White House

Bush hides behind executive privilege

President Bush, in a constitutional showdown with Congress, claimed executive privilege Thursday and rejected demands for White House documents and testimony about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

His decision was denounced as “Nixonian stonewalling” by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bush rejected subpoenas for documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. The White House made clear neither one would testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas.

Bush fighting a losing battle on Iraq

President Bush is sending his top aide on national security affairs to Capitol Hill on Thursday to confront what has become a tough crowd on the Iraq war.

A majority of senators believe troops should start coming home within the next few months. A new House investigation concluded this week that the Iraqis have little control over an ailing security force. And House Republicans are calling to revive the independent Iraq Study Group to give the nation options.

Bush’s public support hits new low

As public support faded for his failed war in Iraq, President George W. Bush could still depend on support from rabid Republicans.

No longer. With overall support for his botched war effort at a new low, Bush is also failing to hold on to approval ratings from GOP loyalists. Like the rest of America, the right-wing is walking away from the President.

And like the rest of Americans, an increasing number of Republicans want the troops brought home now before any more die for Bush’s folly. Bush and Congress may be willing to send more American troops to death but the voters they work for are not.

Americans are tired of rhetoric. They want action and they want it now.

Dick Cheney’s own branch of government

The White House has had to defend Vice President Cheney’s decision to opt out of a presidential order regulating the handling of secret information by the executive branch. Cheney’s reasoning: His office is not really part of the executive branch.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino insists that this is a “non-issue,” but the vice president’s effort to create a separate branch of government for himself has become one, and given congressional Democrats an opening to launch another investigation.

Cheney insisted on torture of prisoners

Dick Cheney is, without question, the most powerful American Vice President in history. His power within the Bush Administration is, for the most part, unchecked and his rule is absolute.

More than anyone else in the White House, Cheney has promoted the notion that the Administration is above the law and does not have to answer to the Constitution, Congress or the Supreme Court.

Nowhere is that abuse of power and law more evident than in Cheney’s belief that torture is an accepted form of interrogation of prisoners and the terms of the Geneva Convention can, and should, be ignored in Bush’s so-called “war on terror.”

A failure in beliefs

Bit by bit, without publicly admitting any mistakes, the Bush administration is changing policies on key issues that have defined the president’s tenure in office.

President Bush, known for his adamant beliefs but beleaguered by dismal polls, an unpopular war and positions on many fronts that have failed to work, is reluctantly nodding assent to change. In many of the policy changes, the neoconservative or aggressive nationalistic point of view that prevailed from the day Bush took office is being modified, massaged or outright reversed.

Is Dick Cheney above the law?

House Democrats on Thursday denounced Vice President Dick Cheney’s idea of abolishing a government office charged with safeguarding national security information — and criticized him for refusing to cooperate with the agency.

Cheney’s office — over the objections of the National Archives — has exempted itself from a presidential executive order that seeks to protect national security information generated by the government, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Under the order, executive branch offices are required to give the Information Security Oversight Office at the archives data on how much material it has classified and declassified.

Gitmo meeting canceled…for now

The United States is helping build a prison in Afghanistan to take some prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, but the White House said Friday it is not meant as an alternative to the detainee facility in Cuba.

The Bush administration wants to close Guantanamo Bay and move its terror suspects to prisons elsewhere and senior officials have told The Associated Press a consensus is building among the president’s top advisers on how to do it.

Bush’s bungled mideast policy

The Bush administration, generally impetuous in most of its undertakings, has been uncharacteristically glacial about brokering an Arab-Israeli settlement and ushering into existence an independent Palestinian state. It is coming up on five years since President Bush announced his support for a two-state solution and a road map for getting there.

But when the radical Hamas forcibly took control of Gaza, leaving President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party in charge of the West Bank, the larger of the two fragments of Palestinian territory, the White House acted rapidly.

Bush’s budget director quits

Another senior official in George W. Bush’s troubled White House is jumping ship. Budget director Rob Portman turned in his resignation Tuesday.

Bush immediately tapped former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle to replace Portman but the former chairman of the House Budget Committee may get a cool reception from Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Nussle ran for Iowa governor in 2006 but lost and has been working as an advisor to Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential campaign.