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Michael Isikoff writes for Newsweek: "A fierce internal battle within the White House over the disclosure of internal Justice Department interrogation memos is shaping up as a major test of the Obama administration's commitment to opening up government files about Bush-era counterterrorism policy." Isikoff writes that Justice department officials are pitted against intelligence officials, and he quotes a senior official saying "Holy hell has broken loose over this."

Scott Horton blogs for the Daily Beast with another explanation for the delay: "Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era....It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward."

Krissah Thompson writes in The Washington Post: "As the nation's first black president settles into the office, a division is deepening between two groups of African Americans: those who want to continue to praise Obama and his historic ascendancy, and those who want to examine him more critically now that the election is over."

Dan Eggen writes in The Washington Post that "in its first big test," the "13 million-strong grass-roots network built during his presidential campaign...had little obvious impact on the debate over President Obama's budget, which passed Congress on Thursday with no Republican support and a splintering of votes among conservative Democrats."

Peter Baker writes in the New York Times: "Confidence is the name of the game for a new president trying to calibrate his message to match the moment, searching for a way to inspire a recession-weary country and convey hope that better times are ahead. It is a tricky balance to strike. If he sounds too gloomy, he could further depress a nation desperate for any sign of progress. If he sounds too optimistic, he risks looking as if he’s trying to pull something over on the nation, a different sort of Confidence Man."

Steven Mufson writes in The Washington Post: "The new president is setting out to change the very nature of American energy, from the way we use it to the way we generate it." Mufson describes what Obama has already accomplished -- and what is yet to come.

George Lardner Jr. blogs for Nieman Watchdog: "President Obama wanted to hit the ground running when he was sworn in, but there are thousands of federal convicts and ex-convicts waiting for him to wake up and take notice of their requests for pardons or commutations. Of all the powers granted to him by the Constitution, his authority here is complete. Yet he has shown absolutely no interest in exercising it. And no one in the media has asked him about it."

Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes that when it comes to Obama's pledge to bring transparency to the White House, he "has bumped up against technological hurdles, privacy concerns and the entrenched culture of secrecy that has flourished for decades in Washington and culminated under his predecessor, President George W. Bush."

Satyam Khanna writes for ThinkProgress.org about White House senior adviser David Axelrod's response on CNN on Sunday to former vice president Cheney's continued critiques of Obama. From the transcript: Axelrod says former president George W. Bush "has behaved like a statesman. And as I’ve said before, here and elsewhere, I just don’t think the memo got passed down to the vice president." Khann writes: "Axelrod also noted that Cheney’s insistence that he kept America safe flies in the face of reality. 'I find it supremely ironic, on a day when we were meeting with NATO, to talk about the continued threat from al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they’re still plotting against us eight years — or seven years later,' he said. 'I think the question for Mr. Cheney is, how could that be? How could this have gone so long? Why are they still in business?'"

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 6, 2009; 1:19 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era....It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward."

Call their bluff. It makes the Republicans look complicit in criminal activity, but I suppose they think that's better than actually have documents showing their criminal complicity made public.

Obama should not be afraid to call out Republicans and let people know they are holding up the people's business to hide the Bush Administration's shenanigans. Sounds like the Republicans are dishing up some nice campaign commercials.

Posted by: troyd2009 | April 6, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that Obama is "afraid to call out Republicans and let people know they are holding up the people's business to hide the Bush administration's shenanigans." I think that it is not in his nature and it certainly isn't in the nature of Senator Reid to force anything. But also, there is evidence that the Obama administration (at least the White House) does not want disclosure of the extra-constitutional activities of the Bush administration. Remember, we are very likely continuing to illegally wiretap Americans. We are certainly illegally detaining people at Bagram in Afganistan. And we are still using the "state secrets" doctrine to protect the illegal wiretapping.

Posted by: dickdata | April 6, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

So now the culture of corruption Republicans om Congress (with the help of some like-minded conservative Democrats) are resorting to EXTORTION to keep the crimes of the previous Republican administration under wraps.

This goes beyond usual Washington horsetrading, since we are talking about obstruction of justice and certain individuals actively trying to cover-up crimes that have been committed.

These aiders and abettors of conservative crimes don't want any U.S. courts to hear any of these cases, nor any jury of peers impaneled to judge the evidence and render a verdict, nor any subpoenas issued and obeyed, nor any investigations started, nor any grand juries called, nor any special prosecutors assigned...indicating, to me at least, the attempt to cover-up some of the most heinous and loathsome of crimes committed in our nation's name over the past eight years by a bunch of rogue Republicans in the White House and throughout our federal government.

Full investigations (and prosecutions) are required to rid our nation of this Republican stench, otherwise this toxic smell will poison our nation's atmosphere for years to come.

Posted by: wizard2000 | April 6, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

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