September 2011

Sep 01, 2011

On the Radar: September 1, 2011

Irene Sets Off a Storm Over Spending
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journalrricane Irene relief is becoming the focus of the first national spending debate since the debt and budget deal reached a month ago. Disaster relief, like war spending, is often less subject to partisanship than many other programs. It is that rare area where even some of the toughest budget hawks concede there is a federal role. Read more

GOP tax expert to help run debt-reduction ‘super committee’
By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post
A veteran Senate GOP tax expert with long experience working across the aisle was tapped Tuesday to help run a powerful new congressional debt-reduction committee, buoying hopes that the panel would produce a plan to tame borrowing. Read more

Obama Moves Jobs Speech After Skirmish With Boehner
By Helene Cooper and Jackie Calmes
Any hopes that a kinder, gentler bipartisan Washington would surface once Congress returns after Labor Day were summarily dashed on Wednesday when President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner clashed over, of all things, the date and time of the president’s much-awaited speech to the nation about his proposal to increase jobs and fix the economy. Read more

Obama, Boehner clash over timing of president's jobs speech
By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro, The Los Angeles Times
In a back-and-forth that raised familiar doubts about whether Democrats and Republicans can work together when Congress reconvenes next week, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner tangled anew Wednesday. But the issue wasn't budgets or debt. It was a date. Read more

Washington Money Politics
With Eamon Javers, CNBC
Is this going to be a stimulus package number 6, just more big government spending? Where are the private sector pro-growth solutions? Watch

Debt-ceiling debate’s negative implications for 2012 elections
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
The recently concluded debate over the nation’s debt ceiling was, without doubt, a messy process with a questionable outcome. But it was far more than that. According to a new analysis by one of the country’s leading pollsters, the standoff dealt a devastating body blow to public confidence in the economy and government that has powerful implications for the 2012 elections. Read More

Palin the procrastinator
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
Sarah Palin is giving indecision a bad name. Not only can't she decide whether to run for president, this week she even waffled over whether to keep a date to speak at a "tea party" rally in Iowa on Sunday, a Sarah-palooza her devotees have been organizing for weeks. Read more

Jon Huntsman unveils jobs plan in New Hampshire
By Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post
Lagging badly in the polls, GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. turned his attention to jobs Wednesday afternoon, unveiling a plan to jump-start the economy by revising the tax code, repealing financial regulations and opening up foreign markets. Read more

A Hero's Farewell for General David Petraeus
With Martha Raddatz, ABC News
A look back at the career of the man soldiers called, "King David." Watch

Are Pilots Too Rusty to Fly?
With Jim Sciutto, ABC News
The FAA reports that pilots may be losing the skill to handle emergencies. Watch
In Petraeus’s Retirement, the Twilight of the Celebrity General
By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal
When David Petraeus formally retired from the Army on Wednesday, it marked the end of more than just an acclaimed 37-year military career. Instead, it signaled a more far-reaching event: the twilight of the celebrity general. Read more


Sep 05, 2011

On the Radar: September 5, 2011

2012 presidential race begins in earnest this month for Obama and Republican slate
by Dan Balz, The Washington Post
For President Obama and the Republicans seeking to defeat him, the month of September will be the moment when the 2012 campaign takes shape, with the coming weeks offering a series of tests that will sharply define the choices in next year’s election and reveal more about the characters of those who seek to lead the country.  Read more

Mitt Romney's record in the 'real economy'
By Karen Tumulty and Jia Lynn Yang, The Washington Post
en Mitt Romney announces his job-creation plan in Nevada on Tuesday-- a move timed to coincide with President Obama’s proposal two days later-- he will be sending a message about far more than his policy positions. What Romney wants voters to see is who he is and what he has done. Read more

Republican Candidates Turn Attacks on One Another
by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Gov. Rick Perry is privately being coached to come across as more presidential — cautious in his comments, deliberate in defending his Texas record — while building on his fast start by trying to consolidate support across the Republican spectrum, from the Tea Party and evangelicals to the party establishment.  Read more

Partisan Fighting Carries Risks at Election Time
by John Harwood, The New York Times
President Obama’s renewed engagement with Congressional Republicans this week may seem all too familiar, but it comes with a darkly unpredictable component.  Read more

Tough economic climate as Obama seeks second term
by Charles Babington, Associated Press
President Barack Obama faces a long re-election campaign having all but given up on the economy rebounding in any meaningful way before November 2012. His own budget office predicts unemployment will stay at about 9 percent, a frightening number for any president seeking a second term.  Read more

'Top Secret America': A look at the military's Joint Special Operations
by Dana Priest and William B. Arkin, The Washington Post
The CIA’s armed drones and paramilitary forces have killed dozens of al-Qaeda leaders and thousands of its foot soldiers. But there is another mysterious organization that has killed even more of America’s enemies in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.  Read more

WikiLeaks Now Victim of Its Own Leak
by Tom Gjelten, NPR
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, once said his mission was not simply to divulge secrets, but to make sure the release of that information actually made a difference.  Read more

Obama to EPA: Withdraw Air-Quality Rule
by Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal
President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposed rule for ozone air-quality standards, citing the nation's wobbly economy.  Watch the video

McManus: The high cost of protecting America
by Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
There's no such thing as too much security. But there is such a thing as security that's too expensive.  Read more



Sep 06, 2011

On the Radar: September 6, 2011

Tough Economic Climate As Obama Seeks 2nd Term
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
President Barack Obama faces a long re-election campaign having all but given up on the economy rebounding in any meaningful way before November 2012. His own budget office predicts unemployment will stay at about 9 percent, a frightening number for any president seeking a second term. Read more

For Obama, A Familiar Labor Day Theme
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
Labor Day must seem like the movie “Groundhog Day” to President Obama. On Monday, for a third year he celebrated the holiday that honors workers with union members and their families in a political swing state, promising job-creation measures to reduce a 9 percent unemployment rate and calling on the Republican opposition to “put country before party.” Read more

Obama Ratings Sink To New Lows As Hope Fades
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post
Public pessimism about the direction of the country has jumped to its highest level in nearly three years, erasing the sense of hope that followed President Obama’s inauguration and pushing his approval ratings to a record low, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Read more

Romney And Huntsman Woo Independents In New Hampshire
By Major Garrett and Jackie Koszczuk, National Journal
Political primaries are usually all about the competing strategies candidates use to fire up the true believers in one political party or the other. But two candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012 — former governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman of Utah — see things differently. While Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry compete for red-meat Republican primary voters, Romney and Huntsman are serving up ideas cooked to a nice medium rare, in the hopes of winning over the famously independent and contrarian voters of New Hampshire. Read more

Obama Warns GOP In Advance Of Jobs Speech
By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
President Obama sent a warning shot across the bow of congressional Republicans in his Labor Day speech in Detroit this afternoon, pledging to hold them accountable publicly if they fail to support the job-creation plan he puts forth later this week. Read more

Sep 13, 2011

On the Radar: September 13, 2011

Rick Perry goes on defensive in Republican presidential debate
By Dan Balz and Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post
Texas Gov. Rick Perry found himself on the defensive in a Republican presidential debate here Monday night, pilloried for suggesting that states should take over Social Security, attacked for trying to mandate vaccinations for young girls and roundly criticized for immigration policies he has supported in his state. Read more

Debating the Obama Jobs Plan: Bernstein vs. Holtz-Eakin
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama’s latest set of proposals to get employers hiring more readily has stimulated one thing already: critiques, analyses and defenses of the strategy and its components. To get beyond the sound bites, The Wall Street Journal invited two Washington policy wonks, one a friend and the other a foe of the president, to examine the proposals. Read more

GOP foes seek cracks in Perry's record
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
Rick Perry's bid for the Republican presidential nomination will rise or fall on his 10-year record as Texas governor. In Monday's crackling GOP debate, his rivals attacked that record as never before, led by a newly energized Mitt Romney and hard-charging Michele Bachmann. Read more

Perry Becomes the Punching Bag in Florida Debate
By Major Garrett, National Journal
Republican front-runner Rick Perry backed up from his incendiary comments about the origins of Social Security. His closest rival, Mitt Romney, said he would nullify President Obama’s health care law that resembles the one he passed in Massachusetts. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a firebrand while in Congress, said President Obama “scares” Americans “every single day.” Read more

Is Rick Perry Making Mitt Romney a Better Candidate?
By Beth Reinhard and Alex Roarty, National Journal
Rick Perry has cost Mitt Romney his lead in the polls but made him a better candidate and, potentially, a more formidable nominee. Read more

Karl Rove clarifies Rick Perry critique
By John Harris, Politico
Social Security, which caused fireworks at last week’s Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library in California, is virtually certain to come up again when the candidates meet for another debate Monday night in Florida. Read more

Obama Offers Jobs Bill, and the G.O.P. Balks
By Helene Cooper and Jennifer Steinhuer, The New York Times
President Obama sent his jobs bill to Congress on Monday, urging lawmakers to put aside “political games” and pass the $447 billion plan meant to increase hiring as the government struggles to curtail persistent high unemployment. Read more

Johnson and Roosevelt Legacies at Stake in Fiscal Fight
By John Harwood, The New York Times
After helping President Lyndon B. Johnson pass his Great Society programs in the 1960s, Larry O’Brien gave his memoir a humble, and prescient, title: “No Final Victories.” Read more

GOP Balks at Taxes to Finance Jobs Plan
By Janet Hook and Carol E. Lee , The Wall Street Journal
The prospects for President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan grew dimmer Monday as he unveiled the fine print of how it would be paid for—primarily through tax increases that Republicans said would destroy jobs, not create them. Read more

Perry Is Target as Republican Candidates Take Aim
By Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker
The Republican presidential candidates aggressively confronted Gov. Rick Perry at a debate here on Monday night, and pressed him to explain his views on Social Security and his decade-long record in Texas, including an effort to require the vaccination of schoolgirls and granting children of illegal immigrants a college tuition break. Read more

My Peaceful City Had Been Transformed Into a War Zone
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
Events unfolded so quickly and so dramatically on the morning of September 11 that news organizations, including NPR, struggled to separate fact from rumor. We had to proceed cautiously and yet pass on the hard news as soon as we learned it. The behind-the-scenes story of our initial coverage of the attack on the Pentagon is a good example of what we faced that day. Read more

Hard Truths
By John Dickerson, Slate
Rick Perry served five years in the Air Force, and at his second presidential debate, he must have had flashbacks. He stalled, climbed, and clattered into a few hard landings. He was under fire from the left, right, and above. Ron Paul said Perry had raised taxes as governor of Texas. Mitt Romney said Perry wanted to end Social Security. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum repeatedly criticized Perry's decision to vaccinate young girls against HPV. After Perry peeled off into the clouds during an answer to a question on Afghanistan, GOP strategist Mike Murphy wrote on Twitter: "Listening to Perry try to a put a complicated policy sentence together is like watching a chimp play with a locked suitcase." Read more


Sep 14, 2011

On the Radar: September 14, 2011

In Ohio, Obama Emphasizes School Upgrades as Part of Jobs Proposal
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama took his jobs sales pitch to a high school in this politically crucial swing state on Tuesday, challenging Congress to act swiftly on his $447 billion proposal of tax cuts and stimulus projects to buck up the economy. Read more

Big Doings in D.C.
By John Harwood, CNBC
CNBC's John Harwood has the details on the special committee meeting in Washington today. View

A Sobering Economic Reminder From the Census Bureau
By Jim Tankersley, National Journal
It’s time for another episode of America’s least-favorite game show, “How Bad is the Economy, Really?” Today’s show is sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau. Its theme is “Worse Than You Thought, if You Can Fathom That.” The bureau’s annual report of income, poverty, and health care statistics, released on Tuesday, is stuffed with bleak news. Read more

CBO Director Delivers Tough Message to Deficit Panel
By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal
Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, spent much of Tuesday’s hearing of the deficit-cutting “supercommittee” telling lawmakers their job is harder than they thought. Read more

GOP Balks at Taxes to Finance Jobs Plan
By Janet Hook and Carol E. Lee, The Wall Street Journal
The prospects for President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan grew dimmer Monday as he unveiled the fine print of how it would be paid for—primarily through tax increases that Republicans said would destroy jobs, not create them. Read more

What Should Be Done to Combat Rising Poverty Rate?
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
The poverty rate clicked up again this year. WSJ's David Wessel, DJ Newswires' Neal Lipschutz and MarketWatch's David Callaway discuss on The News Hub whether the government needs to intervene to the rising number of Americans affected. Read more

Nearly one in six in poverty in the U.S.; children hit hard, Census says
By Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, a development that is ensnaring growing numbers of children and offering vivid proof of the recession’s devastating impact. Read more

Leading the Pack Brings New Perils, Perry Discovers
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
There is a good time to be a presidential front-runner. For Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, now is not that time. Read more

Obama Approval Plummets Among Americans Skeptical of Jobs Plan
By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg
A majority of Americans don’t believe President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan will help lower the unemployment rate, skepticism he must overcome as he presses Congress for action and positions himself for re- election. Read more

U.S. Embassy Attacked In Afghanistan
By Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Taliban forces launch brazen attack on American compound in Kabul. View

Baghdad's Green Zone a City of Gray
By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal
When the U.S. transferred control of Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone to the Iraqi government in January 2009, it was heralded as a turning point in Iraq’s halting recovery from years of war and occupation. Read more

Sep 15, 2011

On the Radar: September 15, 2011

As Obama Sells Jobs Bill in Ohio, It Slows on Capitol Hill
By Alexis Simendinger,
The surest bet on Capitol Hill Tuesday was that President Obama's jobs bill will not move at mach speed toward any signing ceremony this month. Maybe not in October, either. Read more

Assigning a Jobs Bill as Homework
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama turned up the rhetorical heat in his push for his jobs bill on Wednesday, declaring that the country is facing a “national emergency” that demands Congressional action on his $447 billion economic package. Read more

Touching the 'third rail'
By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times
Politicians talking about Social Security's problems isn't enough; offering specific plans to fix the program is what's needed. Read more

Obama Allies: Time to Wake Up
By Beth Reinhard, National Journal
Crushing defeats for the Democratic party in two special congressional elections on Tuesday, an economy that’s showing no signs of revival, and Obama’s declining approval ratings have become too much to defend, even for some of the party’s most zealous spin doctors. The president’s support is eroding across the board, and the coalition of liberals, minorities, young people, and labor that helped elect him in 2008 is fraying badly. Read more

GOP Ties House Wins to President's Woes
By Naftali Bendavid and Devlin Barrett, The Wall Street Journal
Decisive Republican wins Tuesday in two House races have Democrats increasingly worried they will face problems in the 2012 elections if the economy and President Barack Obama's job approval rating don't improve significantly. Read more

G.O.P. Sees Bellwether in Two Democratic Defeats
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
The Republican Party on Wednesday seized on the outcome of two special Congressional elections as fresh evidence that voters are souring on President Obama and are prepared to hold Democrats accountable for the rising level of voter dissatisfaction over the direction of the country. Read more

The Fed Considers Whether to Twist Again
By David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal
David Wessel on The News Hub looks at why the Fed is pondering another unusual maneuver: not printing more money to buy more U.S. Treasurys, as it did before, but instead shifting its $1.7 trillion treasury portfolio towards more long-term debt. View

Parties Clash Over Solar-Panel Maker
By Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal
Republican lawmakers and Obama administration officials clashed at a hearing Wednesday over the lawmakers' allegation that the White House pushed to accelerate a $535 million loan guarantee to a solar-panel company that filed for bankruptcy-law protection this month. Read more

Sep 16, 2011

On the Radar: September 16, 2011

Rick Perry Prides Himself on Telling Truths
By John Dickerson, Slate
Rick Perry speaks the truth. Just ask him. When Time questioned Perry about his "controversial rhetoric," including his claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme," he didn't shrink one bit. "There may be someone who is an established Republican who circulates in the cocktail circuit that would find some of my rhetoric to be inflammatory or what have you, but I'm really talking to the American citizen out there," he said. "I think American citizens are just tired of this political correctness and politicians who are tiptoeing around important issues. They want a decisive leader." Read more

Perry and ex-aide have deep, mutually beneficial ties
By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
Any insider at the Texas Capitol could have identified which aide-turned-lobbyist Rep. Michele Bachmann was talking about when she attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry over a 2007 executive order mandating that teenage girls receive a vaccination against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. Read more

The Florida Conundrum
By Beth Reinhard, National Journal
For nearly three decades, the Republican presidential nomination process unfolded in a predictable pattern: One candidate won Iowa, another won New Hampshire, and one of the two captured South Carolina—and became the nominee. Read more

Boehner Pushes Tax Overhaul
By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal
House Speaker John Boehner wants Congress's deficit-reduction committee to initiate a broad rewrite of the tax code that closes loopholes without adding new tax revenue. Read more

GOP Jobs Bill Unveiled
By John Harwood, CNBC
CNBC's John Harwood reports the details on the GOP's alternative jobs bill, and debating whether pro-growth tax reform legislation is needed, with Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Rep. Nan Hayworth, (R-NY). View

U.S. Now Relies On Alternate Afghan Supply Routes
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
Napoleon declared that "an army marches on its stomach," and Gen. Omar Bradley said, "amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics." Successful military commanders have long recognized that few requirements rank higher in wartime than the need to maintain reliable supply lines. Read more

EPA Again Delays Greenhouse-Gas Rule
By Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal
The Environmental Protection Agency is again delaying a plan to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, saying it needs more time to propose the rule. Read more

Michelle Obama hails restaurant chain's calorie-cutting
By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign scored a win Thursday when the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden signed on to cut calories and sodium in its menu items over the coming decade. Read more

Sep 19, 2011

On the Radar: September 19, 2011

Technology that protects protesters
By Doyle McManus, The Los Angeles Times
Early this year, as street protests began spreading across the Arab world, a young Internet expert from Germany, Katrin Verclas, asked Egyptian democracy activists what kind of technology they needed most. More laptop computers? Better access to the Web? Tools to evade censorship? Software to post videos? Read More

Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires
By Jackie Calmes, New York Times
President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials. Read more

Europe's Dilemma: More Integration Or Less?
By Tom Gjelten, NPR
European governments seem to be having a hard time deciding whether to come together or drift apart at a time of economic uncertainty. Read more and listen

Campaign Redux as Obama Pushes for Taxes on Rich
By John Harwood, New York Times
Four years ago this month, the candidate Barack Obama paused after a rally to reflect on his aspirations for economic change. His words still explain President Obama’s policies. Read more

Release of American Hikers Detained in Iran Stalled Again
By Jim Sciutto, ABC News
Thanks to a judge's vacation, two Americans jailed as spies in Iran will have to wait for freedom another two days, after being locked up for more than two years. Watch

For Obama, another September of discontent
By Dan Balz, Washington Post
It is September and Barack Obama is in trouble. His poll numbers are down, and there is unrest within his party and among his supporters. Some Democrats have begun to doubt whether his inner circle is up to the task. They are calling for changes — in Obama and his team. Read more

Humor's Healing Remedy: One Iraq War Veteran's Journey of Recovery
By Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Four years ago, Army 2nd Lt. Mark Little was in bad shape -- severely injured, with both legs ripped off by a roadside bomb, lying in a Baghdad combat hospital. Read more and watch

Obama to call for new minimum tax rate for millionaires
By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post
Republicans Sunday criticized President Obama’s plan to call for a new minimum tax rate on millionaires as “class warfare” that would do little to create new jobs and instead would hurt the small businesses that drive the economy. Read more

Obama to Offer Plan to Cut Deficit by Over $3 Trillion
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
President Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that uses entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, administration officials said. Read more

Republican Calls for a More Honest Debate
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Four months after he decided against jumping into the Republican presidential race, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana says that he has occasionally been frustrated by the discourse in the campaign and that the field could benefit from at least one more contender whose candidacy was rooted in a message of fiscal discipline. Read more


Sep 20, 2011

On the Radar: September 20, 2011

This Time He Really Means It
By John Dickerson, Slate
The grand bargain is back—and it's angry. President Obama put forward his long-term, $3.6 trillion deficit-reduction plan Monday, and it is patterned on the agreement he nearly reached last summer with his former golfing buddy John Boehner. But this time there was more punch to the plan. The president called for $1.5 trillion in revenue increases, which is $1.5 trillion more than Republicans want. Obama offered the GOP less on Medicare reductions than he had flirted with last summer, too. Read

Obama Draws New Hard Line on Long-Term Debt Reduction
By Jackie Calmes, The New York Times
With a scrappy unveiling of his formula to rein in the nation’s mounting debt, President Obama confirmed Monday that he had entered a new, more combative phase of his presidency, one likely to last until next year’s election as he battles for a second term. Read more

Who wants to tax a millionaire?
By Greg Ip, The Economist
THIS much can be said for the deficit plan that Barack Obama released today: at least it’s a plan. Mr Obama has spent the first two and a half years of his presidency talking grandly about the importance of getting the deficit down without ever laying out a credible plan for doing so, in the process ceding the initiative to Republicans. Read more

Obama Unveils Deficit Reduction Plan
With John Harwood, CNBC
President Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes Monday. View

Budget analysts say Obama deficit plan is likely to miss its targets
By Lori Montgomery and Jia Lynn Yang, Washington Post
President Obama projects that his new plan for reducing the federal debt will save more than $3 trillion over the next decade by raising taxes on the wealthy and slashing spending on a host of government programs, from farm subsidies to federal worker pensions. Read more

Obama to tout success of Libya policy at UN
By Christi Parsons and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
President Obama Tuesday launches a discussion about how the United Nations can support a democratic government in the newly liberated Libya with a key feature -- limited involvement by the U.S. Read more

Fed Weighs More Explicit Economic Goals
With David Wessel, the Wall Street Journal
What Fed officials may be discussing in their two-day meeting this week.

Obama turns fire on Republicans
By Dan Balz, The Washington Post
The deficit-reduction speech President Obama delivered from the Rose Garden on Monday underscores the sharp strategic pivot that he and his administration have made in the wake of the debt-ceiling negotiations. Read more

Rivals ask: Is Perry weak on the right, or left?
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
Rick Perry's Republican rivals are struggling to find a coherent, easy-to-grasp argument against the Texas governor, who tops GOP presidential polls despite attacks from all sides. Read more

U.S. Is Quietly Getting Ready for Syria Without Assad
By Helene Cooper, The New York Times
Increasingly convinced that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria will not be able to remain in power, the Obama administration has begun to make plans for American policy in the region after he exits. Read more

Author Ron Suskind defends White House tell-all book on ‘Today’
By Nia-Malika Henderson, the Washington Post
Ron Suskind, the author of a new White House tell-all that has the Obama administration in vigorous push-back mode, said Tuesday that his book is “densely sourced, and the analysis is pitch-perfect.” Read more

Sep 21, 2011

On the Radar: September 21, 2011

American Hikers Jailed in Iran Finally Set Fre
With Jim Sciutto, ABC News
Two American hikers held in an Iranian prison for over two years were set free today, ending a standoff among President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian judiciary over their release. A second Iranian judge who had already delayed their release twice signed their release order today and $500,000 each in bail was deposited. Watch

Obama Praises Libya’s Post-Qaddafi Leaders at U.N.
By Helene Cooper and Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times
President Obama on Tuesday extended to Libya’s transitional leader a diplomatic honor never offered his predecessor, meeting formally with Mustafa Abdel-Jalil at the United Nations and heralding the victory of Libyan rebels who brought an end to the 42-year reign of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Read more

U.N. Meetings Highlight Headwinds in U.S.-Turkish Relations
By James Kitfield, National Journal
At the United Nations this week, Obama administration officials are touting the dividends that have accrued from President Obama’s foreign policy of engagement and international consensus-building. Examples the White House cites include strong U.N. sanctions on Iran and North Korea, continued U.N. help in nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, a rare U.N. Security Council mandate to enforce the “right to protect” civilians in Libya, and strong international support for nonproliferation measures proposed by the United States. Frayed relations with various countries around the world, administration officials point out, have also been repaired. Read more

Disconnect Divides Washington, Baghdad Over Future U.S. Presence
By Yochi Dreazen, National Journal
Former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi is one of the most pro-American politicians in this country and has had a warm, decades-long relationship with the Pentagon and the CIA. He believes Iraq's security forces will be incapable of protecting the country without sustained foreign assistance. Read more

Obama: U.S. 'will not be deterred' by killing of Afghan leader
By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged Tuesday that the assassination of the head of the Afghanistan High Peace Council would not stop them from working toward a peaceful resolution to conflict in that country. Read more

Under Fire at Home, Obama Finds More Support on World Stage
By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
In the United States, confidence in President Obama’s leadership and policies may have taken some serious knocks since his inauguration, but America’s head of state frequently boasts that his presidency has revitalized the nation’s tarnished reputation and clout around the world. Read more

YouTube's Gay Soldier: 'Never Thought I'd Be So Comfortable'
With Martha Raddatz, ABC News
The young U.S. soldier who took the end of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to share his experience of coming out to his father via YouTube said he now feels comfortable. Read more

Sep 22, 2011

On the Radar: September 22, 2011

Take that, Congress
By Greg Ip, The Economist
In theory, central banks need independence to insulate them from meddling politicians’ demands for easy money. It is a sign of these strange, post-crisis times that the Federal Reserve is now fending off the opposite demand. Read more

Addressing Housing Troubles Will Speed a Slow Economy
By David Wessel, Wall Street Journal
There's not much the U.S. can do to prod Europe to clean up the sovereign debt and banking mess that threatens the global economy. Read more

Obama: Clark Kent or Superman?
By Gloria Borger, CNN
What did you do over your summer vacation? If you're President Obama, you've had a bit of a transformation. That is, from the mild-mannered Clark Kent into, well, Superman. Or something like that. Read more

With ‘Operation Twist,’ the Fed Rediscovers Half Its Job – to GOP's Chagrin
By Jim Tankersley, National Journal
The first two paragraphs of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve statement read like Edgar Allen Poe writing in the Financial Times. “Growth remains slow,” the nation’s central bankers write, with “continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions.” Investment is weak, the housing market is “depressed” and, cheeriest of all, “there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in global financial markets.” Read more

Can Mitt Romney bait Rick Perry on Social Security?
By Dan Balz, Washington Post
Mitt Romney won’t let go of Rick Perry and Social Security. A day before he will attend a Republican debate in Florida, the former Massachusetts governor tried to bait the current Texas governor. Campaigning in the Sunshine State, he laid out a list of questions he hopes that the moderators from Fox News will pose Thursday night. Romney may ask them himself if he gets the chance. Read more

Reaction to Obama's United Nations Speech
With John Harwood, CNBC
The president invested most of his energy in trying to deal with the Israeli/Palestinian issue and the challenge Palestinians have laid in front of him. He's getting criticism on the campaign trail about his commitment to Israel. View

Obama calls U.S. commitment to Israel's security 'unshakable'
By Christi Parsons and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from the United Nations— President Obama told world leaders Wednesday that the U.S. commitment to the security of Israel was "unshakable," winning rare praise from the Israeli prime minister and mending some frayed relations with a politically important domestic constituency. Read more

Obama Rebuffed as Palestinians Pursue U.N. Seat
By Helene Cooper and Steven Lee Myers, New York Times
A last-ditch American effort to head off a Palestinian bid for membership in the United Nations faltered. President Obama tried to qualify his own call, just a year ago, for a Palestinian state. And President Nicolas Sarkozy of France stepped forcefully into the void, with a proposal that pointedly repudiated Mr. Obama’s approach. Read more

Budget Vote Surprises GOP Leaders
By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal
Dozens of House Republicans broke from their party leaders and joined Democrats to reject a short-term spending bill Wednesday, signaling trouble ahead for House Speaker John Boehner from his rank and file. Republicans voting against the bill—which is needed to fund government operations starting Oct. 1—demanded less spending, while most Democrats were upset at what they called insufficient disaster aid in the measure. Read more

Sep 23, 2011

On the Radar: September 23, 2011

House Republicans Regrouping on CR, Pondering Two Options
By Susan Davis and Major Garrett, National Journal
House Republicans will meet on Thursday afternoon to discuss their options to move forward on a short-term bill to fund the federal government that their party failed to pass a day earlier. Read more

Boehner Reckons With GOP Revolt
By Naftali Bendavid and Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal
House Speaker John Boehner took power in January promising a freewheeling and open style, rejecting the iron-fisted tactics used by earlier speakers. The embarrassing defeat of a routine spending bill this week that must be passed to avoid a government shutdown brought home the cost of his approach. Read more

Analysis: Perry, Romney defend records in forum
By Charles Babington, Associated Press
Rick Perry and Mitt Romney struggled with a simple reality in the latest GOP debate: Americans elect only experienced politicians as president, and Republicans nominate only proven conservatives. Read More

Pity the 'Super Committee'
By Doyle McManus, Los Angles Times
Pity the poor "super committee." Congress' special task force on the deficit already had a mission that looked nearly impossible: producing a plan to reduce the federal government's fiscal gap by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. And then the job got harder. Read more

The Trojan Horse?
By Yochi Dreazen, National Journal
Tens of thousands of followers of influential Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr flooded the streets of Baghdad, Najaf, and Basra last week for some of the largest public rallies in several years. At one point, they might have been demonstrating—even fighting—against the United States as part of the Sadr-led uprising that made the young man’s name. But these protests weren’t about the U.S. presence. Instead, they focused on a different target: the government of Iraq itself. Read more

Rick Perry, Mitt Romney spar in Republican presidental debate
By Dan Balz and Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tangled over Social Security, health care and other issues here Thursday in a debate in which the Republican presidential candidates sharply criticized the policies of President Obama and joined in an assault on the federal government. Read more

Rick Rolled
By John Dickerson, Slate
The Republican presidential debate in Orlando was sponsored by Google, but it was Gov. Rick Perry who was searching. The frontrunner's answers meandered. When fielding a hypothetical question about terrorists getting nukes in Pakistan, his response ribboned out like he was reading the first search results to come up. Even when he read his attack lines on rival Mitt Romney from the notes on his lectern, it was muddy. This was Perry's third debate this campaign; with each successive one, his performance gets worse. Read more

Perry and Romney Come Out Swinging at Each Other in G.O.P. Debate
By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
In their third debate in as many weeks, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas engaged in a sometimes heated back and forth over immigration, health care and entitlements, their rivalry dominating a stage that included seven other candidates struggling to catch up in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Read more

Advantage, Romney?
By Beth Reinhard, National Journal
More pivotal to the outcome of the GOP presidential race than Rick Perry’s position on Social Security or Mitt Romney’s record on health care reform may be a procedural matter imperceptible to most voters—the 2012 primary calendar. Read more

Mullen: Pakistan’s Spy Agency Supported Attacks on Americans
By Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Before today, never has a U.S. official so bluntly and publicly linked the government of Pakistan to attacks on American troops in Afghanistan. Today on the Hill, Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence Agency [ISI] supported a group of terrorists who carried out two recent attacks on U.S. targets in Afghanistan, becoming the first U.S. official to so directly accuse Pakistan of supporting terrorism against the U.S. Read more

Three Leaders and the Third Rail of Foreign Affairs
By James Kitfield, National Journal
There are reasons why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains among the most enduring in international affairs, and many of them were on display this week as world leaders gathered at the United Nations to contemplate a vote on Palestinian statehood. The three key players arrived in New York already boxed in by their personal histories of distrust, and by powerful domestic constituencies. Read more