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The Takeaway

Washington Takeout: President's Nobel Award Stokes GOP Outrage

Monday, October 12, 2009

President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win caused an outcry among some Republicans, who say he does not deserve the honor. Will loud objections hurt the president — or the GOP? Julie Mason, White House correspondent for The Washington Examiner, looks for an answer.

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The Takeaway

Taliban Attacks Pakistani Military Headquarters

Monday, October 12, 2009

Militants linked to the Taliban launched a bold attack on Pakistan’s army headquarters this weekend. The Pakistan army took back the building, but at least 41 people were killed. The attack raised questions about Pakistan's ability to keep their security infrastructure – including their nuclear weapons – safe, and whether the U.S. will need to deal directly with the Taliban in order to stabilize the region. We speak to Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and BBC Islamabad correspondent Aleem Maqbool.

"What the (Pakistan) army does, is it has a fairly rigorous means of trying to sort out those kinds of people. They don't mind people being religiously oriented; in fact, many of the people in the junior ranks are. But they want their loyalty to be to the military first."
—Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst, on how Pakistan's military ensures against their members joining the Taliban

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The Takeaway

Afghanistan Troop Level Debate Heats Up

Monday, October 05, 2009

This week will mark the eight-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and the casualty rate is ticking upward. The United States lost eight troops in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, lending more urgency to the debate over what the Obama administration's next steps will be in Afghanistan.

We talk to Andrew Bacevich, professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is author of "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"; and Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and a former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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The Takeaway

Washington: The White House's Big Pharma Deal

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, joins us with a look at a deal the White House reached earler this year with drug companies. The deal stipulated that pharmaceutical companies would cut name-brand drug prices by 50% for seniors who aren't covered under Medicare's drug plan. In exchange, the White House promised no further cuts to the pharmaceutical industry. While both the White House and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) want to honor the deal, some Democrats are appalled by the seeming kowtowing to special interests.

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The Takeaway

Dodd Wants to Merge Regulators

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) plans to push for a "super-regulator" that would merge the four agencies currently regulating the banking industry. Dodd wants a smaller role for the Federal Reserve; this plan conflicts with President Obama's plans for regulation. Louise Story, reporter for The New York Times, tells us why.

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The Takeaway

Outbursts, Apologies and Incidentally, Health Care

Friday, September 11, 2009

The president laid out his plans for health care reform Wednesday night — or at least he tried to. He woke up Thursday morning to see that the headlines were stolen by an outburst from a little-known congressman from South Carolina. This morning we talk to our man on Capitol Hill, Todd Zwillich, and Jay Newton-Small, Washington reporter for Time Magazine, about apologies and how the latest uninsured numbers will shape the health care debate from here on out.

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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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The Takeaway

U.S. Deficit Projected to Reach $9 Trillion

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

President Obama may soon face a new obstacle to his plan to reform health care: a growing pool of budgetary red ink. The White House Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office will release new estimates today on the size of the U.S. deficit.  Both agencies are expected to say the deficit will reach $9 trillion over the next decade, which is a $2 trillion increase from previous projections. We speak with Linda Bilmes, Harvard professor of public finance and co-author, with Joseph Stiglitz, of the book "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict."

"There are only 2 ways to pay it off: either to raise taxes or to cut spending. And neither of those are things we want to do until the recession is over." — Linda Bilmes, Harvard professor of public finance and co-author of the book "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict."

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The Takeaway

DOJ to Investigate Alleged CIA Abuses

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Justice Department recommended yesterday that Attorney General Eric Holder re-open and examine cases of alleged abuse of suspected al-Qaeda members.  The abuse allegedly took place in secret CIA prisons during former President George W. Bush's administration. To go over the details, we have Vijay Padmanabhan, visiting assistant professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York City, and Mark Danner, author of the book “Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror.”

Read the Inspector General's report on interrogations (via NYTimes)

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The Takeaway

'Cash for Clunkers' Cashed Out

Friday, August 21, 2009

We’ve heard it before, but this time it might just stick: The Department of Transportation announced yesterday that the popular Cash for Clunkers program, which allows you to trade in your old gas-guzzler for up to $4500 towards a new fuel efficient car, is done as of Monday, August 24th. Although Congress added $2 billion to the program just weeks ago, the program's popularity means the money has run out far sooner than expected. To explain what is happening we talk to Micheline Maynard, senior business correspondent for the New York Times. We also talk to Brian Willian, the sales manager at Albany Honda in Georgia. He is awaiting a check from the government to reimburse him for the clunkers he's paid for under the program.

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The Takeaway

Making Change or Making Noise: Obama's Healthcare Town Hall

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last week, opponents of healthcare reform began their most recent strategy: raucous shout-downs at town hall meetings with U.S. senators and representatives. Tonight, President Obama is holding his first town hall meeting since the protests hit the news. The president will try to sell his plan to ordinary Americans in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We talk to Corey Lewandowski, who is organizing a protest in Portsmouth this afternoon. Princeton historian Julian Zelizer joins us to look at the role of grassroots protests in the current healthcare debate and throughout history.

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The Takeaway

John Podesta: The Most Influential Unofficial Official?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Many people received thanks for the safe return of two American journalists imprisoned in North Korea, including Bill Clinton, President Obama, and ... John Podesta? The former Chief of Staff under President Clinton and the mastermind behind President Obama’s White House transition is rarely in the headlines these days, but he is hard at work behind the scenes. Between his work bridging the two most recent Democratic presidencies, and starting an influential liberal think tank (the Center for American Progress), he might just be the powerful "unofficial official" in Washington. Josh Gerstein, the White House correspondent for Politico gives us his take on John Podesta.

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The Takeaway

Last Call: Reactions to the Beer Summit

Friday, July 31, 2009

As President Obama and Vice President Biden welcomed Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr and police Sergeant James Crowley to the beer summit, people were joining them in spirit at bars across Boston. Radio Reporter Philip Martin was there to get a take on what people hoped the meeting would accomplish.

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The Takeaway

Anatomy of a News Conference

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last night President Obama addressed the nation during a primetime news conference. The number one item on the president's agenda was health care reform, but other issues popped up, too. The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich was there for it all and he joins the show with his analysis. Also joining the roundtable conversation are Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard, and David Wall Rice, a professor of psychology at Morehouse college and author of Balance: Advancing Identity Theory by Engaging the Black Male Adolescent.

"The standard insurance product that most people have is an umbrella full of holes. That is, if you have a really serious illness you'll still be bankrupted, even if you keep the standard insurance policy."
—Dr. Steffie Woolhandler on health care

Here the president addresses concerns about Medicare in the health care debate:

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda with Marcus Mabry and Jonathan Marcus

Monday, July 06, 2009

It's Monday morning and we've got all the news you'll need to keep an eye on in the week ahead. President Obama travels to Russia, Italy and Ghana. Michael Jackson's funeral is expected to paralyze parts of Los Angeles and the sagas of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford continue. Plus, we'll get a better idea of how the U.S. offensive in Afghanistan is going. The Takeaway is joined by Marcus Mabry, International Business Editor for our partner The New York Times, and Jonathan Marcus, diplomatic correspondent for our partner the BBC. Jonathan Marcus is currently in Moscow to witness the meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev.

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The Takeaway

Obama's Drug Czar on Fighting Illegal and Legal Drugs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

President Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowski is dealing with a rise in the abuse of prescription drugs, ongoing violence along our border with Mexico and the legacy of the war on drugs. Kerlikowski, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, talks to The Takeaway about fighting drug cartels and the need for public education about the dangers of prescription painkillers.

"Electronic prescription process...cuts down on the potential abuse of a doctor over-prescribing. But it also looks at the patients who are going to multiple doctors which can be incredibly dangerous."
— Gil Kerlikowski of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on electronic prescriptions

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The Takeaway

Return to Damascus: Obama Will Appoint Ambassador

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Obama administration announced yesterday that the president will appoint a U.S. Ambassador to Syria. The U.S. has not had an official presence in Damascus since the Bush administration yanked its ambassador in 2005 after the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The move appears to show how much Obama wants Syria’s cooperation on a host of issues from Iran to Iraq to a Mideast peace deal. The Takeaway talks to Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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The Takeaway

Iran, Health Care— and Smoking: Takeaway Roundtable

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When President Obama spoke to the nation yesterday he touched on everything from the ongoing political turmoil in Iran to health care here at home to his trouble quitting smoking. These are issues that affect communities all over the country, so we're checking in with some of our partner stations this morning to help us take the pulse of America. The Takeaway is joined by Jerome Vaughn, news director at WDET in Detroit, Joshua Johnson, anchor with WLRN Miami Herald News, and Marc Steiner who hosts the Marc Steiner show on WEAA in Baltimore.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Reshapes the Financial System

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The financial industry is getting a makeover. Today President Obama will lay out some of the most significant changes to the U.S. financial system since the Great Depression. For a look at some of the reforms we might see, The Takeaway talks to Peter Morici. He's an economist and professor at the University of Maryland's School of Business.

"If they're too big to fail, they're often too big to sell, even in their pieces."
— Economist Peter Morici on U.S. banks

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The Takeaway

Obama's White House: The Rule of the Czars

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Obama administration has created, by one count, 21 "czars"—a pay czar, a car czar, a health reform czar, an urban czar. Joining The Takeaway is Shirley Anne Warshaw, presidential scholar and author of “The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney”; she explains what this proliferation says about President Obama's leadership style.

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