December 2010

Dec 01, 2010

On The Radar: December 1, 2010

Nuclear Fuel Memos Expose Wary Dance With Pakistan
By Jane Perlez, David E Sanger and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times
Less than a month after President Obama testily assured reporters in 2009 that Pakistan’s nuclear materials “will remain out of militant hands,” his ambassador here sent a secret message to Washington suggesting that she remained deeply worried. Read more

Pentagon crafts 'don't ask' repeal to satisfy opponents
By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon Tuesday offered a carefully calibrated plan for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military that would allow the military to keep President Barack Obama's vow to end "don't ask, don't tell" while accommodating the substantial minority of troops who said repealing the ban would hurt their ability to fight wars. Read more

Meeting Expectations
By John Dickerson, SLATE
The president and Republican congressional leaders finally came together at the White House for their first meeting after the election. Afterwards, it was clear there was no thaw on the substantive disputes—they disagree even on what issues to discuss—but both sides tried to stay positive. "We had a very nice meeting today," said incoming House Speaker John Boehner. President Obama heralded "a new dialogue." It was dubbed the Slurpee Summit, and so it was: frozen and full of artificial coloring. Read more

After meeting, Obama and Republicans hopeful about a deal on Bush tax cuts
By Shailagh Murray and Perry Bacon Jr., The Washington Post
President Obama and congressional Republicans expressed determination Tuesday to reach an agreement on the tax cuts due to expire at year's end, raising the possibility of a compromise that could avert a tax increase for virtually every American worker. Read more

Commission's final deficit report preserves controversial spending cuts; panel to vote Friday on whether to endorse plan
By Lori Montgomery and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post
The leaders of President Obama's fiscal commission released a final report Wednesday that is full of political dynamite, recommending sharp cuts in military spending, a higher retirement age and reforms that could cost the average taxpayer an extra $1,700 a year. Read more

Deficit Commission Report Out
With Eamon Javers, CNBC
A presidential panel's revised plan to balance the US budget on Wednesday proposed deeper spending cuts than an earlier draft and a more modest tax code overhaul, seeking wider support among lawmakers. View

Deficit Commission's Final Plan Released
By Katy O'Donnell, Jim Tankersley and Clifford Marks, National Journal
Adding detail - but no fundamental policy shifts - to a draft plan floated last month by its chairmen, President Obama’s fiscal commission called this morning for "America’s leaders to put up or shut up" and adopt a massive overhaul of taxation, government spending and the social safety net, in order to reduce the nation's mounting national debt. Read more

Delaying Vote, Debt Panel Splits on Taxes and Spending
By Jackie Calmes and Peter Baker, The New York Times 
The chairmen of President Obama’s debt-reduction commission have been unable to win support from any of the panel’s elected officials for their proposed spending cuts and tax increases, underscoring the reluctance of both parties to risk short-term political backlash in pursuit of the nation’s long-term fiscal health. Read more

Chairmanship Fight Provides Glimpses of GOP's Governing Priorities
By Major Garrett, National Journal
Senior House leadership aides describe the intensifying battle for chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee as a “jump ball” and the 76-year-old ranking Republican, Jerry Lewis of California, Tuesday jumped into the spending-cut debate with both sneakers. Read more

It's spending cuts vs. tax increases
By John Maggs, POLITICO
Partisanship has dogged President Barack Obama’s deficit commission from the start, and now it seems clear that Republican gains on Election Day could jeopardize the commission’s efforts to bring the issue before Congress. Read more

Blackwater Aimed to Hunt Pirates
By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times
Besieged by criminal inquiries and Congressional investigators, how could the world’s most controversial private security company drum up new business? By battling pirates on the high seas, of course. Read more

Sen. Murray to Head DSCC
By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
Sen. Patty Murray (D.,Wash.), fresh off the toughest re-election campaign of her career, has agreed to be chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the next campaign cycle. Read more



Dec 02, 2010

On the Radar: December 2, 2010

As Final Debt Plan is Released, Signs That the Fight Is Just Beginning
by Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
Members of President Obama’s debt-reduction commission indicated on Wednesday that they were split over their chairmen’s far-reaching plan for long-term spending cuts and tax increases, a development that... Read more

Big Hurdles to Jump to Keep Plan from Being DOA
by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
The sheer size of projected federal budget deficits, the rise of Republicans who campaigned on cutting spending and headlines from Europe are elevating the deficit on the public's and politicians' worry list. Read more

Presenting plan to cut deficit, commission members offer surprising compromises
by Lori Montgomery and Brady Denis, The Washington Post
Members of President Obama's bipartisan deficit commission expressed a surprising willingness Wednesday to compromise on issues that have long divided Republicans and Democrats, including raising taxes and cutting Social Security. Read more

Signs Point to Extending All Tax Cuts Temporarily
by John D. McKinnon and Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times
Republicans and Democrats Wednesday sat down to negotiate a compromise on extending Bush-era income tax cuts—an effort that could be the first step toward a deal this month that many strategists in both parties believe will temporarily extend current tax rates for all income levels. Read more

Will a taste of civility lead to bipartisanship?
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
After a campaign notable for invective and negativity, a modicum of civility has broken out in Washington this week. Is it a harbinger of genuine bipartisan cooperation ahead or an illusory moment before a quick return to partisan combat in the capital? Read more

Deficit panel struggles to agree
by John Maggs, POLITICO
Rep. Jeb Hensarling is against the $1 trillion in tax increases proposed by the co-chairmen of the president’s deficit-cutting commission. “Spending is the disease,” says the Texas Republican, and it won’t be cured by feeding the government with more revenue.  Read more



Dec 06, 2010

On the Radar: December 6, 2010

For Once, a Bipartisan Boost for Obama
by Peter Baker, The New York Times
In an era of deep partisan polarization, President Obama will open his mailbox on Monday to find at least one letter offering bipartisan support — and bipartisan advice. The letter is from five senators, two from each party and one independent; they praise Mr. Obama for his tough stance on Iran and urge him not to let up. Read more

Stop Playing Nice, Mr. President
by John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
Why liberals are increasingly frustrated with Obama's efforts at bipartisanship. Read more

For Obama, will it be Truman or Clinton?
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
In the weeks after his election two years ago, President Obama was often linked to two other presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Today, Democrats debate whether he should act more like Harry Truman or Bill Clinton to avoid becoming another Jimmy Carter. Read more

Remote Afghan Base Faces Non-stop Battle
by Martha Raddatz, ABC News
As one of 140 U.S. combat outposts and forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan, it comes under constant fire by unseen enemies. Read more

Delay in Korea Talks Is a Sign of U.S.-China Tension
by Michael Wines and David E. Sanger, The New York Times
President Obama and President Hu Jintao of China talked by telephone on Monday about North Korea, culminating 13 days of effort by the White House to persuade China’s leaders to discuss a crisis that many experts fear could escalate into military action. Read more

Hints of a Truce in Economic Battle
by John Harwood, The New York Times
The sounds of the lame-duck session of Congress represent more than two parties clashing over power and philosophy. They are also clashing over how to manage the shift from one economic era to another. But unusual as it seems from recent political history, those conflicts may now be leading toward a year-end truce. Read more

Be a budget-cutter too
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Several websites let you take your own whack at trimming the U.S. debt. Warning: It's painful. Read more

Watching Charlie Rangel fall: a painful experience
by David S. Broder, The Washington Post
This was a sad time for many of us watching Charlie Rangel receive the censure of his colleagues in the House of Representatives - not because of our disagreement with their judgment but simply because of who he is. Read more



Dec 07, 2010

On the Radar: December 7, 2010

Obama, GOP reach deal to extend tax breaks
By Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
President Obama and congressional Republicans have reached a tentative accord on a far-reaching economic package that would preserve George W. Bush administration tax breaks for families at all income levels for two years, extend emergency jobless benefits through 2011 and cut payroll taxes by 2 percent for every American worker through the end of next year. Read more

Tax deal suggests new path for Obama
By David M. Herszenhorn and Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
President Obama announced a tentative deal with Congressional Republicans on Monday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years as part of a package that would also keep benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed, cut payroll taxes for all workers for a year and take other steps to bolster the economy. Read more

Deal struck on tax package
By Jonathan Weisman, John D. McKinnon and Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama reached agreement Monday with Republican leaders in Congress on a broad tax package that would extend the Bush-era income tax cuts for two years, reduce worker payroll taxes for one year and give more favorable treatment to business investments. Read more

Middle Man
By John Dickerson, SLATE
President Obama could have worn a cape. Speaking to reporters about a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts and unemployment insurance, he offered a dire narrative of what might have been. Ideologues in both parties were locked in a dangerous game with no concern for the welfare of the American people. "Without a willingness to give on both sides, there's no reason to believe that this stalemate won't continue into next year," he said. A stalemate would mean a tax increase for everyone, and tax cuts for the hardest-hit would expire, along with unemployment benefits. Read more

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in sex case
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
Julian Assange, founder of the controversial WikiLeaks website, was arrested here Tuesday morning at the request of Swedish authorities who want to question him about allegations of sexual assault, Scotland Yard said. Read more

Deal adds to uncertainty, debt
By Edmund Andrews and Jim Tankersley, National Journal
The great suspense over the Bush tax cuts is almost over. But the great uncertainty, bemoaned by Republicans and business groups, is if anything greater than ever. Read more

Wikileaks' Julian Assange arrested in Britain for sex crimes
With Pierre Thomas, ABC News
The latest cable leak to anger U.S. authorities includes a list of installations vital to America's national security and interests. View

In tax deal with G.O.P., a portent for the next 2 years
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
For President Obama, this is what bipartisanship looks like in the new era: messy, combustible and painful, brought on under the threat of even more unpalatable consequences and yet still deferring the ultimate resolution for another day. Read more

Angry member groups shun U.S. Chamber of Commerce
By  Jeanne Commings, POLITICO
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is under fire from some local chambers over its hard-hitting $75 million ad campaign to elect a Republican House, with dozens of hometown groups distancing themselves from the effort and a handful even quitting the national group in protest. Read more

High court to hear Wal-Mart's appeal in sex bias suit
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
The Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear Wal-Mart's appeal in a civil rights class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of female workers at the nation's largest retailer. Read more

Wal-Mart sex bias case may be too big
With Pete Williams, NBC News
The Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear Wal-Mart's appeal in a civil rights class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of female workers at the nation's largest retailer. View

Elizabeth Edwards’s cancer spreads
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Elizabeth Edwards’s long battle with cancer has intensified, with the disease spreading to her liver and doctors advising against additional medical treatment, two family friends said Monday. Read

Dec 08, 2010

On the Radar: December 8, 2010

Obama struggles to keep Dems from killing tax cuts
By Stephen Ohlemacher and Charles Babington, Associated Press
President Barack Obama struggled Tuesday to prevent wholesale defections by fellow Democrats that could sink the tax deal he worked out with Republicans — angry opposition that could subject millions of Americans to a big holiday-season tax increase. Read more

Forced March
By John Dickerson, SLATE Magazine
President Obama rallies the base in two ways: by lifting them up, and lecturing them. An example of the first approach is his address last spring to House Democrats before the health care reform vote, when he talked of the common spark that led all of them to public service. Read more

Angry Democrats rebel against Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans
By Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
President Obama on Tuesday faced an uprising among angry Democrats who strongly opposed his deal with Republicans on tax cuts, opening a public rift that could prevent the White House from ending the year with a fresh dose of stimulus for the economy. Read more

Why Obama Can’t Shake Bush
By Ben Smith and John F. Harris, POLITICO
Tuesday’s deal to extend the deep 2001 tax cuts is the latest evidence of the remarkable durability of President George W. Bush’s policy legacy — one that constrains and confounds his successor at home and overseas even after two years in office. Read more

White House Confronts Liberal Rebellion Over Tax Deal
By Patrick O'Connor and Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
The White House launched an intensive campaign on Tuesday to sell members of its own party on the tax deal President Barack Obama cut with Republicans as angry Democrats blasted the package, calling it a capitulation to the GOP. Read more

Biden and GOP Leaders Helped Hammer Out Bipartisan Tax Accord
By Carl Hulse and Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
As a bipartisan group of Congressional tax writers opened widely watched negotiations last Wednesday over what to do about expiring tax cuts, a secret set of tax talks was taking place just steps off the Senate floor. Read more

More GOP Support for Arms Treaty
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
Another Republican senator signaled Tuesday that he may vote for the new arms control treaty with Russia if it comes up for a vote before the Senate adjourns for the year later this month. Read more

WikiLeaks Dodges Obstacles to Stay Online
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
If the enemies of WikiLeaks are hoping Tuesday's arrest of Julian Assange will bring an end to his organization's disclosure of government secrets, his attorney Mark Stephens is anxious to set them straight. Read more

BOP Traditionalists to Lead Panels
By Naftali Bendavid and Stephen Power, The Wall Street Journal
House Republican leaders cleared the way for two longtime traditionalist lawmakers to head powerful congressional committees over the objections of some tea-party and conservative activists. Read more



Dec 13, 2010

On the Radar: December 13, 2010

How He Ticks
By John Dickerson, SLATE
President Obama talks a lot. And he talks everywhere—The Tonight Show, The View, the United Nations. At this rate, if re-elected, he'll be appearing at Shoney's for the Sapersons' anniversary in December 2016. But what moments really stick out? This week, there was one: At his news conference Tuesday, Obama talked about compromise. He was urgent, candid, and wide-ranging.
Read more

Romancing the swing vote
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Much of the noise in Washington last week came from liberal Democrats furious that President Obama made a deal with Republicans to extend tax cuts for wealthy Americans. The liberals' anger was understandable; they weren't even in the room when the deal was made. Read more

Tax Deal Set to Pass Senate
By John D. McKinnon and Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
Democrats are predicting that a much-debated tax agreement will clear a crucial hurdle comfortably in the Senate on Monday, with a margin that they hope will add momentum to the deal in the House. Read more

Senate to Hold Procedural Vote on Tax Bill as Hoyer Predicts House Passage
By Richard Rubin and Lisa Lerer, Bloomberg
The U.S. Senate is set to hold a procedural vote on an $858 billion tax-cut compromise between President Barack Obama and Republicans as a top House Democrat predicted Congress will pass the measure. Read more

Lawmakers predict Senate passage for tax package
By Shailagh Murray, The Washington Post
The Senate will hold a key test vote Monday on the tax package President Obama negotiated with Republicans to prevent rate increases from hitting most American workers starting Jan. 1.  Read more

Pelosi Walks Tax-Deal Tightrope
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is walking a perilous path in the debate over President Barack Obama's tax plan, letting angry Democrats vent their frustration while also preserving the plan's chance of passage. Read more

Steele to Announce Decision on R.N.C. Run
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
The battle for control of the Republican National Committee will take a new turn on Monday when Michael Steele announces whether he plans to step down as party chairman or will disregard the onslaught of criticism about his oversight of the committee and seek a second term. Read more

Rep. Ron Paul, G.O.P. Loner, Comes In From Cold
By Kate Zernike, The New York Times
As virtually all of Washington was declaring WikiLeaks’s disclosures of secret diplomatic cables an act of treason, Representative Ron Paul was applauding the organization for exposing the United States’ “delusional foreign policy.” Read more

No Regrets for Summers in Farewell Speech
By Jim Tankersley, National Journal
An unapologetic Larry Summers used his final speech as the head of the White House National Economic Council to press the case for more government action to stimulate consumer demand, starting with—but not limited to—the tax compromise between President Obama and Republicans. Read more

Dec 20, 2010

On the Radar: December 20, 2010

President Obama 2.0: Becoming 'CEO of America'
By John Harris and James Hohmann, POLITICO
Six weeks of lame-duck legislating should be more than enough to convince President Barack Obama that two more years of this would be a drag. Read more

Obama has strong first-half finish
By Paul West, Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington — President Obama is ending the first half of his term the same way he began it — with a storm of activity of impressive, even historic, dimensions. But he may look back on these two often frustrating years as the easy ones. Read more

Go Big and Go Home
By Susan Davis, National Journal
In its waning days, the 111th Congress has taken on a Dickensian quality for Democrats. They presided over one of the most consequential sessions in modern history. They aimed high and hit their targets more often than not—then voters sent them packing. Especially for Democrats in the House, it has been the best of times and the worst of times.  Read more

Dream Act Fails in Senate
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
The Senate on Saturday refused to advance a bill aimed at helping the children of illegal immigrants gain legal status, dealing the measure a likely death blow for the foreseeable future. Read more

Democrats Scramble to Save Votes to Ratify Nuclear Pact
By Peter Baker, The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session. Read more

In Focus: DREAM and DADT Senate Votes
With John Dickerson, CBS News
Analysis of the recent Senate votes on the DREAM Act and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," as well as the rest of this week of politics in focus. View

With Major Bills Passed, Reid Takes a Victory Lap
By John Harwood, The New York Times
To say that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gets underestimated is itself an understatement. Read more

News Hub: Oil-Price Spike Threatens Recovery
With David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
Analysis of the threat that soaring oil and gas prices pose to the U.S. economic recovery. View

New population count may complicate Obama 2012 bid
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month's devastating elections. Read more

Biden Says Al Qaeda in Pakistan Is Weaker
By Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper, The New York Times
In the view of American spy agencies, Osama bin Laden and a dwindling cadre of Al Qaeda operatives hiding in Pakistan no longer “have the capacity” to carry out a terror plot similar to the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Sunday. Read more

The war's real report card
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration's year-end review of its strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, released last week, was intended to be cautiously reassuring: Yes, there are challenges, but military progress is being made. Overall, President Obama said, "We are on track to achieve our goals." Read more

Monitoring America
By Dana Priest and William Arkin, The Washington Post
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. Read more