Archives for White House

Obama continues to prove he’s not Bush

President Obama is not shy about breaking with the policies of his predecessor. He ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether California and 13 other states can mandate tough, new auto-emissions standards, tougher than the federal standards.

He didn't directly order the EPA to do so, but a savvy regulator can sense which way the wind is blowing on this one. To underscore his stand on the environment and greenhouse gases, Obama made the announcement in the formal surroundings of the White House East Room.


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Obama’s train ride to the future

Everyone will have her own way of thinking about the remarkable events centered on January 20, 2009. Some probably thought the over-sized bow on Aretha Franklin's hat was outrageously over the top, but when she began to sing, everything about her -- including the bow -- was perfect.

Many will fondly recall the welcome sight of George W. Bush's helicopter leaving Washington for the last time. Others will think of the fumbled oath of office, the multitudes on the mall, and the inaugural balls. Or President Obama's speech.


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As always, lobbyists find a loophole

President Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill doesn't mean interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers won't be able to funnel money to pet projects.

They're just working around it — and perhaps inadvertently making the process more secretive.

The projects run the gamut: a Metrolink station that needs building in Placentia, Calif.; a stretch of beach in Sandy Hook, N.J., that could really use some more sand; a water park in Miami.


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Obama enjoys high initial approval ratings

President Barack Obama begins his administration with one of the highest public approval records in modern time -- second only to John F. Kennedy.

A new Gallup poll shows 68 percent of those surveyed approve of Obama's job performance so far -- a better initial score than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or even Ronald Reagan.

The numbers also mean Obama must meet high expectations from a public that is expecting results.


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Gates provides continuity for Obama

While the presidential campaign and President Barack Obama's initial post-election formal statements have focused heavily on the economy, national security arguably is where the new administration has the greatest independent authority -- and faces the most significant challenges, directly involving life and death decisions.


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Memo to Obama: Try a little globalization

It was a distinct privilege for this political scientist -- indeed this American -- to be in Washington D.C. this week for the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama. In an age of persistent and pervasive change, this one instinctively feels most welcome -- and much warranted.


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Obama proves to be true to his word

A prison at Guantanamo Bay would have made sense if it had been run as a normal prisoner of war camp, subject to the Geneva Conventions and international inspection. Instead, it doubled as an interrogation center subject to its own arbitrary rules. The intense secrecy only gave credence to tales of prisoner abuse, founded or unfounded, and this in turn was compounded by the Bush administration's plans for one-sided trials.


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For Obama, delivery will be the true test

Now the hard part begins.

Following the promise must be the delivery and that will be daunting.

There is the banking crisis and the housing crisis and the auto crisis and the job crisis and the credit crisis and the panic crisis and the energy crisis and the global warming crisis and the myriad of overseas crises including two wars, all of them separate but linked. Welcome to the Oval Office, Mr. President.


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In Washington, talk is easy: Change isn’t

After delivering a startlingly change-oriented inaugural address, President Barack Obama is finding out that change is possible but it is not easy.

Obama's 2,396-word, new-era-of-responsibility speech, in the presence of 1.8 million mesmerized Americans and heard via television and the Internet by millions around the world, was a firm, fierce indictment of the policies of the past eight years.


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