Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:48 PM ET, 05/ 4/2009

Ryan J. Donmoyer writes for Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama proposed to raise about $190 billion over the next decade by outlawing three offshore tax-avoidance techniques used by U.S. companies such as Caterpillar Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. He also would make it riskier for Americans to stash money in tax-haven banks. The tax system is 'full of corporate loopholes,' Obama said at the White House today.

Karen DeYoung writes in The Washington Post that intelligence officials have told Obama that the situation in Pakistan is dire, with security deteriorating rapidly, "particularly in the mountains along the Afghan border that harbor al-Qaeda and the Taliban." But, she writes, "Obama has only limited options for dealing with it. Anti-American feeling in Pakistan is high, and a U.S. combat presence is prohibited. The United States is fighting Pakistan-based extremists by proxy, through an army over which it has little control, in alliance with a government in which it has little confidence."

Shailagh Murray writes in The Washington Post that Obama's higher-education proposals "could transform the financial aid landscape for millions of students while expanding federal authority to a degree that even Democrats concede is controversial. At stake is a plan to expand the Pell Grant program, making it an entitlement akin to Medicare and Social Security."

Alex Isenstadt writes for Politico: "Republicans looking to recover from Bush-era defeats are turning to an unlikely source for advice: top aides to former President George W. Bush. Former White House press secretary Dana Perino, former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie and former White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto are among those set to provide words of wisdom to House Republican press secretaries at their annual workshop this Friday."

Michael Weisskopf and Michael Duffy write for Time: "Longtime financial backers of the 43rd president have raised more than $100 million for a presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas that will house his official papers, sources close to Bush told Time. Much of the money was collected in the 100 days or so since Bush left the White House, a pace much faster than that of his recent predecessors."

Emily Berman of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School proposes that Congress pass legislation clearly delineating the limits of executive privilege. "Functioning properly, executive privilege creates a tightly drawn zone of confidentiality around the President to ensure that advisors provide him with candid advice while simultaneously allowing Congress access to the information it needs to engage in its core constitutional functions of policy-making and oversight," she writes. By contrast, the way things work now, "a self-interested Executive is able to determine unilaterally whether the information will be disclosed."

From the White House Blog on Friday: "[T]he White House is taking steps to expand how the Administration is communicating with the public, including the latest information and guidance about the H1N1 virus. In addition to WhiteHouse.gov, you can now find us in a number of other spots on the web." White House pages on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter now supplement previous pages on Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube and iTunes.

Rachel L. Swarns writes in the New York Times that "Marian Robinson, President Obama's mother-in-law,...is unexpectedly and decidedly savoring her new life."

Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger blog for The Washington Post that the president and the first lady took "a twilight stroll, hand in hand on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday night -- this after an early date-night dinner at super-fancy Citronelle. (He had the 72-hour short ribs; she had the lobster burger.)"

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