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Executive Branch

The Brian Lehrer Show

State of the Union Reaction

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brian Lehrer breaks down the Obama State of the Union speech with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation; CNN's Ruben Navarette; GOP Congressman Trey Radel of Florida; Ron Kirk, US Trade Representative and Obama Cabinet official; plus your calls.

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The Takeaway

On Message: Linda Douglass on Health Care Reform

Friday, August 07, 2009

The health care reform battle has left the Beltway and has headed home with the members of Congress. The debate has gotten increasingly vitriolic as town halls have been swarmed with organized angry protesters trying to shout down Democratic Congressmen. Today The Takeaway talks to the person in charge of fighting back. Linda Douglass is director of communications for the White House Office on Health care Reform.

Here's a video of Linda Douglass addressing a story that makes it look like the President intends to eliminate private health care coverage:

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The Takeaway

Don't Tread On Me: Washington Turf Wars

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Obama administration has two approaches to the economy: they want to grow it, but they also want to regulate it in new ways. A turf war has developed between President Obama's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and a number of agencies, including the Federal Reserve, whose jurisdiction he's treading on. This week financial regulators have gone to Congress to protest Geithner's proposal to create a new agency to regulate credit cards, mortgages, and consumer debt. Stephen Labaton has been reporting on this bureaucratic battle for our partner The New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Washington Prepares Schools for the Flu

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Parents are worried about the spread of H1N1 (or swine flu) when school starts up in September. In advance of potential outbreaks, the Obama administration is finalizing guidelines that could scale back government-recommended school closings in response to outbreaks of H1N1. The goal is to keep schools open as much as possible. This fall, federal authorities will recommend closures only under "extenuating circumstances," such as if a school has many children with underlying medical conditions or if many students or staff members are already sick. For more we turn to Spencer S. Hsu, a staff writer for the Washington Post.

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The Takeaway

Dr. Regina Benjamin Nominated for Surgeon General

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

President Obama is back from his overseas trip and is focusing on domestic issues: specifically, the health care overhaul. Playing a part in the president's health care agenda is the newly nominated surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin. President Obama announced the nomination yesterday in his first appearance since returning stateside. To see the announcement in full, watch the video below.


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The Takeaway

Cheney's Secret Program: Was It Constitutional?

Monday, July 13, 2009

To talk about Dick Cheney's CIA counter-terrorism program and the rights of the Executive Branch and Congress is Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard Law School.

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The Takeaway

Securing Your Cyber World

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This week President Obama will unveil a much anticipated report on his plans to make the internet secure. He is also likely to name his new cyber-security czar. James Lewis consulted with the administration on this report and he joins The Takeaway to discuss the threats to our cybersecurity. James Lewis is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he is director of the center’s Technology and Public Policy Program.

Watch this clip from the 1995 movie Hackers to learn exactly how hackers operate.

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The Takeaway

North Africa and peace in the Middle East

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Former Maine Senator George Mitchell was appointed by President Obama to serve as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace in January. Since then he’s visited Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Filling his dance card with the rest of the Arab world, he’s now traveling in the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. But the role of these countries in the Middle East peace process is not well known. I. William Zartman, Professor Emeritus at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, joins The Takeaway with some history and an analysis.

Fore more information on George Mitchell's upcoming visit to the Middle East, watch the video below.

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The Takeaway

Ken Salazar: Sheriff of the Wild West

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ken Salazar always wore his signature Stetson hat, but the sheriff's badge is new. When he was handed the reins of President Obama's Interior Department, he discovered that the department had been operating like a frontier town with oil and gas leases sparking a modern-day gold rush, rather than a law-abiding governmental body. So Salazar pinned on the badge and is going about reinstating law and order. In Rolling Stone, Contributing Editor Tim Dickinson paints a portrait of the Interior Department under President Bush as an environment of "cronyism", "corruption", and "pervasive scandals" that will have a lasting effect on the environment and America's pocketbook. He joins The Takeaway to talk Wild West politics, the legacy of the Bush Interior Department, and whether Salazar looks good in a sheriff's badge.

An excerpt of Tim Dickinson's article, Obama's sheriff is available on Rolling Stone's website.

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The Takeaway

Revamping regulations

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is heading to Capitol Hill this morning to outline a sweeping overhaul of federal financial regulations. Early leaks of his testimony say the plan would extend regulation for the first time to all trading in financial derivatives and to companies including large hedge funds and major insurers such as AIG. Joining us this morning to look at whether this will stop the next meltdown and whether lawmakers will pass the new regulation laws, are Dan Gross, senior editor at Newsweek and columnist for Slate and Philip Coggan, capital markets editor at The Economist in London.

"It's like we're always fighting the last regulatory war, trying to stop the last bubble from happening again. And, of course, they always find a way to create something new."
—Dan Gross, senior editor at Newsweek, on economic regulation

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The Takeaway

Counterterrorism remains top priority for FBI

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Since 2001, half of all FBI agents have been assigned to uncovering terrorist attacks in the U.S. It was unclear how the Obama administration might change that, but attorney general Eric Holder is now saying that the FBI will keep counterterrorism as its top priority, even in the face of mortgage fraud and the deadly drug war on the Mexican border. This comes in a report in today's New York Times that was co-written by David Johnston, who joins us now.

For more read David Johnstone's article, White House to Keep Agencies’ Focus on Terrorism, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

The morning after: Judge rules FDA used politics, not science, to make decisions

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In 2001 dozens of public health groups around the world petitioned the FDA to make emergency contraception available over the counter, but the decision over whether to do that, and especially whether to make it available to women under the age of 18, dragged on for years bogged down in a political quagmire. Dr. Susan Wood worked at the FDA during this period as the assistant FDA Commissioner for Women’s Health. She resigned in protest to the FDA’s handling of Plan B, the brand name of the so-called morning after pill. Now, another four years later, a federal judge has ruled that the FDA wrongly bowed to the pressure of the Bush administration in its decision making process and relied on politics and not science. Susan Wood, now a research professor at the School of Public Health at George Washington University, talks with The Takeaway about where the FDA may go from here.

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The Takeaway

Gov. Jon Corzine on buying into Geithner's toxic asset plan

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's plan to get so-called toxic assets off of the nation's bank balance sheets relies on private investment firms, including pension and hedge funds investors, to buy up the bad assets. In return for the investment, the government would help minimize their risk. Despite this assurance from the government, who is willing to buy the assets and how exactly will this work? New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has a great deal of experience in both the private and public investment markets and he joins The Takeaway now to explain why these bad debts might be a good investment.

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The Takeaway

Obama taps Fugate as FEMA's new leader

Thursday, March 05, 2009

President Obama found a new head for FEMA yesterday: Craig Fugate. Fugate is the Director of Florida Emergency Management and in that role he guided the way through hurricanes and wildfires and everything else nature has thrown at the Sunshine State. Joining us for an overview of the new FEMA leader is Mark Simpson, assistant news director at WMFE and host of the local show Intersection in Orlando, Florida.

Click here for our guide to who's who in Obama's cabinet

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The Takeaway

Educator-in-chief Arne Duncan on the stimulus bill

Monday, March 02, 2009

Congress took a potentially transformative step when it devoted $100 billion in the stimulus package to education—the money could revive the reform efforts that began promisingly with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, joins John with details on how the dollars will be spent.

Click through for the transcript.

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The Takeaway

Pakistan's foreign minister visits Washington

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In his address last night, President Obama mentioned the need to forge a new strategy in Pakistan. This statement came while the foreign ministers of both Pakistan and Afghanistan are in Washington this week to meet with officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says that his country and Afghanistan have achieved a new level of trust that will help them work together to combat cross-border attacks. For what this might mean for the U.S. role in Pakistan and Afghanistan we turn to Owen Bennett-Jones, host of BBC Newshour and former Islamabad correspondent.

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The Takeaway

Third time's the charm? Former Gov. Gary Locke may be pick for Commerce Secretary

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Former Washington State Governor Gary Locke is reportedly President Obama’s pick for Commerce Secretary. His third pick... but hey, who’s counting? In Locke, Obama has found a nominee with extensive U.S.—China trade credentials who is also an Eagle Scout. For more details on this new pick, we are joined by Tom Banse a regional correspondent for Northwest Public Radio who covered Governor Locke from 1996 - 2004.

Who will Gary Locke be sitting next to if he becomes Commerce Secretary? Check out our handy guide to President Obama's cabinet for the answer.

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The Takeaway

Hillary Clinton arrives in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders

Friday, February 20, 2009

On Friday, Hillary Clinton arrives in Beijing for talks with China’s leaders. This is the first visit to China by a senior member of the Obama administration. Everything from the economy, climate change, trade and human rights is on the table. To talk us through the issues facing China-U.S. relations, we’re joined by Cheng Li who is research director and senior fellow at the China Centre at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. For the view from China, we turn to the BBC's Quentin Somerville in Beijing.

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The Takeaway

Washington eyes Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for head of HHS

Friday, February 20, 2009

There are reports that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is about to be selected as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in President Obama’s cabinet. She has a history of involvement in health care reform in Kansas. And, as a Democrat in a largely Republican state, she’s developed a reputation for bipartisanship. We’re joined by Steve Kraske at KCUR in Kansas City, a political columnist for the Kansas City Star and public affairs talk show host in KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, who has followed Ms. Sebelius' political career. We are also joined by Time Magazine's Jay Newton-Small for some Washington perspective.

Who else is in President Obama's cabinet? Check out our handy guide!

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The Takeaway

Our listeners' takes on race relations in the U.S.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We asked our listeners to respond to Attorney General Eric Holder's statement that we are "a nation of cowards" when it comes to race. As usual, the responses came fast and furious from across the nation.

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