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White House Watch: April 26, 2009 - May 2, 2009

Why Biden's Gaffe Matters

I might have let Vice President Biden's latest gaffe go as just another example of his extraordinary capacity for verbal blundering -- until the White House started misrepresenting things. By now, you've almost certainly heard what Vice President Biden said...

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 1, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Torture Watch

It's become common for the investigation into torture and other abuses sought by Senator Patrick Leahy and others to be referred to as a "truth commission." But Leahy actually says what he wants is a "commission of inquiry." As human...

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 1, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Torture  
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Quick Takes

Robert Barnes writes in The Washington Post: "Justice David H. Souter, the Republican-appointed New England jurist who has become a reliable member of the liberal bloc on the Supreme Court, has told friends that he plans to retire, according to...

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 1, 2009; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Krauthammer's Asterisks

Charles Krauthammer, in his Washington Post opinion column this morning, tries to find loopholes for impermissible evil. "Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances," he writes. "The first is the ticking time bomb. An innocent's life is at...

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 1, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (460)
Categories:  Torture  
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Cartoon Watch

Dan Wasserman, Mike Luckovich, Walt Handelsman, Jim Morin, John Trever and Ann Telnaes on Biden's disease, Tom Toles and Glenn McCoy on deficits, David Horsey on the first 100 days, Steve Artley on the flyover, Adam Zyglis on Cheney's argument...

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 1, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Obama's Full Plate

President Obama's got a lot on his plate. That was the major takeaway from last night's wide-ranging press conference. Heck, there was so much to talk about that no one even got around to asking about the economy or Afghanistan....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 30, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Quick Takes

Josh Meyer writes for the Los Angeles Times: "The Bush administration's 'lawless response to terrorism' has not only undermined the United States' moral credibility and standing abroad and provided Al Qaeda with its best recruiting material, it also has weakened...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 30, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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What Bipartisanship Is -- and Isn't

President Obama last night tried to correct a widely held misunderstanding of what bipartisanship means. It doesn't, he said, mean that the majority party abandons its core philosophies and adopts those of the minority. It means the two parties try...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 30, 2009; 10:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Obama Refuses to Judge Bush

President Obama last night offered a powerful defense of his decision to ban torture as an interrogation practice, arguing that torture "corrodes the character of a country." And, taking on the ends-justify-the-means argument put forth by former Vice President Dick...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 30, 2009; 10:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Torture  
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Obama Backs Down on State Secrets

President Obama last night described a much more modest role for the state secrets privilege than his own administration has recently argued for in court, acknowledging that it is taking time to fully think through how to reverse some Bush...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 30, 2009; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Cartoon Watch

Dan Wasserman and Bob Englhart on Cheney unchained, Adam Zyglis, Jimmy Margulies and Stuart Carlson on the Specter defection, RJ Matson, Bruce Plante, Ken Catalino and Chuck Asay on the first 100 days, and John Trever and Dave Granlund on...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 30, 2009; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Recapturing the Campaign Spirit

In his first visit to Missouri since a massive rally held two days before he was elected president, Barack Obama recalled the spirit that motivated his campaign and said nobody should be surprised by the scope of his ambitions. Casting...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 29, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Change Agent

Obama in the Oval Office (AP photo) He promised change, and boy has he delivered. Looking back over the first 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency, one can't help but be awed by the tectonic shifts he has set...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 29, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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State Secrets Watch

A federal appeals court yesterday dealt a massive blow to the the Obama administration's attempt to assert its right to avoid even modest judicial scrutiny simply by citing national security concerns. Here's the ruling. For background, read my April 9...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 29, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Obama's Fillibuster-Buster

"I'm thrilled to have Arlen in the Democratic caucus," President Obama said this morning as he stood alongside Arlen Specter, the formerly Republican senator who suddenly declared himself to be a Democrat yesterday. Obama has reason to be delighted. Specter's...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 29, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Quick Takes

Michael D. Shear and Ann Scott Tyson write in The Washington Post: "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs pointedly refused to rule out a firing in the case of the Air Force One backup's flight that terrified some in New...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 29, 2009; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Tom Toles on the GOP's big bet, Mike Keefe, Clay Bennett and John Sherffius on the first hundred days, Jack Ohman on the first hundred grays, Patrick Blower on how Obama can't please everyone, Ann Telnaes on the GOP and...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 29, 2009; 9:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Another 'Test' for Obama

If you think all the 100-days judgments are premature, get a load of the pundits likening the swine flu outbreak to Hurricane Katrina in terms of its potential to be a test of President Obama's mettle. I thought his mettle...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 28, 2009; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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99 and Counting

Get ready for a veritable explosion of assessment tomorrow, as President Obama reaches a milestone. Howard Kurtz writes in The Washington Post: "The wave crests tomorrow -- the actual Day 100 -- with a full day of cable chatter and,...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 28, 2009; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Torture Watch

Brian Stelter writes in the New York Times: "In late 2007, there was the first crack of daylight into the government's use of waterboarding during interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. On Dec. 10, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 28, 2009; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Torture  
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Link Bait

In his very first opinion column for the New York Times, young, Internet-bred conservative Ross Douthat brings the concept of "link bait" to the Times's online opinion section -- by making the most absurd statement imaginable just to get attention....

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 28, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Opinion Watch  
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Quick Takes

Andrew Taylor writes for the Associated Press: "House-Senate negotiators on Monday night announced the agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, with votes expected in the full House and Senate by Wednesday." The pact "would give an endorsement...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 28, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Pat Oliphant and Tony Auth on Obama's new problem, Gary McCoy on a possible solution, John Darkow on Obama's stress position, Joel Pett on Obama's bailout plan, Rob Rogers on the GOP's 100 days in the wilderness and Steve Benson...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 28, 2009; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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Not a Mixed Verdict

Opinion polls being released as we get closer to President Obama's 100th day in office suggest the public neither shares his critics' negative view of his tenure -- nor the balanced view that pundits tend to take on occasions like...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 27, 2009; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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The Advocates of Ignorance

The arguments for a greater public understanding of the Bush administration's torture policies get stronger all the time, even as the arguments for moving forward in a state of willful blindness become more and more clearly a refuge for the...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 27, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  Torture  
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Quick Takes

Jo Becker and Gretchen Morgenson write in the New York Times: "Even as banks complain that the government has attached too many intrusive strings to its financial assistance, a range of critics — lawmakers, economists and even former Federal Reserve...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 27, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Cartoon Watch

Joel Pett on the fruits of torture, Tom Toles on torture and false information, Mike Luckovich on torture most foul, Aislin, RJ Matson and Jeff Danziger on Cheney's role, KAL and Ted Rall on Obama and torture, and Jim Morin...

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 27, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Cartoon Watch  
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