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Executive Branch

The Takeaway

Shock on Capitol Hill as Daschle withdraws his nomination for HHS

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A day after President Obama announced he would stand by his man, Tom Daschle, the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department, has withdrawn his name for consideration. His abrupt decision left everyone from reporters to the Obama administration scrambling. In the end, President Obama made the media rounds last night taking full responsibility for the situation. For more we turn to Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection in Washington, D.C.

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The Takeaway

In media blitz, Obama touts his stimulus plan

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

President Obama launched a media blitz yesterday, doing so many prime time interviews you would think it was campaign season again. This time, though, he was touting his economic stimulus plan. Every stop on his media tour was peppered with questions about his two failed Cabinet nominations. For a look at the latest on the Obama stimulus and the nagging questions over Daschle, we are joined by April Ryan, the White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

"Basically what's happening, the White House and the president are trying to backpedal to make sure that the American public understands that this is not business as usual for the new Obama administration."
— April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, on nominees pulling out of contention because of tax issues

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The Takeaway

White House role in slashing stimulus bill transit funding questioned

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Who's responsible for allocations in the stimulus package? Who decided that roads would get $30 billion, transit would get $9 billion, and that the "smart grid" would get $11 billion? According to transit advocates who've talked with House transportation committee chair James Oberstar, D-Minn., it was Lawrence Summers, director of the White House's National Economic Council.

ShovelWatch is a joint project of the non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, The Takeaway and WNYC Radio.
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The Takeaway

Bank bailouts hint at nationalization

Monday, January 26, 2009

As the bank bailout effort continues, the Obama administration has to address the question of how far to take the rescue plan. Can you say "bank nationalization''? The Takeaway talks to the New York Times' Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger to give us an outline for the debate and what taxpayers would get.

For a deeper analysis, read David Sanger's article, Nationalization Gets a New, Serious Look, in today's New York Times.

Want to craft your own economic stimulus plan? Start here.

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The Takeaway

Gov. Paterson to name Kirsten Gillibrand to U.S. Senate

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just a few hours ago, New York Governor David Paterson picked Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. for Hillary Clinton's now-vacant Senate seat. The governor will formally announce his pick today at noon in Albany. According to the New York Times an aide to Rep. Gillibrand confirmed that she had accepted the appointment. Here to tell us more about the Senate's newest member is Liz Benjamin, a reporter for the New York Daily News.

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The Takeaway

Obama's first day on the job

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Newly-minted President Obama had a full day of work yesterday firing off executive orders left and right. Richard Wolffe, the senior White House correspondent for Newsweek, joins us for his inside-the-Beltway view of Obama's first day in office.

Part of President Obama's busy day was a do-over of his Presidential Oath of Office after Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the line during the Inauguration.

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The Takeaway

War. Recession. Ethics. Pay freezes. And that's just the first day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yesterday marked President Barack Obama’s first full day in office and he certainly had a full docket. Two wars, an economic recession, government ethics, White House pay freezes. He even took the oath of office. Again. All in a day's work for the 44th President. For more we return to Capitol News Connection's Todd Zwillich.

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The Takeaway

The view from Capitol Hill

Thursday, January 22, 2009

President Obama’s cabinet is almost confirmed. Despite a last minute delay, even Hillary Rodham Clinton was able to be confirmed as the new Secretary of State. The latest roadblock? Obama's pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder, had his confirmation postponed, which may not bode well for a cordial working relationship between the President and the Congress. With more on the confirmations and the comings and going on Capitol Hill we turn to Todd Zwillich reporter for Capitol News Connection.

The crowds at the Inauguration as viewed from space. Shot courtesy of NASA.

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The Takeaway

A closer look at the suspension of trials in Guantanamo

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

As one of his first acts in office, President Obama asked for a 120-day suspension of the military trials of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. We turn to the BBC's defense and security correspondent, Rob Watson, for a look at the significance of the move and the difficulties facing the new administration over those still being held at the prison.

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The Takeaway

A CPA explains the Treasury Secretary nominee's tax problems

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner faces the Senate Finance Committee today and it could get ugly. His confirmation hearings were delayed after it was disclosed that he didn’t pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years, took child care deductions that weren't accurate, and employed a housekeeper whose immigration documentation had lapsed. Don Williamson, a Washington, D.C. accountant and professor at the Kogod School of Business at American University gives John and Adaora his professional view on Geithner’s tax problems.

Who else is joining Obama's administration? See our guide to his inner circle.

"When he filed his return did he know that he had this responsibility to pay the estimated tax or was there something more nefarious here?"
— CPA Don Williamson on Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner's tax return problems

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The Takeaway

Obama Administration? Meet Congress, your new best friend

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barack Obama is newly-ensconced in office and he is rolling up his sleeves to get down to business. He has said he wants to work closely with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to address America's current economic problems. How is this likely to play out as lawmakers grapple with healing the economy? For answers we look to the New York Times' David Herszenhorn for his take on the relationship between the executive and legislative branches in the new administration.

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The Takeaway

President Obama orders suspension of Guantanamo trials

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Late last night the brand-new President of the United States asked to suspend the military trials of terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The request to suspend trials for 120 days will be heard by two judges on Wednesday. The move was made so that the administration can re-examine the trial process. President Obama has said he wants to close the controversial center. To explain what this suspension means, we turn to Walter White an international human rights lawyer, former chair of the Human Rights section of the American Bar Association, who is currently at the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School.

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The Takeaway

A speech called 'home'

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama gives the inaugural address today. No doubt it will be a soaring narrative that will have interwoven into it concepts of unity, agency, responsibility, hope, the promise of this great nation, a collective destiny, hard work, et cetera. And the speech will matter. It will be the answer to a Dream for many, and for others, as poet Saul Williams has expressed; it will have been "such a long way to travel just to reach the beginning."
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The Takeaway

Back to work in Washington

Monday, January 19, 2009

After a celebratory concert at the Lincoln Memorial, President-elect Obama offered words of inspiration and notes of caution to the nation. He said he needed time to show positive change in the country. Once the pomp of inauguration is done, Congress has a long and strategic list to get through. Here with a look at that list is Todd Zwillich, reporter for Capitol News Connection in Washington.

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The Takeaway

The Bush presidency: Your best summaries in eight words or fewer

Friday, January 16, 2009

President George W. Bush leaves office after eight controversial years. We're asking you, Takeaway listeners, to sum up the presidency in eight words or less, vote on other listeners' summaries, then add your own!

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The Takeaway

America's Briefing Book: Redesigning the FDA

Friday, January 16, 2009

Scandals like Avandia in 2007 and the recent recall of generic drugs from India have some people wondering if the Food and Drug Administration has been sampling too many free pharmaceuticals. This week in the journal Nature, Dr. Steven Nissen writes about the problems with the FDA, most notably, its "culture of secrecy." He joins us to discuss how the new Obama administration might shake things up a little.

Click here for more selections from America's Briefing Book.

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The Takeaway

What would Napolitano bring to the job of Homeland Security chief?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Confirmation hearings for members of President-elect Obama’s cabinet continue and in the hot seat today is Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, nominated as Secretary of Homeland Security. She would be the first Democrat and the first woman to fill that post. Joining The Takeaway to talk about Napolitano’s history in government is Matt Benson, a political reporter who covers the governor’s office for the Arizona Republic.

Want more information on Obama's key appointees? Check out our handy guide.

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The Takeaway

Another frenetic day on Capitol Hill

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Between the ongoing confirmation hearings and increasingly tense negotiations on the stimulus package and TARP, it's sure to be another momentous day on the Hill. Happily, Capitol News Connection reporter Todd Zwillich is with us as a guest host and give us all the insider details.

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The Takeaway

The new EPA under the Obama administration

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Currently Lisa Jackson is the Commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, but hopefully next week she will become the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. What lies in store for her in this role, especially since President-elect Obama is creating new environmental positions in his administration? With a new energy czar on staff, will the role of the EPA be diminished? Who better to answer these questions than Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under the Bush administration?

For on President-elect Obama's cabinet picks, check out our handy guide.

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The Takeaway

Bad Cop: Profiling Democrats at the DOJ

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An internal Justice Department report released yesterday found that a former senior official routinely used an ideological litmus test in filling what were supposed to be apolitical posts, and then lied to a Congressional panel investigating the practice. Slate Senior Legal Correspondent Dahlia Lithwick joins us to examine why the official won't be prosecuted, and looks at the larger trend of not holding Bush Administration officials accountable.

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