Wednesday, December 31, 2008
At least he’ll have a good view of the White House. When President-elect Barack Obama moves to town this weekend, he will be staying in the famed Hay Adams Hotel just across Lafayette Park from his new digs. The presidential suite in the penthouse normally goes for $2,500 to $5,000 a night and has a virtually unparalleled view of the White House and Lafayette Park from the master bedroom. With one-and-a-half bathrooms and a gas-lit corner fireplace in the living room, it is large enough for a family of four to stay for 12 days until the Obamas move into Blair House on Pennsylvania Avenue just across from the White House.Howie P.S.: Imagine "The West Wing" tv show with President Barack Obama, video (00:46). H/t to Mr. Smith.
Reporting from Washington — President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to lead a full-scale marketing blitz to pass the massive new stimulus package that he says is needed to revive the slumping economy and put the nation on the course he laid out during his campaign.Barack Obama
A House vote on the bill may come the week of Jan. 12, the leadership aide said. A Senate timetable is less certain.
By invoking the threat of a filibuster, the Senate could delay passage. So for Obama to win swift adoption, a Senate aide said, Republican collaboration is essential.
"We expect to move as quickly as possible, but in the end it depends on what kind of cooperation we get from Republicans," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
President-elect Barack Obama packed his day with activities yesterday as his vacation in Hawaii nears its end.Barack Obama
Obama played basketball at his alma mater, went to the Honolulu Zoo with his daughters and also visited the apartment of his late grandmother, Madelyn Dunham.
He went to his alma mater Punahou to play basketball, took his daughters to the Hononlulu Zoo and visited his late grandmother's Makiki apartment.
He returned to his vacation residence shortly before 6 p.m.
In 2008, perhaps more than any year in history, words made a huge difference in politics. If I had to pick one word that caused the biggest stir, my choice would be: 'lipstick.' Yes, ma'am. Sarah Palin's 'lipstick-on-a-pit-bull' moment at the 2008 Republican Convention rocketed her to the center of American life faster than Tesla Roadster, and will likely keep her there longer than most people would prefer.If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the likes of Wolf Blitzer asking a White House spokesperson the ill-informed, but inevitable question, "Are you really going to hand over governing decisions to members of the general public?" Ah, yes. In 2009, the mainstream media will be roughly the same as it was in 2008. Such is life.
Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the flagship institution of Conservative Judaism, said he invokes "God" for interfaith prayer.--from the AP story, "Warren’s inauguration prayer could draw ire," that discusses the possibility of Warren offering the prayer "in the name of Jesus" and the reaction that might follow.
"I know that for Christians, Jesus is part of their Trinity," said Visotzky, who has taught at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and at Protestant seminaries in the U.S. "For me as a Jew, hearing the name of a first-century rabbi isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's not my God."
We're closing out 2008, and the New Year brings, as always, top ten lists of the bests and worst and what's in and what's out. Our look back at the year comes from Project Censored, a media research program that bridges advocacy and academia to shine a light on the 25 most underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored stories from the year. FSRN's Tanya Snyder has more.Howie P.S.: The #1 story is an eye-popper. Here's the list, with the details and the sources.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
HONOLULU – President-elect Barack Obama's top asset in pushing his agenda will not be his Cabinet secretaries or aides, but rather his online network. Obama's political e-mail list tops 13 million names, a digital force that the incoming White House can tap to push for his legislation, tamp down critics or bolster popular support. It's also a way for Obama to reach into every state, every city, and every neighborhood.Barack Obama
The RNC, however, is not ceding the Internet.
Engineers and political hands have collaborated to identify 40 million GOP voters online, using commercial databases and their internal voter files.
"It doesn't take a lot to inspire movement and community online," said Krohn, the RNC's top Internet operative. "The notion that we can't catch up, I don't buy that premise because change happens so quickly on the Internet."
The Obama transition team is taking questions again at Change.gov, throwing open the site this week for citizen input. The first run of this experiment was a mixed bag. The platform was open and transparent, but the official answers felt more like old boilerplate than new responses. When the submitted questions parrot toics in the traditional media, of course, the exchange can feel like a dated press conference. But here's a vital question that few reporters have ever presented to Obama:Barack Obama
Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?
With so few journalists directly asking the President-Elect about these issues, however, it is up to the rest of us to put accountability and the rule of law on the agenda. Change.gov is a fine place to start.
Many of the Obamaphiles streaming into Washington for the inauguration will be looking for one type of president - the dynamic agent of change, ready to end the pain of the Bush years and usher in a liberal reformation. But Barack Obama seems determined to give them another type of president - a figure of national consensus, wise and honorable and able to soar above the political fray.Howie P.S.: As Obama moves from the candidate seeking supporters to the president seeking a majority to govern, "change" is inevitable. For example, Obama is already facing opposition to his stimulus package from at least one Republican leader, and will be looking for as much support as possible to ensure its passage.
The liberals who oppose Obama's choice of a pastor to offer the inaugural invocation may or may not have misjudged Warren, but it seems clear that they have misjudged Obama.
CBS News with video (01:48):
A Cottage Industry Centered Around The Hometown Hero Has Emerged In The Aloha State--On his family vacation in Hawaii, just the sight of the President-elect trying to eat his tuna sandwich becomes a spectacle, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.Howie P.S.: Day nine of Obama's "Holiday '08 Aloha Tour" featured a workout, golf and private time: "Another round for Obama," with video (00:30). The AP pool reporter teases with "Obama can't shake the bowling jokes." For comparison purposes, here's video (01:53) from the Western White House in Crawford, TX with an update on the current president's activities from Think Progress, "Gordon Johndroe on Bush's plans to deal with Middle East crisis."
"Since he is a local boy, he understands the islands and gets out and does the things locals do," says John Monahan of the Oahu Vistor's Bureau.
Honolulu already has a thriving tourist industry. The hope is that Obama will help people see the real Hawaii.
Monday, December 29, 2008
At Change.gov, President-Elect Obama is inviting a second round of questions. At the end of the first round, our Special Prosecutor question was #6 but Obama's team only answered the first five. This time let's get our question to #1!Barack Obama
"Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor - ideally Patrick Fitzgerald - to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?"
-Bob Fertik, New York City
- Sign in at http://change.gov/openforquestions
- Search for "Fitzgerald" (it's an unusual word so it will produce few results)
- Find our question above
- Look right for the checkbox, mouseover it so it goes from white to dark, then click to cast your vote
Barack Obama does not look like any other American president, but more important, his supporters look different from every other president's base. They are the most connected national constituency in history.Howie P.S.: Meanwhile, far away on a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean, "Obama kicks back with North Shore pal." And Ben Smith points to "Though Obama Had to Leave to Find Himself, It Is Hawaii That Made His Rise Possible" for more on his aloha roots. Last night's "60 Minutes" was "Barack Obama: The Road To The White House" (video , 43:17). H/t to Jed Lewison.
These networks should not be defined, however, only by whether they take orders or try to give them. Beyond their orientation toward Obama, millions of citizens are now more primed to activate and lead one another. A whopping 10 percent of the survey respondents even said they want to run for office. Now they have a good model for how to do it.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Can the Former Political Knife-Fighter Adapt to the More Genteel White House Podium?--Looking back at the tumultuous, ultimately victorious year past, former Barack Obama campaign senior aide and incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs didn't hesitate when he was asked to name his toughest political moment.
It came, he told ABC News in an exclusive interview, "right after we'd clinched the nomination and the president-elect is going to meet with Sen. [Hillary] Clinton."
But "there is one person in that room that is going to make the ultimate and final decision. That's going to be President-elect Barack Obama," he said. "And despite the arguments that you may have in the room about the direction or the decisions that you make on different issues, he expects each and every one of us to get behind the decision that's ultimately made, because he is the president of the United States."
Mike Allen (Politico), with video (04:34):
Top Obama adviser David Axelrod strongly defended the selection of evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the opening prayer at the inauguration, telling moderator David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the nation needs to get beyond “shaking our fists” across a political divide.Barack Obama
The selection of Warren, a Californian whose “The Purpose Driven Life” has sold 20 million copies, prompted a fierce backlash from some of Obama’s liberal supporters — especially gay activists, who were miffed at Warren’s support for the Golden State proposition outlawing same-sex marriage, which passed in November.
“You have a conservative evangelical pastor who’s coming to participate in the inauguration of a progressive president,” Axelrod said from Chicago. “This is a healthy thing and a good thing for our country. We have to find ways to work together on the things on which we do agree, even when we profoundly disagree on other things.”
Axelrod did not take the bait when Gregory read praise from televangelist Pat Robertson for Obama’s Cabinet selections.
“We gotta get beyond this sorta politics where … we’re each on the jagged edge of a great divide, shaking our fists at each other,” Axelrod said. “We do have a great Cabinet – we’re proud of that Cabinet.”
The CIA and establishment media push to soften the edges of torture keeps on ticking, in the form of ongoing outrage over the Brennan non-nomination and trying to turn the ire against bloggers.Nonetheless, the intelligence community and their accomplices are going to do their damnedest to keep this story alive, and to make the bloggers the bad guys (as if we're running around waterboarding people). Fine, whatever. We can take the heat, just as long as it means the torture stops. It's a trade-off I can live with. But it would be nice if, just once, the traditional media could get the story right.Barack Obama
In his first press conference after his re-election in 2004, President Bush memorably declared, “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.” We all know how that turned out.Howie P.S.: Interesting comments here.
Amen. Here’s to humility and equanimity everywhere in America, starting at the top, as we negotiate the fierce rapids of change awaiting us in the New Year.
H/t to Linda Seltzer.