January 19, 2010
In early December, the White House announced four finalists for the president’s Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award--a competition that plumbed the depths of the federal bureaucracy for ideas on how the government could save money. One finalist proposed streamlining the way the Forest Service forwards campground fees to the government. Another suggested that the Social Security Administration allow people to book appointments online rather than only by phone.
How To Fight Terrorism
January 04, 2010
Peter Baker's upcoming New York Times Magazine cover story (mentioned by Mike below) on Obama and terrorism has this slightly unsettling nugget: [Obama] is committed to taking aggressive actions to disrupt terrorist cells, aides said, but he also considers his speech in Cairo to the Islamic world in June central to his efforts to combat terrorism. “If you asked him what are the most important things he’s done to fight terrorism in his first year, he would put Cairo in the top three,” Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, told me. Really?
Is W.H. Pushing a Lieberman Deal?
December 14, 2009
Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown is reporting that the White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to cut a deal with Joe Lieberman. The White House is denying the report, in fairly strong terms: "The White House is not pushing Senator Reid in any direction," spokesman Dan Pfeiffer says. "We are working hand in hand with the Senate Leadership to work through the various issues and pass health reform as soon as possible." But one of TNR's Capitol Hill sources is saying the same thing that Politico's is.
The Reinvention of Robert Gates
November 09, 2009
One afternoon in October, a blue and white jumbo jet flew high above the Pacific Ocean, approaching the international dateline. On board was the secretary of defense, Robert Gates, who was on an around-the-world trip that would end with a summit of NATO defense ministers, where the topic of the day would be Afghanistan. Gates was flying on what is often called “the Doomsday Plane,” a specially outfitted 747 that looks like a bulkier Air Force One and was built to wage retaliatory nuclear war from the skies.
Rahm Taking Direct Interest in Reg Reform
October 29, 2009
Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was up at the House Financial Services Committee testifying on the administration's proposal for dealing with threats to the financial system ("Too Big To Fail," etc.). One day earlier, he and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel held a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the committee to field questions about the proposal and urge them to hang together. For Rahm, it was at least the second time this week he'd participated in an event with top Treasury officials.
Inside the Security Council, Cont'd
September 24, 2009
At the opening of this morning's special Security Council session on nukes, Barack Obama opened his remarks with this dramatic vision: As I said yesterday, this very institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part because man's capacity to kill had to be contained. And although we averted a nuclear nightmare during the Cold War, we now face proliferation of a scope and complexity that demands new strategies and new approaches. Just one nuclear weapon exploded in a city -- be it New York or Moscow; Tokyo or Beijing; London or Paris -- could kill hundreds of thousands of people
Rahm on the CIA vs. Holder
August 28, 2009
This morning's lede story in The New York Times about the divisions between Leon Panetta's C.I.A. and Eric Holder's Justice Department has a couple of interesting nuggets. Now that Justice is going to be conducting an investigation into detainee abuse, Langley is angry. Rahm Emanuel, when asked by the Times, said of the dispute: “Leon’s representing his institutional building,” Mr. Emanuel said. “Eric’s representing his institutional responsibilities.” Translation: One is doing his job, the other is doing what he has to do, politically speaking.
August 26, 2009
On August 4, Haaretz reported that Benjamin Netanyahu called Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod self-hating Jews. A spokesman for the prime minister later denied this, but I have heard from Israeli friends that this conspiratorial explanation is quite popular in the prime minister’s office. I have no reason to believe otherwise. The accusation of ethnic infidelity is an old feature of the political culture of the Likud. The defenders of Greater Israel have values, but the critics of Greater Israel have motives.
Exclusive: Time To Vote Enzi Off The Island?
August 06, 2009
President Obama just finished a meeting with the six senators now at the center of the health care reform narrative. Three Democrats, three Republicans, all of them from the Finance Committee and all of them trying, in theory, to do what four other congressional committees have already done: Report health care legislation to the floor. The Gang of Six, as they’ve become known, have been negotiating for weeks, fighting over everything from taxes to public insurance options. And they've managed to blow through every deadline, whether imposed by themselves or somebody else.
Pitney's Not A Potted Plant
June 24, 2009
Dana Milbank echoes and amplifies some of the criticism that was voiced yesterday over the White House's, uh, facilitating the Huffington Post's question from an Iranian at yesterday's presser: Pitney asked his arranged question. Reporters looked at one another in amazement at the stagecraft they were witnessing.