Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
11:44 AM ET, 04/14/2009

Andy Barr writes for Politico: "Three months into his presidency, Barack Obama stands out as perhaps the most trusted figure in American politics. In a new Public Strategies Inc./Politico national survey of 1,000 registered voters, Obama outdistances figures on both the left and the right in earning the public's trust, with two-thirds of respondents saying they trust the president 'to identify the right solutions to the problems we face as a nation."

Of course, consider who he was up against: "Voters were asked the same question of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and the two major political parties. Among those choices, only the Democratic Party was trusted to find the right solutions by a majority of voters, 52 percent to 40 percent."

Paul Steinhauser writes for CNN: "A new poll indicates Americans don't agree with former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent assertion that President Barack Obama's actions have increased the chances of a terrorist attack against the United States....Seventy-two percent of those questioned in the poll released Monday disagree with Cheney's view that some of Obama's actions have put the country at greater risk, with 26 percent agreeing with the former vice president."

Ezra Klein blogs for the American Prospect: "You know what might be interesting? A serious story interviewing an array of terrorism experts at length and asking whether there's truth to Cheney's claims. You could even expand the scope of the question and ask prominent terrorism skeptics like John Mueller whether it even matters if Cheney's claims are true, or whether a slightly increased risk of terrorism is overwhelmed by the economic and diplomatic dangers posed by the Bush/Cheney approach."

Scott Horton writes for the Daily Beast: "Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo."

Jane Mayer writes in the New Yorker that the prosecutors were inspired in part by Philippe Sands's book, "Torture Team." The criminal complaint is aimed at "the same six former Bush Administration officials he had named, weighing charges that they had enabled and abetted torture by justifying the abuse of terrorism suspects....Sands reiterated a warning that he made in his book. 'If I were they,' he said, referring to the former officials in question, 'I would think carefully before setting foot outside the United States. They are now, and forever in the future, at risk of arrest. Until this is sorted out, they are in their own legal black hole.'"

David E. Sanger writes for the New York Times: "The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran rapidly shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program, according to officials involved in the discussions."

Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post that "in a world of depression and war, the discussion of an American shipping captain's successful rescue from pirates over the weekend brought the rare sensation of adventure on the high seas to the White House briefing room yesterday -- and everybody seemed to enjoy the diversion."

Richard Cohen writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "Former president George W. Bush and some of his White House aides are gathering in Dallas this week to plan the future George W. Bush Policy Institute. There, I guess, they will ponder grand themes and marble foyers, but I propose they begin by simply renaming the place. I suggest naming it the 'George W. Bush Institute of Management Failure' and dedicating it to studying how this presidency went so wrong -- a task as big as Texas itself."

The Washington Post's Scott Wilson profiles Mona Sutphen, the White House deputy chief of staff for policy and "perhaps the least well known of the Obama administration's senior advisers."

Michael Cieply writes in the New York Times: "John McTiernan, facing an expected new indictment for his role in the Anthony Pellicano Hollywood wiretapping case, is striking back — with a movie. In an extraordinary and somewhat startling challenge to officials who have threatened him with jail time for lying to an F.B.I. agent, Mr. McTiernan....has completed a documentary that accuses the Bush administration of having pursued the Pellicano case as part of a far-ranging conspiracy under the direction of Karl Rove to prosecute Democrats."

© 2009 The Washington Post Company