May 2013

May 28, 2013

Obama Keeps Distance From Torture Debate, At Least For Now

By Tom Gjelten, NPR

In his Thursday, President Obama discussed drone warfare and the Guantanamo detention camp. But a third controversial issue went largely unmentioned: the use of interrogation methods that are tantamount to torture.

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Can A Polarized America Help Obamacare?

By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

In America the Polarized, almost every issue is viewed through a partisan lens. The most recent trio of troubles to hit the White House--IRS, Benghazi, and DOJ--has elicited predictably partisan feelings. According to an ABC/Washington Post poll released this week, 74 percent of Republicans believe that the GOP-led investigation into the attacks on an American consulate in Libya is legitimate, while 71 percent of Democrats see this as nothing but political opportunism. A Pew poll finds that Republicans are paying much closer attention to all three of these issues than Democrats.

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May 24, 2013

IRS Official Lois Lerner Placed on Leave Amid Scandal

By Ed O’Keefe and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

The Internal Revenue Service official responsible for the office that targeted certain organizations seeking tax-exempt status was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, making her the second senior official to be disciplined in the wake of the scandal.

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Tea Party vs. Old Guard in GOP Senate Rift

By Charles Babington and Andrew Taylor, Associated Press

A long-simmering feud between establishment Republicans and tea partyers broke into full view, with Sen. John McCain accusing younger colleagues of overplaying their hands and tempting Democrats to change Senate rules that protect the minority party.

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Obama Bully Pulpit Bullied With Congress Probes Obscuring Agenda

By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

President Barack Obama renewed his oath of office in January vowing to use the bully pulpit to rally the American people around his second-term agenda.

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C.I.A. to Focus More on Spying, a Difficult Shift

By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

For more than seven years, Mike — a lean, chain-smoking officer at the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Virginia — has managed the agency’s deadly campaign of armed drone strikes. As the head of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, Mike wielded tremendous power in hundreds of decisions over who lived and died in far-off lands.

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Obama Puts Restrictions on Drone Program

By Christi Parsons and Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times

Reining back the aggressive counter-terrorism strategy he has embraced for five years, President Obama declared clear, public restrictions for the first time on using unmanned aircraft to kill terrorists, a shift likely to significantly reduce U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere.

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May 23, 2013

The IRS Hearings: Winners and Losers

By Ed O’Keefe and Aaron Blake, Washington Post

Everyone wants a piece of the Internal Revenue Service these days, which is why agency officials have been subjected to three congressional hearings over the past week.

So now that the dust has settled, who came out on top? Who didn’t?

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Analysis: In Any Scandal, Lying to Congress is Tough to Prove

By Joan Biskupic and Kim Dixon, Reuters

When embattled Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner was called before a congressional committee Wednesday, she declared that she had done nothing wrong - but said she did not intend to testify. Her defiance only turned up the heat from Republicans who have threatened to take her to court for misleading Congress.

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Ted Cruz's Path From George W. Bush Adviser to Immigration Reform Opponent

By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

In 2000, Ted Cruz was known as a Texas-raised, Harvard-trained domestic policy adviser to the George W. Bush campaign. Bush was a two-term governor from a border state who was determined to fix what he saw as a broken, inhumane immigration system.

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Poll: Most Back ‘Path to Citizenship,’ Setting Up Tough Choice for GOP Lawmakers

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, The Washington Post

Comprehensive immigration reform will now move to the Senate floor in June with solid overall support from the public. But a bare majority of Republican voters oppose a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Most of those against the idea say they won’t back congressional candidates who are supportive of the plan, highlighting conflicting pressures on GOP lawmakers as they consider the politics of their votes.

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Holder Acknowledges U.S. Citizens Killed In Drone Strikes

By Carrie Johnson, NPR

For the first time, the U.S. government has acknowledged killing four American citizens in lethal drone strikes far outside traditional battlefields, confirming information that had been widely known but has only recently been unclassified under orders of the president.

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