White House

The lamest of lame ducks

Congressional lame-duck sessions are notoriously unproductive and this one is no exception.

The Democratic leadership came back after the election with three goals — a bailout for the auto industry, a second economic stimulus package and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Only the relatively uncontroversial granting of a three-month extension of the benefits passed as Congress was leaving town for Thanksgiving recess. Despite some White House grumbling, President Bush signed the measure as he was leaving for Peru.

Texas grand jury indicts Cheney, Gonzalez

A Texas grand jury has issued indictments against Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney general Alberto Gonzalez over abuse at privately run prisons, court documents showed.

The three-page indictment Tuesday alleges that Cheney profited from the abuse because he invested 85 million dollars in a mutual fund company which holds shares of for-profit prisons.

It said this is a "direct conflict of interest" because Cheney had influence over the federal contracts awarded to the prison companies.

Bush handling transition with grace

No matter how people remember President Bush’s time in office, let there be no doubt about how he wants to end it: gracefully.

Never mind that Democrat Barack Obama spent all that time deriding Bush for “failed policies,” or mocking him for hiding in an “undisclosed location” because he was too unpopular to show up with his party’s own candidate, John McCain. This is transition time. Outgoing presidents support the new guy.

And on that front, Bush is going well beyond the minimum. He has embraced the role of statesman with such gusto that it has been hard to miss.

Out with old, in with the new

We lead the world in a peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. Where we’re not so good is in the details of actually handing that power over to a new team.

Typically, the last of the 3,000 appointees who constitute the old president’s administration are out the door the morning of January 20 and, after the new president is sworn in at noon, the members of the new administration, those of them who have been confirmed or whose appointments have cleared, come flocking in.

Obama, Bush meet today

Less than one week after his historic victory, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama heads to Washington on Monday to learn firsthand from President George W. Bush about the challenges that await him on January 20.

Obama, 47, who swept to office after two years of campaigning on a theme of change — particularly from Bush’s economic and foreign policies — will put politics aside as he visits the White House.

Bush approved more covert raids

The U.S. military has conducted nearly a dozen secret operations against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in Syria, Pakistan and other countries since 2004, The New York Times reported Sunday night.

Citing anonymous U.S. officials, the Times story said the operations were authorized by a broad classified order that then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed and President Bush approved in spring 2004. The order gave the military authority to attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world and to conduct operations in countries that were not at war with the U.S.

Judge to Bush: Produce wiretap memos

A judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce White House memos that provide the legal basis for the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 warrantless wiretapping program.

And where’s George W. Bush these days?

The unpopular President Bush is staying off the campaign trail in the race to succeed him.

The president is raising money. But for voters in the swing states that count — Florida and Ohio, for example — Bush is the invisible incumbent. With a mere 26 percent approval rating, Bush was expected to keep a low profile in John McCain’s campaign. As it turns out, Bush has been a virtual no-show — except in Democratic television ads that regularly tie him to Republican candidates.

Bush leaves next President a world of trouble

US President George W. Bush’s successor inherits a world of troubles come January, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a defiant Iran, and a US economy battered by the global financial crisis.

The new president will take the reins of a limping superpower facing deep doubts overseas about the limits of its strength, and sharply diminished US standing even among Washington’s closest friends, recent studies find.

Bush approved CIA torture program

The Bush administration explicitly endorsed the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods against al Qaeda suspects in a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.