White House

Obama’s agenda: Apologies, bigger government

The Obama administration, completing its first full week, wasted no time getting priorities in order. First, issue formal apologies to the world, and then begin advancing massive, intrusive government at home.

The president chose Arab television, Al Arabiya, to give his first sit down interview. He took the opportunity to confirm the long held Arab view that the real problem is America and President Obama apologized on our behalf.

Obama’s protectionism problem

Less than two weeks into office, President Barack Obama faces a dilemma over protectionist provisions in a massive economic stimulus bill: Backing the measures could set off a trade war, while opposing them could trigger a backlash from his supporters.

The choice involves "buy American" provisions attached to White House-backed stimulus legislation moving through Congress. They would require major public works projects to favor U.S. steel, iron and manufacturing over imports.

Another nominee has a tax problem

Another of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet nominees has run into tax problems.

This time it’s former Sen. Tom Daschle, chosen to lead the new president’s health reform efforts. Daschle recently filed amended tax returns to report $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest, according to a Senate document obtained by The Associated Press.

Obama caters to big labor: Reverses Bush orders

President Barack Obama is playing to one of the Democratic Party’s most reliable constituencies — organized labor — reversing a number of his predecessor’s executive orders that critics regard as anti-union.

Labor leaders were to visit the White House for a second consecutive day Friday, where, a union official said, Obama was to abolish four Bush-era directives that unions opposed and then reintroduce Vice President Joe Biden’s task force focused on the middle class.

The Obama-Limbaugh war: Good or bad?

Rush Limbaugh isn’t one of the most successful broadcasters in history because of his mild-mannered personality. The conservative talk-show host attracts 20 million listeners a week because he has a knack for stirring up controversy. And Limbaugh did just that within days of President Obama’s inauguration.

"I want him to fail," Limbaugh told Fox News. "If his agenda is a far-left collectivism, some people say socialism, as a conservative …, why would I want socialism to succeed?

Bill Clinton cashed in with millions from foreigners

Former President Bill Clinton earned nearly $6 million in speaking fees last year, almost all of it from foreign companies, according to financial documents filed by his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that $4.6 million of the former president’s reported $5.7 million in 2008 honoraria came from foreign sources, including Kuwait’s national bank, other firms and groups in Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico and Portugal and a Hong Kong-based company that spent $100,000 on federal lobbying last year.

Barack Obama’s public diplomacy

Faster than a command to "lock-and-load," President Obama this week swiftly deployed and targeted a powerful but little-used weapon that could be crucial to winning what America once called its war on terror.

It is a weapon long championed by Obama’s two famous holdovers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus. And it was targeted this week at the Arab world.

It is public diplomacy.

Obama seeks help from GOP on economy

President Barack Obama is making good on his promise to hear from Republicans as he pushes for swift passage and bipartisan backing of his massive $825 billion plan intended to jerk the country out of recession.

The unanswered question: whether the new Democratic president will actually listen to GOP concerns about the amount of spending and the tax approach — and modify his proposal accordingly.

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.

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.