Choice of verb deliberate, there: Craig doesn’t seem all that happy to be pursuing a new and exciting career as a data point in the November unemployment statistics.
Tokyo (CNN) – In the first major shakeup among President Barack Obama’s senior staff, White House Counsel Greg Craig is being pushed out in favor of veteran Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer because of a dispute over plans to close the U.S. military prison in Cuba, CNN has learned.
The move will be announced by the White House in the coming days, a senior administration official and a senior Democratic source confirmed. The sources said it could be announced as early as Friday while the president will be in Japan starting a four-nation tour of Asia, which would make it likely the staff change will be overshadowed by other events.
Craig declined to comment and hang up when reached by CNN late Thursday evening.
You know, new broom sweeping clean, cleaning out the Augean stables, generally showing those people in Washington who was who and what was what – and how there was going to be a new boss, with new rules and expectations on behavior. Well, meet the new boss:
During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
H/T: The Conservatives. Note that none of this is actually illegal; it’s just… business. This is how things are done in Washington. People willing to give money to politicians will be generally treated better by those politicians than people who are not, all other things being equal. This may disappoint supporters of the President, who (rightfully) may be feeling that they were at least misled about this administration’s intentions, but that’s not exactly the fault of everybody else. Of course, one way of controlling the underlying problem is by encouraging negative feedback mechanisms; for example, transparency…
Since taking office, Mr. Obama has pledged that his administration will be “the most open and transparent administration in history” and has agreed to make public the names of those who sign into White House visitor logs, though a request from The Times for logs that show visits from his top 45 bundlers has so far gone unfilled.
Requests for guest lists to various White House events, such as a recent cocktail reception surrounding the celebration of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ National Hockey League Stanley Cup victory or the Latin music concert last week, have also been denied repeatedly.
After insisting no one was receiving unsolicited e-mails from the White House, officials reversed their story Monday night and blamed outside political groups for the unwanted messages from the tech-savvy operation.
White House online director Macon Phillips said in a blog posting that independent groups—he didn’t name them—had signed-up their members to receive regular updates about Obama’s projects, priorities and speeches.
The White House had consistently denied that anyone who hadn’t sought the e-mails had received them.
You remember: back in April the President called on the Cabinet to reduce the budget by 100 million. True, it was immediately pointed out that this would be roughly equivalent to… well, we’ll let Political Math explain it*:
…still, every little – every very, very, very little – bit helps, right? So, today’s the day that we hear about those cuts!
White House misses deadline on spending cuts report
Asked about the spending cuts, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that information still was being compiled.
Well, they’re claiming that it was, and there’s evidence that it happened in the form of an earthquake,so that’s how everyone is betting. Japan is calling for an emergency UNSC meeting; South Korea, dealing simultaneously with this and the suddenly-more-murky suicide of its former President, is doing the same. The White House hasn’t put up the President’s official statement on this yet, but you can read it here – it differs from the White House statement in 2006 most notably in its unconscious reliance on the UNSC to resolve this situation. Also missing is any indication that the President has personally consulted with our allies in the region, but no doubt he’ll address that when he holds a press conference this morning on the North Korean crisis. Note that I am merely assuming at this point that there will be one, and that it will take place before noon.
Meanwhile, John Bolton predicted that this test was going to happen last week; he also noted last week that the administration wasn’t taking the possibility of a second test all that seriously. Compare the White House statements from today and 2006 again and ask yourself, Which one sounds like it was written by people taken by surprise? Also ask yourself, Is Bolton right when he suggests that not taking even a soft line on this will merely encourage North Korea – and Iran – to proceed?
Please also note that we are in a situation where two of the biggest current, active, and intractable threats to world peace are rogue nations simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and missile technology. Successful creation of both will put at immediate risk our regional allies; allies that we have spent a lifetime cultivating; and who are genuinely alarmed at the activities of their neighbors. And in both cases, the enemies of said rogue nations were picked for essentially irrational reasons, meaning that normal rules of deterrence may or may not work.
Thursday was supposed to be the highlight of the year for more than 100 kindergarteners from Stafford County, Va. They got up early and took a chartered bus to the White House for a school field trip. But when they arrived, all the 5-year-olds got was a lesson in disappointment.
The buses from Conway Elementary arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a little later than planned, and they were locked out.
“We were going to the White House, but we couldn’t get in so I felt sad,” 5-year-old Cameron Stine said.
Parents say they were just 10 minutes late for their scheduled tour. School officials say White House staff said they needed to get ready for the president’s luncheon with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, so they couldn’t come in.
Incredibly, White House staffers attempted to push back on this story, in flagrant ignorance of the elementary political truth that a politician cannot win any argument with a crying five-year-old child. I will be merciful and not reproduce their justification, although I will note that it strongly implies that the parents of a busload of crying five-year-olds are all liars.
President Obama has decided not to release hundreds of photos potentially showing U.S. military personnel abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama met with his legal team last week and told them that he did not feel comfortable with the release of the photos because he believes they would endanger U.S. troops, and that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court.
President Obama met with White House counsel Greg Craig and other members of the White House counsel team last week and told them that he had second thoughts about the decision to hand over photographs of detainee abuse to the ACLU, per a judge’s order, and had changed his mind.
The president “believes their release would endanger our troops,” a White House official says, adding that the president “believes that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court.”
They decided this last week. One wonders why it took them this long to mention it. Even the usual “new polls came in” excuse won’t fly, this time: we knew Friday that the Democrats were losing the initiative in this argument.
Barack Obama’s administration may be promising the “greatest ethical standard ever administered to an executive branch,” and increased transparency over his predecessor, but it seems to be forgoing at least one transparency practice that was routine in the Bush White House— transcripts of the daily press briefing.
It’s been four days since Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ first (and widely panned) appearance before the White House press corps, but no transcript, summary, or video of the event has shown up on WhiteHouse.gov. The delay could be forgiven in a less tech-savvy bunch, but given the Obama team’s considerable online skill, the omission of the the transcript is clearly intentional.
The decision to withhold transcripts is not a departure from the Obama Team’s online posture during the campaign, and signals that’s exactly the posture they intend to take for the next four years. Team Obama got a lot of credit for being an active online presence, which indeed it was, but that presence was built for message control, not openness. (My.BarackObama, the campaign’s social networking platform, is a different story, but it was cordoned off from the official campaign material, which was pretty tightly controlled.)