of this may sound familiar to regular White House Watch readers. Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball write in Newsweek: "The CIA quietly moved scores of detainees out of its own 'black site' prisons in recent years and turned them...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Torture  
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Easter Egg Roll Update

This year's souvenir egg. The White House Easter Egg Roll is on Monday. First, this just in from the White House: "This year's Easter Egg Roll activities build on the theme of 'Let's Go Play,' which will seek to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Happy Passover

Margaret Talev writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "Last year, Passover came as then-candidate Barack Obama was campaigning in Pennsylvania. A couple of the campaign staffers on the bus who are Jewish and couldn't get home to be with their families decided...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Quick Takes

Julia Preston writes in the New York Times: "While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country's immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Goodbye to Bush Silliness on Iran

One of the most flatly irrational aspects of George W. Bush's approach to foreign policy was his position that you don't sit down to negotiate with your enemies until they've already met your demands. Sort of misses the point of...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Jim Morin on transparency, Gary Varvel on reading from the old teleprompter, Signe Wilkinson on Obama's Afghan plan, Dan Wasserman on Obama and the defense lobby, and Gary Markstein on the Obama overseas tour button....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 9, 2009; 9:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Under New Management

Pragmatic, humble, rational -- how much more unlike George W. Bush can you be? Initial reviews are in from President Obama's big trip, and it seems that most observers just can't get over how much things have changed. Michael D....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Biden v. Cheney

Vice President Biden never looks better than when he's being compared to his predecessor, and I think he knows it. So rather than duck CNN's questions yesterday about former vice president Dick Cheney's recent provocations, Biden -- like President Obama...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Readers Explain Obama's Poll Numbers

I wrote yesterday about how President Obama's continued -- and maybe even improving -- support in public-opinion polls is confounding members of Washington's pundit class. And I asked you readers to explain it to them. "vbdietz" wrote: "The pundits are...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Quick Takes

Glenn Greenwald blogs for Salon about the incredible saga of Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who was released last month from Guantanamo after years of captivity. Now his lawyer has been forbidden from writing a memo to Obama about the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Let's Talk White House

I'll be Live Online today at 1 p.m. ET, discussing Obama's trip, Iraq, Afghanistan, torture and whatever else is on your mind. Submit your questions and comments now....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 9:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Obama's Mystery Visit

The above photo from this White House photo gallery shows President Obama stopping by the press section of Air Force One after leaving Baghdad -- while reporters were apparently having a few beers. Just a social visit? What did...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Late Night Humor

Jon Stewart chronicles the rise of "Baracknophobia" -- the conviction that Obama's presidency has brought tyranny to our shores -- on Fox News. "I think you might be confusing 'tyranny' with 'losing,'" Stewart advises the Baracknophobes. "You see, when the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 9:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Late Night Humor  
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Cartoon Watch

Bob Gorrell on disarmament, Joel Pett on military spending, Tim Goheen on the war with Islam, Jeff Danziger on the Turkey speech and Mark Streeter on North Korea's message....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 8, 2009; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Obama's Iraqi Gambit

Obama greets military personnel at Camp Victory. (Charles Dharapak/AP) President Obama said in an interview two weeks ago, "if you had said to us a year ago that the least of my problems would be Iraq, which is still a...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Iraq  
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Obama Sums Things Up

President Obama's last scheduled appearance on his overseas trip was at a town-hall style meeting with students in Turkey early this morning. It's a shame that it will inevitably be overshadowed by his unannounced visit to Iraq, because his remarks...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Obama Approval Confounds Pundits

Even Washington's pundit class is finding it has no choice but to acknowledge that, despite everything, President Obama is as popular as ever. Consider the latest data. CBS News reports: "As President Obama concludes his well-publicized trip to Europe, Americans...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Quick Takes

Bob Egelko writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration's wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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How Many Others Were Tortured?

The International Committee of the Red Cross's blistering, confidential 2007 report on the CIA's secret prisons is now available online, Web-published by journalist Mark Danner, who last month recounted its gruesome descriptions of the brutal tactics used on detainees...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (110)
Categories:  Looking Backward , Torture  
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Cartoon Watch

Mike Thompson, Peter Brookes and David Fitzsimmons on Obama in Europe, Jeff Danziger on Afghanistan and NATO, Lisa Benson, John Trever, Jimmy Margulies and Ed Gamble on Obama and North Korea, and Steve Kelley on bailout spending....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 7, 2009; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Obama's Nuclear Challenge

Obama waves to the crowd in Prague (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) Was it good timing or bad timing? Hours before President Obama delivered an apparently long-planned speech embracing the goal of total nuclear disarmament, North Korea's rogue nuclear regime provocatively fired...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The Not-Bush Tour in Turkey

Wrapping up his "I'm not Bush" overseas tour with a visit to Turkey, President Obama today decisively declared that the United States is not at war with Islam. "I know there have been difficulties these last few years," he said...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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A Mixed Verdict on Obama's Afghan Plans

NATO leaders were hugely supportive of President Obama's new plans and goals for Afghanistan over the weekend. But that doesn't mean they actually want their troops involved. I have to wonder if that's not the same way most Americans would...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Afghanistan  
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Quick Takes

Michael Isikoff writes for Newsweek: "A fierce internal battle within the White House over the disclosure of internal Justice Department interrogation memos is shaping up as a major test of the Obama administration's commitment to opening up government files about...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Millions of Reasons to Doubt Summers

Larry Summers file photo. (Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg) The latest White House Friday-night document dump had its desired effect, as it's Monday morning and there's little to no attention being paid to how stupendously beholden it turns out President Obama's top economic...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
Categories:  Brain Trust , Financial Crisis  
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Cartoon Watch

Tom Toles on Obama's core message to Europe, David Horsey on the European swoon, Frederick Deligne on Obama's confidence, Steve Benson on Obama and the queen, Rob Rogers on Bush at home, Nate Beeler on missile tests, Mike Keefe on...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 9:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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