Archives for White House

President will review Afghan options

President Barack Obama will likely take a key report on Afghan policy on vacation to Camp David Wednesday, the White House said, hitting back at claims it was moving too slowly to revamp war strategy.

The classified report by General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, is a long-awaited assessment of the war, which Obama has declared the most vital front in the US struggle against terrorism.

"I anticipate that the president will take some form of the McChrystal report with him to Camp David," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, referring to the presidential retreat in Maryland where Obama will resume his vacation.


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Obama may finally get specific on health care

President Barack Obama has talked a lot about health care lately, but some allies say he has been too vague. Now he's thinking of throwing more details and personal weight into the debate, which polls indicate Republicans have been winning in recent weeks.

Faced with falling approval ratings and increasingly impatient with Senate negotiations, Obama is considering a speech in the next week or so in which he would be "more prescriptive" about what he feels Congress must include in a health bill, top adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday in an interview.


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Obama goes to war…with himself

Regarding aggressive intelligence gathering, the Obama administration is now clearly at war -- with the Obama administration. Very soon after assuming office, President Obama opted not to pursue prosecution of intelligence professionals who may have gone beyond the law during the Bush administration.

Now, however, Attorney General Eric Holder has reversed that course, appointing a special counsel to investigate possible abuses by the CIA, especially in regard to use of torture, euphemistically described as "enhanced interrogation techniques." The CIA will no longer handle such interrogations. This is a major political victory for the anti-war left of the Democratic Party.


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Lobbyists thrive on Obama’s watch

President Barack Obama ordered federal officials to disclose their contacts with lobbyists trying to influence how the government doles out money to jump-start the economy. Yet few such communications have been reported even though lobbyists say they are busier than ever with the multibillion-dollar stimulus.

Since the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in February, federal agencies have reported 197 contacts with lobbyists about stimulus grants.


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Self-serving deals by Obama aides

Sen. Ted Kennedy's death will overshadow and push out of the headlines a very important story of which Americans should take note. A stationary nimbus of self-dealing hangs over one of President Obama's key staffers, exposed this week by the Associated Press.

According to the AP, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod's former Chicago public relations firm is one of two that have profited mightily from the Obama administration's health care reform effort. I know, I know, Axelrod has sold his interest in the firm he created. He's gone to great lengths to distance himself from it, but his son works there and as a founding partner there are ties that no matter what he does, can ever be erased.


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Obama set to reappoint Bernanke

President Barack Obama plans to reappoint Ben Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a position from which he guided the economy away from its worst recession since the 1930s and, the White House hopes, toward an economic recovery critical to its legacy.

Widely credited with taking aggressive action to avert an economic catastrophe after the financial meltdown last year, Bernanke will be nominated for another term as the helm of the central bank on Tuesday. Obama plans to make the announcement on Martha's Vineyard, the Massachusetts island where he is vacationing for the week with his family.


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Health care industry wins big with ‘reform’

Ironically, the President who promised a government free of control and manipulation by lobbyists is producing a health care "reform" bill that will bring huge financial rewards for the health care industry, thanks to back door deals cut by lobbyists.

In other words, the lobbyists won by cutting enough deals with the White House and Congress to assure a financial reward under the guise of reform.

One health insurance executive calls it "a bonanza." Health care lobbyists smile and say they played the Obama White House because they know how Washington works and he doesn't and while the President promises a different style in Washington, the laws are still made by Congress, an institution controlled by the lobbying industry.


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Memo to Barack: Change your tactics

President Barack Obama still may push through an overhaul of the American health care system, but political indicators point to a needed overhaul of his own tactics for selling reform.

Barely eight months in office, Obama is trapped between the jaws of a tightening vise. On one side, Republicans refuse to countenance further government involvement in health care; on the other, liberal Democrats insist Obama keep his campaign pledge to make sure the estimated 50 million Americans who are without coverage can afford health insurance.
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Obama approves ‘elite’ interrogation team

President Barack Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Citing unnamed senior administration officials, the newspaper said the decision was part of a broader effort to revamp US policy on detention and interrogation.

Obama signed off on the unit, named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) late last week, the report said.

It will be made up of experts from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies and housed at the FBI, the paper noted.
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Nation’s problems haunt Obama’s vacation

His healthcare reform plan is stumbling, the economy is still sputtering and violence is up in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who would not want a break?

President Barack Obama is officially taking one next week when he heads to Martha's Vineyard. But a long "to do" list -- two wars, worldwide recession and a host of legislative battles in store when he gets back, most notably the struggle over reforming the U.S. health system -- will make it hard for him to relax and disconnect.
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