Archives for White House

Memo to Barack: Take what you can get

There are times in any legislative endeavor when you should take what you can get and hope to win the rest later. That's the point President Obama is fast approaching in regard to health care reform. His constant, full-campaign-mode jawboning has probably run its course in effectiveness. He apparently understands that the public insurance option is a non-starter despite paying it some lip service to appease the Democratic ultra liberal base that favors it as the first step toward a single payer system leading ultimately to the real goal -- socialized medicine. Majority Democrats in Congress are divided over it, and the Republican minority and an increasing majority of Americans want none of it, if the polls are correct.
Read More

Obama hedges on Afghan war

The Obama administration is holding off major decisions that could put its military forces on a firmer war footing in Afghanistan even as doubts grow about whether the United States can win there. Many military and diplomatic leaders have urged President Barack Obama to send thousands more Marines, soldiers and pilots to try to reverse Afghanistan's crumbling security situation. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said no decision about adding troops is expected for "weeks and weeks," following what he described as intensive evaluation. The troop decision will be a first indicator of whether Obama intends to double down in Afghanistan, becoming a wartime president in earnest.
Read More

Can Obama back up his threats?

The Associated Press account of the president's lecture to Wall Street begins:" "President Barack Obama sternly warned against returning to reckless and unchecked behavior that had threatened the nation with a second Great Depression." Or else what? A year ago was the nadir of the financial meltdown. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. So did Washington Mutual. There was the fire sale of Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. The massive bailout of AIG. The government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As Obama noted, $5 trillion of American household wealth evaporated in just three months. The outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration vowed never again. We had learned our lesson.
Read More

Obama caves to big labor

This didn't take long. Late Friday President Obama imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese-made lower price tires and by Sunday China had announced it was considering tit-for-tat tariffs on imports of U.S. chicken and auto products. It's hard to see this as anything other than Obama currying favor with organized labor and Rust Belt Democrats at a critical point in his drive for health-care reform. The United Steel Workers had sought the tariff, saying 5,000 jobs had been lost in the industry since 2005. But U.S. tire makers had opposed it. They had largely gotten out of the low-end market and both Goodyear and Cooper make tires in China for sale in the United States.
Read More

Joe Wilson: One apology is enough

One apology is enough, a digging-in-his-heels Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday, challenging Democratic leaders who want him to say on the House floor that he's sorry for yelling "You lie!" during President Barack Obama's health care speech to Congress. The leadership plans to propose a resolution of disapproval this week if the South Carolina Republican doesn't publicly apologize to Congress. Such a measure would put lawmakers on the record as condemning those two words, uttered during last Wednesday's prime-time speech, that have become a fundraising boon for the defiant Wilson and his Democratic challenger. Wilson said a resolution would show that Democrats simply wanted to play politics and divert attention from a health care overhaul that is lagging in Congress.
Read More

Obama heads for Wall Street

Pushing Congress to act on proposed financial regulations, President Barack Obama is going to the heart of Wall Street on the first anniversary of Lehman Brothers' collapse to outline changes needed to prevent a future crisis like the one that sent the global economy into a tailspin last year. Obama has called on Congress to pass a sweeping overhaul of how financial institutions behave but has seen slower-than-sought action. Administration officials said the president will use Lehman Brothers as a starting point to again decry a hands-off approach from Washington that enabled irresponsible lending that sent the nation's largest financial institutions to the brink of collapse and the larger economy to the edge.
Read More

Bin Laden: Obama is ‘powerless’

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden warned President Barack Obama that he is "powerless" to halt the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and must rethink his policy on Israel, in his first message for three months. The message, which accused "neo-conservatives" of maintaining a grip on the White House, was released Sunday, two days after the United States marked the eighth anniversary of Al-Qaeda's September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Titled "Message to the American People," the video -- released by the As-Sahab media branch of Al-Qaeda -- features a still image of bin Laden and an audio statement, said the IntelCenter US monitoring group.
Read More

Obama’s lobbying reform ain’t working

President Barack Obama's new special interest rules are having unexpected consequences with some lobbyists giving up their formal registrations and finding other ways to influence policy as they try to maintain access to key agencies or hope for future government jobs. Congressional aides, industry executives and watchdog groups say the rules have also slowed Obama's ability to fill key government jobs, eliminated some highly qualified candidates and kept away some others who worry tougher "revolving door" rules could tie their hands in the future. "The president's executive order isn't working the way they planned," said one top Washington industry lobbyist, who asked not to be identified, given the sensitivity of the subject.
Read More

Obama played numbers game in speech

Tucked into President Barack Obama's speech to the U.S. Congress was a new talking point -- that his aim is to get health insurance for 30 million uninsured people, not 46 million. "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage," Obama said on Wednesday. Back in August, he had said: "We've got 46-47 million people without health insurance in our country." Why the change? White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama was making the point that under his plan, illegal immigrants would not get health insurance. "The proposal that the president outlined covers American citizens," Gibbs told reporters. "His plan would not cover illegal immigrants."
Read More

Obama’s speech could save the day

President Obama's eloquent address to a joint session of Congress was one he should have made a lot sooner, before the health-care debate started to spiral out of control.

He was too aloof and hands off at the outset and distressingly slow in answering attacks and distortions, a mistake he vowed not to repeat. "Death panels," he said, are "a lie, plain and simple."

His forcefulness was intended to reassure wavering Democrats that he would fight for health care and the new level of detail in the speech indicated that he was willing to get his hands dirty in the sausage making of legislation.


Read More