March 2011

Mar 01, 2011

On the Radar: March 1, 2011

U.S. moves ships, aircraft as Libya fighting rages
By Nancy A. Youssef, Jonathan S. Landay, and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers
Moammar Gadhafi came under intensified international pressure Monday to halt attacks on anti-regime protesters, with the Pentagon dispatching ships and aircraft to the Mediterranean Sea and the Treasury Department freezing a record $30 billion in assets tied to the embattled dictator and his family. Read more 

U.S. Freezes a Record $30 Billion in Libyan Assets
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times 
The United States has blocked $30 billion in Libyan government assets since President Obama announced his executive order late Friday night imposing unilateral sanctions against Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi and his family, the Treasury Department said Monday. It is the largest amount of foreign assets ever seized in an American sanctions action.  Read more

In U.S.-Libya Nuclear Deal, a Qaddafi Threat Faded Away
By David E. Sanger, The New York Times
In late 2009 the Obama administration was leaning on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his son, Seif, to allow the removal from Libya of the remnants of the country’s nuclear weapons program: casks of highly enriched uranium. Read more

U.S. Moves Military Near Libya, Says Qaddafi Delusional
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Viola Gienger, Bloomberg
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Pentagon is positioning military units near Libya to support humanitarian relief efforts, while the U.S. Treasury announced the freeze of $30 billion in assets of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his family and the Libyan government. Read more

US Freezes $30 Billion in Libyan Assets: Treasury
By Eamon Javers, CNBC
The US government, which imposed tougher sanctions on the Libyan government on Friday, has so far blocked some $30 billion in cash and securities belonging to Libyan officials. Read more

Poll Shows Support for New Transportation Spending
By James A. Barnes, National Journal
Despite the recent assault by Republican governors on high-speed rail projects, a new survey by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and GOP pollster Bill McInturff for the Rockefeller Foundation argues that there is a bipartisan consensus for greater spending on transportation provided the government changes the ways it funds new projects. Read more

IMF Economists Weigh In on Current-Account Balances Debate
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
Olivier Blanchard, chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, sees a teachable moment in the running debate within the Group of 20 leading economies over dangers of large current-account surpluses and deficits, the broadest measures of nations’ trade balances. Read more

Obama Hosts Governors
With John Harwood, CNBC
The story behind President Obama's defense of the rights of public employees and his meeting today with governors from all 50 states. View

House to Vote on Budget Measure Aimed At Preventing Shutdown
By Brian Faler and Lisa Lerer, Bloomberg
The U.S. House plans to vote today on a budget measure aimed at preventing a government shutdown while lawmakers debate spending levels for the rest of this fiscal year. Read more

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says
By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post
A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday. Read more

Dueling Reports: Will GOP Spending Cuts Help or Hurt?
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Democrats and Republicans are fighting over whether the GOP plan to cut $61 billion in federal spending in the current fiscal year will badly damage the economy or give it a huge boost. Read more

Poll shows support for organized labor
By Brian Montopoli, CBS News
As debate rages in Wisconsin and other states over limiting the power of unions, a new CBS News/New York Times survey finds that many Americans are siding with organized labor. Read more

Poll: Blame for possible government shutdown is divided
By Jon Cohen and Paul Kane, The Washington Post
Americans are divided over who would be to blame for a potential government shutdown, with large numbers saying Republicans and President Obama are playing politics with the issue, according to a new Washington Post poll. Read more

Obama offers states more flexibility in health-care law
By Amy Goldstein and Dan Balz, The Washington Post
President Obama sought to defuse criticism of the new health-care overhaul Monday by saying he is willing to give states an earlier opportunity to opt out of certain key requirements - but only if they can find their own ways to accomplish the law's goals. Read more

'Dynamic' duo of Kagan, Sotomayor add vigor to court
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
After each Supreme Court appointment in recent years, the arguments before the justices have gotten more energetic and forceful. Now, the two newest justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, are changing that dynamic even further — and offering a glimpse of how they could reshape the court's liberal wing. Read more

Mar 07, 2011

On the Radar: March 7, 2011

After loss, rebels tell of their setback against Gadhafi's superior arms
By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
RAS LANOUF, Libya — Ibrahim Mohammed, 35, returned from fighting in the eastern Libyan city of Ben Jawad, convinced that he and his fellow ragtag forces had easily moved the rebels one city closer to the capital and to victory. Relieved, he jumped into his truck and drove 25 miles back from the frontline. Read more

To Quiet Critics, Romney Puts 2012 Focus on Jobs
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
As Mitt Romney travels the country lining up contributors and influential Republicans for a second presidential bid, he is presenting himself as a ready-to-lead executive, gambling that a fluency in economic matters distinguishes him from other candidates and can help overcome concerns about authenticity that dogged his first race. Read More

Spending Showdown in DC
With John Harwood, CNBC
The budget is the top of the week on Capitol Hill. View

Republicans looking for the anti-Romney
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
President Obama launched a vicious, underhanded attack on one of the leading contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination last month: He praised former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for launching a state-administered healthcare plan. Read more

Obama, Jeb Bush make strange bedfellows at Florida school event
By James Oliphant and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
President Obama on Friday celebrated a South Florida experimental school project with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is blamed by many teachers in this state for threatening their jobs. Read more

Romney, novice no more, focuses on Obama, economy
By Liz Sidoti, Associated Press
This time, Mitt Romney has a clear pitch: I'm the strongest Republican to challenge President Barack Obama on the country's single biggest issue — the economy. Read more

Mar 09, 2011

On the Radar: March 9, 2011

David Broder's Remarkable Life and Career
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
On the night before the 2008 New Hampshire primary, a few Washington Post reporters gathered for dinner in Manchester to pay tribute to our colleague David Broder for his almost half-century of covering presidential contests in the Granite State. We all knew it might be the last primary he would ever cover there.  Read more

Statements on the Death of David Broder from his family and the White House
Read more

David Broder dies; Pulitzer-winning Washington Post political columnist and Washington Week regular
Read more

Watch the full episode. See more Washington Week.

Mar 15, 2011

On the Radar: March 15, 2011

Japan Faces Potential Nuclear Disaster as Radiation Levels Rise
By Hiroko Tabuchi, David E. Sanger and Keith Bradsher, The New York Times
Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday after an explosion damaged the vessel containing the nuclear core at one reactor and a fire at another spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to the statements of Japanese government and industry officials. Read more

Will Japan's Disaster Hurt The Global Economy?
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
The attacks on Sept. 11 prompted analysts to ponder this question: How bad does a disaster have to be for it to bring down a country's whole economy? Listen and read more

The Safety of Nuclear Power
With Martha Raddatz, ABC News 
What could happen at the damaged Japanese reactors? View

Spending Bill Breeds Dissent in GOP Ranks
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Several Republicans say they will oppose the three-week spending bill House GOP leaders are offering Tuesday to avert a government shutdown, raising the pressure on both parties to reach a long-term spending deal. Read more

Video: What’s Ahead for President Obama
By Jackie Calmes and John Harwood, The New York Times
Reporters with The New York Times look at gun control, the federal budget and other issues on President Obama’s policy agenda this week. View and Read more

Bernanke Recasts His Language on Inflation
By Sudeep Reddy and Michael S Derby, The Wall Street Journal
As gasoline prices surge, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is changing his tune when discussing inflation in public—in part to avert criticism that central bankers are out of touch with consumers. Read more

Petraeus Predicts Intensified Conflict in Afghanistan in Coming Months
By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal
The United States has reversed the Taliban's battlefield momentum in broad swaths of Afghanistan, but the war there will intensify in coming months as militants mount new attacks and seek to reestablish safe havens across the country, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Kabul, told lawmakers on Tuesday. Read more

Obama's team seeks new ways to fire up his base
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
Barack Obama rode a wave of voter passion in 2008 fed largely by intense dislike of President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, plus excitement among young and minority voters at the notion of electing the nation's first black president. Read more

Poll: Budget impasse cements public’s disapproval of Washington
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post
The early battles in Washington this year have cemented the public’s disapproval of the political system and the country’s leadership, with confidence in congressional Republicans sagging and majorities disapproving of how President Obama is handling top domestic issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.Read more

Palin 'becoming Al Sharpton'?
By Jonathan Martin and John F. Harris, POLITICO
Sarah Palin has played the sexism card, accusing critics of chauvinism against a strong woman. She has played the class card, dismissing the Bush family as “blue bloods” and complaining that she is the target of snobbery by people who dislike her simply because she is “not so hoity-toity.” Read more

NYT journalist David Brooks: "Social Animal"?
With John Dickerson, CBS News
New York Times' columnist David Brooks, author of "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement." Brooks takes his experience reporting on events like the fall of the Soviet Union and the economic crisis to explain the unconscious and human interactions in this new book. View

Mar 16, 2011

On the Radar: March 16, 2011

U.S. Calls Radiation ‘Extremely High’ and Urges Deeper Caution in Japan
By David E. Sanger and Matthew L Wald, The New York Times
The chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave a significantly bleaker appraisal of threat posed by the Japanese nuclear crisis than the Japanese government, saying on Wednesday that the damage at one crippled reactor was much more serious than Japanese officials had acknowledged and advising to Americans to evacuate a wider area around the plant than ordered by the Japanese government. Read more

Chu Says Japan Crisis May Top Three Mile Island
By Coral Davenport, National Journal
Energy Secretary Steven Chu told Congress that the explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant “actually appear to be more serious than Three Mile Island,” referring to the 1979 meltdown near Harrisburg, Pa., that led to a three-decade freeze on nuclear-plant construction in the U.S. Read more

Citigroup Tops List of Banks Who Received Federal Aid
By Eamon Javers, CNBC
Now it can be told: The bank that exposed the federal government to the greatest potential loss during the government bailout was Citigroup, which received a grand total of $476.2 billion in cash and guarantees, according to a new report of the Congressional Oversight Panel which oversees the TARP program. Read more

Japan Quake Could Put Long-Term Pressure on Yen
With David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
The earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan could reduce the yen's value over the long term, says economist Barry Eichengreen. He talks with WSJ's David Wessel about the post-earthquake outlook for Japan's economy. View

Nuclear Crisis in Japan
With Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Engineers struggle to get reactors cooled down and under control. View

Shutdown Looms Again As Real Budget Nears
By Major Garrett, National Journal
House Republicans have been winning the dollar debate but are dissatisfied with piecemeal victories. Senate Democrats have been retreating in billion-dollar increments and now want to battle over the big picture. The collision and a spring federal government shutdown—possibly lasting weeks—appear more likely than ever.Read more

House Approves Spending Cuts
By Naftali Bendavid and Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal
The House approved a stopgap bill Tuesday to keep the government funded for three additional weeks. But the 271-158 vote revealed splits in both parties and suggested that reaching a longer-term deal remained difficult. Read more

Mar 21, 2011

On the Radar: March 21, 2011

Obama Takes Hard Line With Libya After Shift by Clinton
By Helene Cooper and Steve Lee Myers, The New York Times
In a Paris hotel room on Monday night, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton found herself juggling the inconsistencies of American foreign policy in a turbulent Middle East. She criticized the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates for sending troops to quash protests in Bahrain even as she pressed him to send planes to intervene in Libya. Read more

Airstrikes in Libya; Questions Back Home
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
President Obama’s decision to authorize military strikes against Libya exposed him to another set of political crosscurrents from right and left and further complicated his plan to keep his agenda focused on the domestic economy. Read more

Now that U.S., allies have attacked Libya, what are the goals?
By Mark Seibel, Nancy A. Youssef and Roy Gutman, McClatchy Newspapers
With U.S., British and French forces now fully engaged in attacking Moammar Gadhafi's military in Libya from the air and sea, and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff declaring that a no-fly zone is now in effect, the question becomes: How does this end? Read more

Target in Libya Is Clear; Intent Is Not
By Helene Cooper and David Sanger, The New York Times
All the deliberations over what military action to take against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya have failed to answer the most fundamental question: Is it merely to protect the Libyan population from the government, or is it intended to fulfill President Obama’s objective declared two weeks ago that Colonel Qaddafi “must leave”? Read more

International Support Precedes Obama’s Shift on Attacking Libya
By Nicole Gaouette and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg
President Barack Obama walked into the White House Situation Room on March 15, concerned that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was crushing his country’s rebellion and seeking ways to stop him from killing his people. Read more

Letting others lead in Libya
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
At first glance, it looks as if the Obama administration has executed a sudden turnabout in its attitude toward military intervention in Libya. Two weeks ago, U.S. officials were talking about all the reasons a no-fly zone was a bad idea; now, they're all for it. Read more

President Underscores Similarities With Brazilians, but Ignores One
By Alexei Barrionuevo and Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
From a visit to this city’s most infamous slum to a national address amid the gilded elegance of a celebrated theater, President Obama on Sunday sought to underscore the shared histories and futures of the United States and Brazil, reaching out to the people of one of the most racially diverse countries in the Americas. Read more

Taking a Long Look at Nuclear Safety
By Coral Davenport, National Journal
Among the most dramatic discrepancies between the U.S. and Japanese responses to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster were the evacuation zones. Read more

That Budget ‘Battle’? Only a Skirmish
By John Harwood, The New York Times
Think of Washington’s initial 2011 budget fights as spring training — for a season about to open in a hailstorm. Twice, Congress and the Obama White House have agreed on temporary spending bills that trim spending and keep the government open. Last week’s version averted a shutdown, at least until April 8. Read more

You Can't Be Serious
By John Dickerson, Slate
It's hard to take anyone seriously in politics these days. It's not that the politicians have gotten sillier—though an outbreak is always possible; it's that they talk about being serious so much, the word has lost all meaning. Read more


Mar 22, 2011

On the Radar: March 22, 2011

Making Sense of What's Happening in Libya
With Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Reports on the progress of coalition forces in Libya. View

During Gates's Visit, Russian Defense Minister Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire
By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal
In a stinging rebuke of U.S. policy in Libya, the Russian defense minister accused the U.S.-led coalition of killing Libyan civilians through errant air strikes and called for an immediate cease-fire on Tuesday. The comments drew a quick rebuke from visiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said the Russian criticism was based on "outright lies." Read more

Too Late and Too Weak: The Republican candidates pummel President Obama's Libyan strategy
By John Dickerson, Slate
The GOP's cartoon image of President Obama is that he's slow, indecisive, and deferential to foreigners, so there is much snickering in the Republican ranks over the president's Libya policy. He allowed the French—the French!—to lead the international campaign against Qaddafi. And inside the Obama administration, according to some reporting, it was the women in his foreign policy team who pushed for stronger action. Read more

Obama and Libya: Tell us how this ends
By Gloria Borger, CNN
The story of the Libyan intervention may pain some of the most ardent believers in the proposition that it is America's role to take the lead, all of the time, everywhere. But when the French and the British began the first sorties into Libyan airspace, it made an awful lot of sense: It's their neighborhood after all. And when the Arab League decided to support some kind of allied intervention, it seemed a powerful consensus was developing. Read more

Obama Vows to End Neglect of Latin America as Economies Mature
By Randy Woods and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg
President Barack Obama pledged to overcome past neglect and forge a stronger partnership with Latin America as the region’s economic progress boosts its importance to the U.S. Read more

Pawlenty readies 2012 presidential campaign
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty plunged into the contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination Monday with a Facebook announcement in which he championed limited government and declared, “We the people of the United States will take back our government.”Read more

Haley Barbour may try to rewrite the script for 2012 presidential race
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
Say you were a political party on the upswing, looking for the ideal candidate to defeat a president who had been elected on hope, change and the chance to make history. Read more

Ex-Governor of Minnesota Enters Race for President
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota became the first major Republican to enter the 2012 presidential race, announcing an exploratory committee on Monday that formalizes an ambition that has been steadily building for more than a year. Read more 

Mar 28, 2011

On the Radar: March 28, 2011

US Picking Up Tab for Libya?
By Martha Raddatz, ABC News
America may be handing off some of the responsibility of Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya to other nations, but it is clear America's service men and women will still be bearing a heavy load, and Americans will be picking up a great deal of the tab. Read more and view

The Middle Eastern Revolution’s Bloody Second Act
By Jim Sciutto, ABC News
The purity of the revolution is now officially gone,” a high-placed Arab source told me this weekend. We were speaking as the bombs began to drop on Libya, but he was making a wider point about the popular movements that have swept the region as a whole. After the euphoric peak in Cairo one month ago—a moment I witnessed with my own excitement and amazement after years covering the region—the revolutions have become less buoyant and more bloody, less myth and more cold reality. Read more

Opportunities and Perils for Obama in Military Action in Libya
By John Harwood, The New York Times
Politicians define themselves by choosing enemies, and exemplars. Suddenly, President Obama’s choices on Libya are reshaping his profile in unpredictable ways as he heads into the 2012 election season. Read more

Obama's nuanced call to arms in Libya
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration says the goals of its bombing campaign in Libya are crystal clear, but it has tied itself in knots trying to explain them. Read more

GOP appears poised to take on entitlements
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
If there's any place where tea partiers in Congress might hesitate to call for cuts in Social Security and Medicare to shrink the federal debt, Florida's retirement havens should top the list. Read more 

Social Security splinters Democrats in debate over reining in budget deficits
By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post
With momentum building to rein in record budget deficits, Democrats are sharply divided over whether to tackle popular but increasingly expensive safety-net programs for the elderly, particularly Social Security. Read more

Republicans to Propose Overhaul to Medicaid
By Corey Boles and Janet Hook , The Wall Street Journal
House Republicans are preparing to propose a major shake-up of the Medicaid health-care program for the poor, a first step in their drive to overhaul federal entitlements, according to a member of the House Budget Committee. Read more

West Wing briefing: World events reshape Obama’s agenda
By Perry Bacon Jr., The Washington Post
President Obama’s aides intended this year to be about building the foundation for his reelection campaign by working with Republicans on issues like education, reducing the partisanship in Washington and talking about the economy. Read more

GOP revamps state, local agendas
By Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
A new crop of Republican governors is leading a historic retrenchment in the reach of state and local government as they confront a once-in-a-lifetime budget crisis by reducing both spending and taxes. Read more

GOP presidential prospects court Iowa conservatives
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
In these preliminary stages of the contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Iowa conservatives have begun to flex their muscles and the candidates are responding. Read more

Women take case against Wal-Mart to highest court
By Joan Biskupic, USA Today
The women from Wal-Mart have told their stories of discrimination many times in the past decade. They have described how male workers with less seniority were promoted and paid more. They have talked of a culture of female stereotyping, of being called "Janie Qs" and told to wear cosmetics and "doll up." Read more


Mar 29, 2011

On the Radar: March 29, 2011

Obama Cites Limits of U.S. Role in Libya
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama defended the American-led military assault in Libya on Monday, saying it was in the national interest of the United States to stop a potential massacre that would have “stained the conscience of the world.” Read more

Obama justifies U.S. intervention in Libya
By Christi Parsons and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
President Obama told a skeptical American public that he ordered military action in Libya because circumstances allowed the U.S. and its allies to halt a humanitarian disaster, but he acknowledged that even a weakened Moammar Kadafi still may be a long way from leaving power.Read more

The Real Obama Doctrine
By John Dickerson, Slate
Immediately after President Obama spoke Monday night about the American mission in Libya, NBC aired a tribute to George Herbert Walker Bush. It was fitting, since Obama's speech had been a kind of tribute, too. Though the sweeping claims for American action at times made Obama sound like the more recent Bush president, the central message was the one associated with his father: prudence. Read more

NPR Reporters Analyze Obama's Speech
With Tom Gjelten and Mara Liasson, NPR
This evening, President Obama went to the National Defense University, here in Washington, to defend the U.S. military role in Libya. The president addressed a range of concerns including the cost of the operation and the overall scope of the mission. Mostly, he made a broad case that America had to act in Libya because it was the right thing to do. Listen

President Obama: Responsibility in Libya
With John Harwood, CNBC
Highlights from President Obama's address on Libya. View

Q&A: Orszag on Social Security Reform, Budget Battles, More
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
Peter Orszag served as White House budget director for President Barack Obama’s first two years in office and is now watching goings-on in Washington from a perch at Citigroup in New York. The Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel caught up with him this week, and talked to him about the latest budget battles. Read more

Walmart Discrimination Suit
With Pete Williams, NBC News