January 2010

Jan 11, 2010

On the Radar: January 11, 2010

"For Obama, a tough year to get the message out"
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
In winning the White House, Barack Obama's team earned a reputation for skill and discipline in dominating the communications wars with opponents. In office, virtually the same team has struggled, spending much of the past year defending the administration's actions on the two biggest domestic issues -- the economy and health care... Continue Reading

"Reid Apologizes for Remarks on Obama's Color and 'Dialect'"
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, apologized on Saturday for once predicting that Barack Obama could become the country’s first black president because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”...Continue Reading

"Can the Dems Bridge Their Health Care 'Cadillac' Tax Divide?"
By Karen Tumulty, TIME
With the House set to return to Washington this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finds herself walking a narrow line on President Obama's top domestic priority. She had only two votes to spare when the House passed its version of health care legislation back in November, and now her restive caucus is telling her that they will not move too far in the direction of the Senate's more conservative version of the bill...Continue Reading

"Connecting the intelligence dots will require clout"
By Doyle McManus. Los Angeles Times
The former head of the federal Information Sharing Environment says agencies must be forced to adopt common systems for tagging information, flagging what's important and making sense of it quickly...Continue Reading

Jan 12, 2010

On the Radar: January 12, 2010

"Obama Weighs Tax on Banks to Cut Deficit"
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
President Obama will try to recoup for taxpayers as much as $120 billion of the money spent to bail out the financial system, most likely through a tax on large banks, administration and Congressional officials said Monday....Continue Reading

"Economic calendar governs new year"
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
Late last week, Democrats were clinging to the hope that December’s unemployment figures would provide good news to start off the 2010 election year...Continue Reading

"Banks Brace for Bailout Fee"
By Deborah Solomon & Damian Paletta, The Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration is aiming to hit banks with a fee to recoup losses associated with the government's bailout of financial firms and the auto industry, administration officials say....Continue Reading

"States protest Supreme Court ruling on live testimony"
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
In an unusual move Monday, the Supreme Court revisited a 2009 case testing when prosecutors who introduce lab reports of drug or blood evidence must call the analyst who prepared the report to testify....Continue Reading

Jan 13, 2010

On the Radar: January 13, 2010

"Obama, Congressional Leaders Resume Push on Health Care"
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
President Obama and Senator Harry Reid hold their first face-to-face meeting on Wednesday since the controversy erupted over comments that Mr. Reid once made about Mr. Obama’s race and dialect. But that topic is not on the Oval Office agenda. Health care is....Continue Reading

"Many say U.S. race relations have improved under Obama, but divides remain"
By Michael A. Fletcher and Krissah Thompson, The Washington Post
President Obama has ignited a surge of optimism among African Americans as they assess race relations and their prospects for the future, but the hope for reconciliation that accompanied the election of the nation's first black president remains far off...Continue Reading

"Congress fights healthcare fatigue to finish bill"
By Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington - Facing an electorate more worried about jobs and the economy than healthcare, House and Senate Democrats have stepped up efforts to get a compromise bill to President Obama by the end of the month...Continue Reading

"Move on, let voters decide Reid's fate"
By Gloria Borger, CNN
So here we are, in the space of one week, dealing with a few reported and contentious statements regarding race. To recap: First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the authors of the new book "Game Change" that Barack Obama could actually win since he was "light-skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."....Continue Reading

Jan 17, 2010

On the Radar: January 14, 2010

"Bernanke's Puzzling Bubble Logic"
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
Ben Bernanke sounds like a fellow who hasn't learned anything. In a speech to the American Economic Association, the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman argued that the ultra-low interest rates that he and Alan Greenspan pursued in the 2000s didn't cause the housing bubble that produced what Mr. Bernanke calls "the worst financial crisis in modern history."....Continue Reading

"Tax expansion could pay for healthcare overhaul"
By Janet Hook & Noam N. Levey, The Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington - Democratic congressional leaders are considering a new strategy to help finance their ambitious healthcare plan -- applying the Medicare payroll tax not just to wages but to capital gains, dividends and other forms of unearned income....Continue Reading

"Obama Pledges Aid to Haiti"
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama on Thursday promised $100 million along with more American troops for the relief effort in Haiti, vowing that the United States would stand with the impoverished nation as it grappled with the devastation of its capital city...Continue Reading

 

On the Radar: January 15, 2010

"Unions Cut Special Deal on Health Taxes"
By Laura Meckler & Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Democratic negotiators acceded to union demands for a scaled-back tax on high-end health-insurance plans, exempting union contracts from the tax until 2018, five years beyond the start date for other workers.....Continue Reading.

Jan 20, 2010

On the Radar: January 19, 2010

"Blogging the Massachusetts Senate Race"
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
As Senator-elect Scott Brown gives his victory speech, supporters in the crowd shout “41, 41,” alluding to his vow to add his vote in the Senate to those in the Republican minority who want to thwart the Senate Democrats’ ability to avoid a filibuster on health care legislation.....Continue Reading

"Women ponder Mass. glass ceiling"
By Jeanne Cummings & Erika Lovley, POLITICO
Before the votes were even counted, her fellow Democrats had compiled a list of reasons why Martha Coakley had struggled: anemic retail politics, a blind-eye to shifting momentum and an inexplicable appearance on a sports talk radio show that led her to misidentify a Red Sox star....Continue Reading

"Senate election in Massachusetts could be harbinger for health-care reform"
By Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post
Democrat Martha Coakley's struggle to stave off a potentially devastating defeat in Tuesday's special Senate election in Massachusetts marks a critical turning point in the year-long debate about health-care reform. ...Continue Reading

"Obama's agenda is on the line in vote"
By Gloria Borger, CNN
The picture of the two former presidents -- George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- together in the cause of saving Haiti was one of those arresting images we had to notice. Not because we never see the former presidents together; we do. Sad to say, it's usually when they're reunited after a tragedy -- like a tsunami or an earthquake -- and want to be of service.... Continue Reading

Jan 30, 2010

On the Radar: January 20, 2010

"Supreme Court: Jury selection should be open"
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
The Supreme Court by a 7-2 vote Tuesday ruled that a criminal defendant's right to a public trial covers the process of jury selection......Continue Reading

"Obama Pressing for Protections Against Lenders "
By Jackie Calmes & Sewell Chan, The New York Times
President Obama on Tuesday stepped into the middle of a fierce lobbying battle by reinforcing his support for an independent agency to protect consumers against lending abuses that contributed to the financial crisis. The president’s move also signaled a tougher line and a more direct role as Congress weighs an overhaul of banking regulation.....Continue Reading

"Does Brown's Senate Win Mean the End of Health Reform?"
By Karen Tumulty, TIME Magazine
A little-known Republican state senator on Tuesday night pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in modern political history, potentially dealing a crippling blow to President Obama's agenda. As Scott Brown claimed victory in his bid to become the first GOP Senator to represent Massachusetts in nearly four decades, he told his ecstatic supporters that they had sent a message that is likely to shake Democrats across the nation at the onset of the congressional midterm election season...Continue Reading

"Obama's agenda is on the line in vote"
By Gloria Borger, CNN
The picture of the two former presidents -- George W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- together in the cause of saving Haiti was one of those arresting images we had to notice. Not because we never see the former presidents together; we do. Sad to say, it's usually when they're reunited after a tragedy -- like a tsunami or an earthquake -- and want to be of service.... Continue Reading

"Obama's first year: What went wrong"
By John F. Harris & Carol E. Lee, POLITICO
As the Obama administration marks its first birthday, there is no reason to shop around for the perfect present. What President Barack Obama needs most is obvious: a new political strategy — ideally one more grounded in the realities of governance than the one he embraced a year ago Wednesday...Continue Reading

"Democrats find themselves on wrong end of the politics of discontent"
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
President Obama and the Democrats rode a wave of anger aimed at the presidency of George W. Bush to victories in 2006 and 2008. Now, a year to the day after Obama was sworn into office, in a dramatic reversal of fortunes, populist anger has turned sharply against the president and his party....Continue Reading

On the Radar: January 21, 2010

"Obama to Propose Limits on Risks Taken by Banks"
By Jackie Calmes & Louis Uchitelle, The New York Times
President Obama on Thursday will publicly propose giving bank regulators the power to limit the size of the nation’s largest banks and the scope of their risk-taking activities, an administration official said late Wednesday...Continue Reading

"Mass Mutiny: How Scott Brown Shook the Political World"
By Karen Tumulty, TIME
As Scott Brown told the story the morning after the election, the first sign that something remarkable was about to happen in the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts was ... well, it was a sign. One with his name on it. Someone had made it by hand and planted it in the snow in a front yard near Lunenburg...Continue Reading

"Does Brown's Senate Win Mean the End of Health Reform?"
By Karen Tumulty, TIME Magazine
A little-known Republican state senator on Tuesday night pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in modern political history, potentially dealing a crippling blow to President Obama's agenda. As Scott Brown claimed victory in his bid to become the first GOP Senator to represent Massachusetts in nearly four decades, he told his ecstatic supporters that they had sent a message that is likely to shake Democrats across the nation at the onset of the congressional midterm election season...Continue Reading

"House Democrats reluctant to take up Senate health-care reform bill"
By Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
Determined to enact a health-care reform bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struggled Wednesday to sell the Senate version of the legislation to reluctant Democrats, even as party moderates raised doubts about forging ahead without bipartisan support.... Continue Reading

"Analysis: GOP sees Mass. win as stop sign for Dems"
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
Reeling from the loss of a long-held Massachusetts Senate seat, Democrats are rethinking the lessons of Barack Obama's 2008 election, with the GOP cheerfully suggesting they scale back their ambitions and agenda...Continue Reading

"Political Fallout From the Supreme Court Ruling"
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Even before their Massachusetts victory this week, Republicans enjoyed a multitude of advantages in this year’s midterm elections. The Supreme Court has most likely just delivered one more: money....Continue Reading

On the Radar: January 22, 2010

"With Populist Stance, Obama Takes On Banks "
By Jackie Calmes , The New York Times
The tougher approach to financial regulation that President Obama outlined on Thursday reflected a changed political climate, the rebound in big banks’ fortunes after their taxpayer bailout and a shift in power within the administration away from those who had been seen as most sympathetic to Wall Street...Continue Reading

"What Democrats can learn from health debacle"
By Jeanne Cummings, POLITICO
As Democrats try to figure out what to do about health care, they should also pause and rethink their approach to reforming financial regulations. If they don’t, they could wind up making the same mistakes and doubling-down on their political troubles...Continue Reading

"Assessing Obama's promises of jobs in a hub of manufacturing"
By Michael Fletcher, The Washington Post
The last time Barack Obama came to this struggling blue-collar city was during the 2008 presidential primary campaign, when he told workers at the National Gypsum drywall factory that if elected he would pursue a "job-creation agenda." ...Continue Reading

"Justice Stevens bemoans changed court"
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
When liberal Justice John Paul Stevens dissented Thursday as the Supreme Court permitted new corporate spending in elections, he invoked the names of influential and long-gone justices.... Continue Reading

On the Radar: January 25, 2010

"Obama calls on campaign architect after lousy week"
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
A one-two punch of bad news suddenly has Democrats facing an election year with campaign finance rules that favor Republicans and a Senate that can block Democratic initiatives. And President Barack Obama called on the leader of his winning 2008 campaign to help....Continue Reading

"Obama Moves to Centralize Control Over Party Strategy"
By Jeff Zeleny & Peter Baker, The New York Times
President Obama is reconstituting the team that helped him win the White House to counter Republican challenges in the midterm elections and recalibrate after political setbacks that have narrowed his legislative ambitions....Continue Reading

"Obama goes populist as Democrats lick their wounds"
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
The populist drumbeat emanating from the White House is a predictable reaction to the shellacking Democrats took in Massachusetts last week and the drop that began some months ago in President Obama's poll numbers. It is at best a partial answer to what ails the president and Democrats in Congress...Continue Reading

"Independents are calling the electoral shots"
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 by assembling a broad coalition of Democrats and independents, but since the summer, independents have been deserting Obama's cause, and not only in Massachusetts... Continue Reading

On the Radar: January 26, 2010

"Obama to Seek Spending Freeze to Trim Deficits "
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
President Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit, administration officials said Monday...Continue Reading

"Valerie Jarrett: 'Business is really not a partisan issue'"
By John F. Harris & Eamon Javers POLITICO
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett vowed that President Barack Obama will keep up his aggressive outreach to the business community, even as the president steps up his attacks against irresponsible players on Wall Street and in the insurance industry...Continue Reading

"Bernanke rallies more Senate votes for confirmation"
By Neil Irwin and Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
Ben S. Bernanke's confirmation for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman appeared to be back on track Monday, as more senators indicated that they will support him when a vote is held in the days ahead...Continue Reading

"Obama to seek spending freeze, more aid to middle class"
By Christi Parsons and Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington - Moving to address rising voter anger over federal deficits and the tattered shape of their own pocketbooks, President Obama will propose a freeze on non-defense-related federal spending as well as expanded aid to middle-class families in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, White House aides said Monday...Continue Reading

On the Radar: January 27, 2010

"Triangulation makes a comeback"
By Eamon Javers, POLITICO
President Barack Obama’s proposal to cap certain government spending in his 2011 federal budget immediately brought an old term back into the Washington conversation: triangulation....Continue Reading

"Health Care: Running Out of Options"
By Karen Tumulty, TIME
After looking at all their other options--drafting a smaller health care bill, or passing the most popular parts piecemeal--Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have come down to the realization that they've got one play left on health care: Get the House to pass the Senate bill, with the assurance of a set of revisions to be included in a companion measure passed under the budget reconciliation process, to circumvent the Senate's 60-vote majority requirement...Continue Reading

"Obama Speech Will Seek Reset With Spending, Tax Plans"
By Edwin Chen & Nicholas Johnston, Bloomberg.com
Barack Obama won the White House in part because he controlled the narrative of the campaign, a story line of change and possibility. As president, even supporters say he hasn’t projected a well-defined message, to his political cost...Continue Reading

"Obama's State of the Union address will focus on economy"
By Peter Nicholas & Christi Parsons
Reporting from Washington - With his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama aims to deliver a game-changing message, one capable of convincing Americans that his policies will create jobs, curb spending and restore prosperity...Continue Reading