Archive for October 1st, 2010

01
Oct
10

last word

President Barack Obama walks around the grounds of the South Lawn of the White House during his last meeting with outgoing Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Oct. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

01
Oct
10

so, you got the job?

President Barack Obama talks with Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts before Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony at the Supreme Court, Oct. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Artist rendering of the investiture ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Oct. 1, at the court in Washington. From left are, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Kagan, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito. Attorney General Eric Holder, seated, foreground, left, and President Barack Obama, seated, foreground, right, look on.

01
Oct
10

‘it’s official: the stimulus isn’t a waste of money’

Time: People of good faith can disagree over whether President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package is creating enough jobs, piling on too much debt, or helping the country in the long run. But it’s about time to retire one set of critiques of the stimulus: that it would be riddled with fraud, hamstrung by delays, and crippled by cost overruns. So far, while the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is clearly not a political success, it is just as clearly a managerial success — on schedule, under budget, and according to independent investigators, remarkably free of fraud.

Yesterday, the administration met its self-imposed deadline of spending 70% of the Recovery Act, or $551 billion, by the end of the fiscal year. Almost all of the unspent stimulus money is already committed to specific projects, except for a few longer-range initiatives like high-speed rail and electronic health records. And the completed work has cost less than expected, so the savings have financed over 3,000 additional projects, from airport improvements in Atlanta to new child-care centers at military bases in Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and Oklahoma, from a new five-lane road in Jacksonville to a $14.5 million transformation of a World War 2 ammunition factory into an eco-friendly government building in St. Louis.

Meanwhile, Earl Devaney, the hard-nosed watchdog leading the independent Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, recently testified to Congress that investigators “simply haven’t seen the kind of fraud that we would have imagined as professional law enforcement.” Before the stimulus passed, experts predicted the government would lose 5% to 7% of it to fraud; today, out of over 190,000 contracts, grants and loans, less than 0.2% are under investigation.
…..so far: no indictments, no major scandals, no missed deadlines, no busted budgets. Hey, man: That’s more than good enough for government work.

01
Oct
10

moving on

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President Barack Obama hugs outgoing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel after announcing his departure from the West Wing in the East Room of the White House October 1

01
Oct
10

right-hand man

President Barack Obama presents a birthday cake April 15, 2009, to senior advisor Pete Rouse in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

NYT: The President will confirm today that Pete Rouse, a senior adviser, will replace Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.

Rouse has been at the president’s side since Obama arrived in Washington nearly six years ago as a senator, serving as his chief of staff.

He has publicly expressed reservations about taking the chief of staff job for an extended period, but he has apparently agreed to do the job – for now.

Rouse has a low profile outside the White House and across Washington, but he is extraordinarily close to the president and is respected inside the West Wing and on Capitol Hill, where he was known as the “101st Senator” in his role as an adviser to Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, then the Democratic leader.

When Mr. Daschle was defeated in 2004, Obama hired Rouse to run his Senate office, a decision that was central to Obama’s abrupt political rise.

Mark Halperin (Time): “He’s not Rahm, he’s a much different guy. And he’s close to the president which is clearly one of the reasons he was picked, and he’s got a lot of, as an inside player, very powerful on Capitol Hill. It’s pretty incredible for this guy who was called the 101st senator when he worked for Tom Daschle. He could walk into most Washington restaurants, Washington restaurants, and be completely unrecognized. The disparity between his influence and relations on Capitol Hill and his visibility is as about as wide as I know…No two chiefs-of-staff do this job exactly the same way. There are parts of the job that Rahm did, that some others have done, that Pete Rouse just isn’t going to do. As John said, he’s an extraordinarily skillful inside player. He can channel the president, know what he thinks. This is not a guy who’s going to be on the Sunday Shows a lot, if at all. This is not a guy who’s going to be I think negotiating with foreign governments the way Rahm did. This is not a guy who’s going to be on the phone with reporters 50 times a day trying to shape the story line of the administration…Bush and Obama, and the left won’t like when I say this probably, they’re very similar. They want the people they already know. They don’t want outsiders in the inner circle. And when the Washington chattering class, when the people gabbing say, ‘You need to bring somebody in in new for the symbolism. You need to widen your circle.’ The attitude is, ‘No I don’t. I’m going to do this my way. I want people I already know and trust.’ Bringing in Pete Rouse is the opposite of changing the narrative in a dramatic way. It’s the opposite of saying, ‘I need to go in a different direction.'”

President Barack Obama talks with Senior Advisor Pete Rouse in the Oval Office, Dec. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

01
Oct
10

west wing week: “one two three … lancers!” (october 1, 2010)

01
Oct
10

hmm, guess who?

President Barack Obama listens to his introduction at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at DAR Constitutional Hall in Washington, September 30

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01
Oct
10

at your service

The First Lady, The President and The Vice President Serve on 9/11




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