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President Barack Obama

The Takeaway

President Obama and the Armed Forces

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

After recent visits by President Obama to Fort Hood, Dover Air Force Base and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, we discuss the relationship the president has with the armed services and service members, and how those relationships might inform his upcoming Afghanistan troop decision. We speak with Leo Shane, Stars and Stripes White House correspondent, and Richard Kohn, professor of military history at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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The Takeaway

Obama Meets With Native Americans

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Today, President Obama follows up on a campaign promise: He is sitting down with 564 Native American and Alaskan Native leaders as part of the White House Tribal Nations Conference. It is the first time tribal leaders have been invited to the White House since Bill Clinton did it in the '90s. Can something be gained from bringing so many leaders together in one place, or is it all just for show? For answers, we turn to Ivan Posey, chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in Wyoming; Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, director of Indian Health Service for the Obama administration; and Victor Merina, senior correspondent for Reznet, a Native American news web site.

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The Takeaway

Assessing GOP Wins in NJ and VA, Loss in NY-23

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Despite President Obama’s repeated appearances on the campaign trail, Democrats lost both of the gubernatorial elections up for grabs yesterday. Does this mean that the president has lost some of his political clout? Or were local voters simply interested in local concerns? To assess the political implications of the Republican wins in historically blue New Jersey and purple Virginia, we speak to WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly and Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney.

In New York's 23rd, however, weeks of drama culminated in a Democrat taking the historically red congressional district. We speak again with Brian Mann, a reporter with North Country Public Radio.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Stumps for New Jersey Governor

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WNYC political reporter Bob Hennelly joins us with a look at the race for the New Jersey governor's seat. Incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine has faced a steep battle to retain his seat, and President Barack Obama has joined in his fight. But is Corzine's struggle a sign of decreased popularity for the president?

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda With Marcus Mabry and Jonathan Marcus

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marcus Mabry, international business editor for our partner, The New York Times, and Jonathan Marcus, diplomatic correspondent for our partner, the BBC, look at the week ahead, primarily at the violence in central Asia. They will also peek ahead at what's going to happen with Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Eastern Europe, and examine the latest on Afghanistan's election controversy and how that will affect the White House's decision on troop levels there. All that and how the latest bombings in Iran affect ongoing meetings about their nuclear program.

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The Takeaway

Locals React to President's New Orleans Visit

Friday, October 16, 2009

President Obama visited New Orleans yesterday for the first time since he was elected, fulfilling a campaign promise he'd made as a candidate to see the city's recovery firsthand. Some locals were frustrated, however, that the president stayed for only four hours. We spoke yesterday with Bill Barrow, staff reporter for the Times Picayune, and invited him back this morning to discuss what the president managed to do in those four hours. We also speak with with Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm, a nonpartisan advocacy group focused on Katrina recovery, and Nolan Rollins, president & CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans.

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The Takeaway

New Orleans Locals Anticipate President's Visit

Thursday, October 15, 2009

President Obama heads to New Orleans tomorrow — his first trip to the Big Easy since becoming president. His plans include a visit  to a charter school and holding a town hall meeting while he’s there. But some residents think the four hours he’s spending in their city is too short a time to hear the problems facing the city. Today we ask some New Orleans locals what they want the president to address. We hear from Clarence White, a social worker with Unity Welcome Home, a homelessness outreach organization; Diana Pinckley, with Woman of the Storm, a coastal rebuilding group; Eric Jensen, director of youth engagement for the Afterschool Partnership; and Bill Barrow, staff reporter for The Times-Picayune.

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The Takeaway

President Obama's UN Debut

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yesterday President Obama took to the international stage as he made his United Nations debut. From yesterday’s climate change summit to tomorrow’s nuclear disarmament talk — and anticipated flourishes from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi along the way — we take a look at President Obama’s global positioning with worldly thinkers Richard Wolffe and Reihan Salam. Richard Wolffe is a journalist and author of the bestselling book "Renegade: The Making of a President." Reihan Salam is a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor of The American Scene.

Watch the president's address to the United Nations:

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The Takeaway

The Late Show with President Obama

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

President Obama added another TV appearance to his recent media tour last night. He stopped by the fabled couches of "The Late Show with David Letterman" and brought his bully pulpit with him. Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times joins us with a look at whether the president's policy goals were met by his late-night appearance. And Delaina Dixon, founder of delainadixon.com, brings us her thoughts on whether the president was more fun to watch than stupid pet tricks.


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The Takeaway

Selling Health Care Reform: Advice for the President

Friday, September 18, 2009

President Obama campaigned on an agenda of change: change for health care, change for the environment and change for the nation. Ten months into his presidency, those changes have proved hard to come by. In his upcoming article for The New York Times Magazine, Matt Bai writes about what President Obama needs to do to win over the American people and pass his ambitious agendas, including health care reform.

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The Takeaway

Baucus Caucus Far From Raucous

Friday, September 18, 2009

Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) has been getting a lot of attention lately for his leadership in the health care debate ... not all of it good. Our Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich explains how isolated Baucus is these days on Capitol Hill.

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The Takeaway

How Legislative Giants Might Get Health Care Done

Friday, September 18, 2009

The national uproar surrounding the effort to reform health care has us wondering: How did anyone ever get changes to health care passed? And what lessons can be learned from the notable failures (*cough* Clinton *cough*)? Political consultant Bob Shrum, former senior advisor to Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. John Kerry and Vice President Al Gore as well as former speechwriter for Sen. Ted Kennedy, gives us a look at the legislative magic of LBJ's Medicaid bill and how he might get health care reform done today.

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The Takeaway

President Obama's Media Blitz

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This weekend President Obama is planning on a media blitz. He is slated to appear on five political talk shows (and David Letterman) in a continuing bid to take back ownership of health care reform debate. James Morone, political science professor at Brown University and author of The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office, looks at whether the president is doing enough to reclaim the health care issue.

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The Takeaway

Rep. Joe Wilson and the Race Conversation

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Despite hopes that electing our first black president would usher in a "post-racial" era, race has become a prominent issue in the Obama presidency. From overt cases – the Henry Louis Gates incident – to more coded and/or ambiguous examples – the "birther" movement, Representative Joe Wilson's outburst on the House floor – racial flare-ups have featured prominently in the first seven months of this, our first African-American-led administration. Now, the conversation about Wilson's yell last week has increasingly turned to its racial implications. Earlier this week, former President Jimmy Carter said Wilson's outburst was racist. (The White House disagreed.) For two perspectives on the way this conversation is playing out, we speak to Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African American Studies at Duke University, and Joe Hicks, talk show host for KFI Radio in Los Angeles, California.

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The Takeaway

Standing on Wall St, Obama Pushes For Financial Reform

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On the one-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, President Obama visited New York City to make a case for expanding federal regulation of Wall Street. To parse the President's speech and the impediments to regulatory reform as the economy's nosedive slows, we speak with Arthur Levitt, a senior advisor at the Carlyle Group and former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. We also speak with Peter Morici, an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland.

"We have institutions, banks, who are too big to fail. The government has taken the position of salvaging just about every major financial institution in America. That has a vast, vast danger to the system. "
—Arthur Levitt, senior advisor with the Carlyle Group and former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, on the danger inherent in saving large financial institutions

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The Takeaway

Politics and Politesse Around Health Care Debate

Friday, September 11, 2009

The biggest task for President Obama in his speech on Wednesday night was to take back the health care debate after a chaotic summer where unruly town halls and misrepresentations dominated the headlines. Yesterday, it seemed, some of that chaos continued, much of it centered on two words blurted by Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina): “You lie!” Wilson shouted the words in response to the president’s claim that no illegal immigrants would receive health care under his plan. Yesterday, after a request from GOP leadership, Wilson apologized for his outburst, calling it "spontaneous." For a look at how politics changed for Republicans this week we speak to Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been working on its own health care bill. We also talk to Jackie Calmes, Washington correspondent for the New York Times, about the raucous disagreement between the political parties and what it means for health care reform. (Read the full interview transcript)

In case you missed the presidential address, here it is in its entirety:

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The Takeaway

Representative Joe Wilson, Heckler

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There was a moment during the president's address to Congress last night when all eyes were not on President Obama. As the president called "untrue" the canard that health care reform would provide coverage to undocumented immigrants, Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) broke a decades-long tradition of comity and heckled the president, shouting "You lie!" The room booed his poor manners. To find out who Joe Wilson is, we talk to Mark Quinn, host of South Carolina ETV and Radio’s Public Affairs Program, The Big Picture. And for a look at the history of congressional comity we speak with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Watch Wilson's outburst in this clip from last night's address:

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The Takeaway

Motor City Hosts a Health Care Town Hall

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WDET hosted a town hall meeting in Detroit yesterday to discuss (what else?) health care reform. Craig Fahle, host of WDET's Detroit Today, moderated the meeting; he joins us with a recap of a refreshingly civil and informative discussion.

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The Takeaway

Undecided Listeners React to President's Speech

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last night President Obama used his bully pulpit to make a very specific pitch for health care reform before a joint session of Congress... and, incidentally, the watching American public. The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, gives us the highlights. Before the speech, we spoke to some of our listeners who were unconvinced by the current state of the health care reform debate and the plans for reform promoted by Congress. Today, we check back in with Faith Dow of California, Brad Bynum in Oklahoma, and Troy Erickson from North Dakota, to see if the president won their support.

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The Takeaway

Health Care Battle: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Thursday, September 10, 2009

President Obama’s push to reform the nation's health care system is not a new fight. It has been a battle fought by just about every occupant of the Oval Office for the past 75 years. From Roosevelt to Eisenhower to LBJ and Nixon to both Clintons, universal health coverage has been a long-fought campaign. We speak to James Morone, political science professor at Brown University and co-author of The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office, about waging war in Washington.

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