Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
1:00 PM ET, 04/27/2009

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 colleagues — say that the bailout [Treasury Secretary Timothy F.] Geithner has played such a central role in fashioning is overly generous to the financial industry at taxpayer expense. An examination of Mr. Geithner's five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street's giant financial institutions."

Ralph Vartabedian and Tom Hamburger write in the Los Angeles Times: "The Obama administration's impending effort to buy about $1 trillion in toxic assets in partnership with private investors -- aimed at solving the most intractable part of the credit crisis -- is now generating widespread fear that it is vulnerable to manipulation and carries sharp risks for taxpayers."

Massimo Calabresi writes in Time: "A popular president taking on a reviled industry should get what he wants, in principle, especially when he's working with a sympathetic Congress. But it's not so clear Barack Obama will be able to deliver on his promises of clamping down on credit card abuses, thanks to the banking industry's experienced Washington lobbyists and their plans to limit proposed restrictions on their business. Obama laid down his marker for reform last week, outlining general principles like simpler forms and more flexible rules for borrowers. And he pressured industry bigwigs at a White House meeting to agree to limit sudden interest rate hikes. But the real fight begins this week, and it's about to get ugly, as Democrats enter negotiations with banks and both sides test the resilience of each other's initial, aggressive postures."

Carl Hulse writes in the New York Times: "At the prodding of the White House, Democratic Congressional leaders have agreed to pursue a plan that would protect major health care legislation from Republican opposition by shielding it from last-minute Senate filibusters. The aggressive approach reflects the big political claim that President Obama is staking on health care, and with it his willingness to face Republican wrath in order to guarantee that the Democrats, with their substantial majority in the Senate, could not be thwarted by minority tactics. While some Democratic senators were reluctant to embrace the arrangement, Mr. Obama made clear at a White House session on Thursday afternoon that he favored it, people with knowledge of the session said."

Robert Pear writes in the New York Times: "Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the supply of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president."

Randolph E. Schmid writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama on Monday promised a major investment in research and development for scientific innovation, saying the United States has fallen behind others. 'I believe it is not in our character, American character, to follow -- but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development,' Obama said in a speech at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences."

Jeff Zeleny writes for the New York Times: "President Obama said on Monday that the growing number of cases of swine flu in the United States and abroad was 'not a cause for alarm,' but he sought to assure Americans that the government was taking precautions to prepare for the prospect of a global health pandemic."

Christine Simmons writes for the Associated Press: "President Barack Obama took advantage of the summer weather in Washington on Sunday to play a round of golf... Obama played for about five hours in nearly 90-degree temperatures on the rolling lawns of a course at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He arrived at the course wearing sunglasses, a cream-colored baseball cap, a short-sleeved shirt and khaki shorts, with his Blackberry clipped to his side."

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