Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:25 PM ET, 06/ 5/2009

"Will the world ever learn?" That was the question Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel asked, with President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel standing alongside, during an incredibly moving visit today to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where Wiesel himself was held where his father died. "More than half a century later, our grief and our outrage over what happened have not diminished. I will not forget what I've seen here today," Obama said. He called the camp "the ultimate rebuke" to those who deny the Holocaust and said it "teaches us that we must be ever vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others' suffering is not our problem and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests." He added: "And just as we identify with the victims, it's also important for us I think to remember that the perpetrators of such evil were human, as well, and that we have to guard against cruelty in ourselves." Here's the transcript of their remarks.

Peter Baker writes in the New York Times: "The White House first contacted Judge Sonia Sotomayor about the possibility of being nominated to the Supreme Court three days before Justice David H. Souter announced his retirement and stayed in touch with her nearly every day afterward, according to documents sent to Congress on Thursday. Her early and intensive contacts with the White House, outlined in a questionnaire submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, open a window into a selection process in which she appeared to be President Obama's frontrunner from the beginning."

Danielle Pletka writes in a Washington Post opinion column that diplomacy is, well, almost treasonous: "Too often U.S. negotiators are diplomatic gamblers who, in a quest for progress or a place in the history books, weaken American national security in the hope that their next throw of the dice will bring success. Some negotiators have shown themselves willing to shade the truth to Congress; others have politicized intelligence. Proponents of the negotiations game argue that entangling adversaries in a process buys time and security. But as North Korea's most recent nuclear test proves, the time that negotiations buy helps only our adversaries."

Robin Givhan writes in The Washington Post Staff: "The tightly run, always-on-message East Wing has had its first staff upheaval four months into the Obama administration: First lady Michelle Obama has replaced chief of staff Jackie Norris with White House lawyer Susan Sher. The White House made the announcement late yesterday afternoon in a news release and offered no explanation for the change. In a statement, Obama described both women as her friends. But in this instance, Sher, a longtime friend from Chicago, trumped Norris, the relatively new one from Iowa."

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