Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday, March 23

In the LA Times, the Opinion section of the paper includes an article written by Joyce Appleby comparing Obama to Roosevelt. It states that in 1934, Franklin Roosevelt felt the same sort of urgency of moving the country in a new direction. He faced hardships left and right, including the rise of Hitler as well as the fall of his New Deal coalition. However, FDR was able to win over the men and women under his presidency by initiating radio talks, and becoming the provider of entertainment and news for many poor people, and keeping tabs of local papers. He was able to reassure Americans that he was strengthening their traditional institutions. Obama is somewhat in the same position FDR was in the past. "Obama's hope for matching Roosevelt's successful record of reform and recovery is going to rest on his pulling off an electoral victory in 2010 like FDR's 76 years ago." Can the current president do the same in 2010?

In The New York Times article, the author Helene Cooper addresses what Obama said on his interview "60 Minutes" on CBS, that a way out of Afghanistan is needed. “There’s got to be an exit strategy,” Obama said. Last month, Obama announced that he would send 17,000 more American troops to Afghanistan this summer. However, in this interview, Obama that this military build up in Afghanistan will lead to the eventual withdrawal of American and NATO troops from the country. Different from Bush's administration mission, Obama's mission in Afghanistan is “making sure that Al Qaeda cannot attack the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests and our allies," where as Bush's mission was promoting democracy, civil society and governance in Afghanistan and toward getting the country to a point where it is not used to start attacks on the United States..


Advisers To Obama Wary of Bonus Tax

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 22

Obama VS. Cheney

An article concerning Obama's response to criticism from Cheney appears in both the Los Angeles and New York Times.
In an interview that was taped Friday, the 20th, but broadcasted on Sunday, March 22 on "60 Minutes" on CBS, as well as in both articles, Obama is quoted calling Bush administration policy on detainees at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, “unsustainable”, as well as “a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment.”The two newspapers are different in the way they present their stories. In the LA Times, the fact that Cheney has been criticizing Obama's decision to shut down the Guantánamo prison, along with other policies on the treatment of terrorism suspects is included in the lead, as if implying that that was the reason for the remark.

Aaron Tomlinson / Associated Press
In this photo provided by CBS News, Steve Kroft of '60 Minutes' interviews President Obama at the Oval Office on Friday, March 20, in Washington D.C.

However, in the NY Times, Cheney's opinion that Obama has put the nation at greater risk of terrorism isn't mentioned until the middle of the article. Because, there has been growing criticism of the government's handling of the financial crisis, the president also defends Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner who has been under public eye and anger over bonuses paid to Wall Street executives. His joke that if Mr. Geithner offered to resign, his response would be, “Buddy, you’ve still got the job” is present in both articles because of its prominence in our society.

In the Washington Post, an article titled, Obama Plans Anti-Drug Effort on Border to Aid Mexico
, was published. It explains how Obama attempts to help Mexican President Felipe Calderón's campaign against violent drug cartel. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be visiting Mexico City this week with the intention of designing a multi-agency security plan for the Mexico-U.S. border. Napolitano said the government is preparing plans to send more agents and intensify its investigation and prosecution of drug and gun-related activity between the border.

Obama has decided to focus on Mexico because more than 7,200 people have died in drug-related violence, prompting fears in the United States.

Friday, March 20

Los Angeles Times summarized President Obama’s Southern California trip that exposed him to both celebrity and everyday struggles. He got on "The Tonight Show" with Leno, talking about the AIG bonus scandal with details about his life inside the White House. Defending Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, he said that ultimately all this stuff is my responsibility. He had one impolitic moment when trying to make a self-deprecating joke about his bowling score of 129, saying, “That was like the Special Olympics or something.” Later after the taping, President Obama issued an apology for the remark.

The New York Times
also reported similar story. Moreover, it wrote that overall Mr. Obama, the first sitting president to be a guest on “The Tonight Show,” delivered a familiarly smooth, winning performance. Making jokes on a talk show and drawing simple analogies for complicated issues were a way to reassure and befriend viewers. He stayed benign and folksy even while discussing serious topics.

The Washington Post
ran a story of President Obama announced "unprecedented restrictions" aimed at deterring lobbyists from influencing projects under a massive economic stimulus plan and vowed that recovery efforts will not become "an excuse for waste and abuse”. He said any lobbyists who want to talk with a member of his administration about a particular Recovery Act project will have to submit their thoughts in writing, and it will be posted on the Internet for all to see.

Yada T.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Video by The Washington Post

Thursday, March 19

All three publications published a story of President Obama appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios. They all mentioned how the President was stunned when he learned of the bonuses that bailed-out insurance giant AIG was paying its employees.

Besides that, Los Angeles times wrote President Obama expressed occasional frustration with life inside the presidential bubble, and giving his pick for the NCAA basketball tournament. President Obama appeared on the show to reach a different kind of audience than he normally commands, according to the White House. He mixed serious policy discussion with details about his life as president.

The New York Times addressed the criticism that the President should be spending his time fixing the economy and not going on late-night television. The newspaper wrote his appearance on the show has also been an opportunity for Mr. Obama to communicate directly with supporters and, indeed to get some love back, away from Washington.

The Washington Post mentioned about the White House bowling alley. President Obama said, bragging that he rolled a 129-point game ("Like the Special Olympics or something," he said) which lead to a controversy.

Yada T.

Video by
First photo by Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
Second photo by Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Wednesday, March 18

Los Angeles Times reported on President Obama’s Southern California trip, where he was there to sell his economic policies. President Obama will hold town-hall-style meetings at Los Angeles and Orange County. Obama said little that was new. He fielded questions to his policies and called for the creation of more jobs. Moreover, it said he accepted the responsibility for the AIG scandal. During his visit, President Obama stressed his economic stimulus plan, including the $787-billion package approved by Congress. LA Times focused on President Obama’s stepped-up public appearances are designed to sell the economic programs across the country. But unlike other trips, California also offers the president a chance to sample a celebrity forum, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," which is part of the effort to reach out to Californians and Americans.

The Washington Post focused on the same story of President Obama using a town hall meeting to argue that he is "trying to bring balance back to our economy” and taking responsibility for the AIG scandal. The President's trip here represents the beginning of a national campaign for his budget, which he has said demands new spending to change the health-care system, energy policy and public education that may not yield result for years. Most of the questions focused on California's abysmal economy. By coming to Southern California, the popular president is selling those ideas in a region looking hard for remedies.

The New York Times
, however, covered in detail of a different topic altogether. It ran a story about President Obama and his advisers’ decision to significantly expand Afghanistan’s security forces in the hope that a much larger professional army and national police force could fill a void left by the central government and do more to promote stability in the country.

Yada T.

First photo by Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times
Second Photo by Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Third photo by Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday, March 21

On March 21rst, the LA Times ran a story about the great disappointment many athletes, and others still feel regarding Obama's Special Olympics joke on the Jay Leno show even after his apology. Caitlin Cox, a Special Olympics athlete, who suffers from down syndrome is referred to in the news story by playing up on her emotions towards her bronze medals as well as Obama before the comment made on Jay Leno and after. Prior, she was proud of her medal and got excited every time she heard Obama's name. However, when made aware of the comment by her mother, the 21-year-old, dropped her head and said that the news made her sad. Although everyone disappoints at one point or another, many were and are still crushed by the president's insensitivity that Wednesday night, because of how destructive a comment like that could be. While many feel that Obama's intentions were good, the issue demonstrated the need to further educate society on the issues that confront those with a developmental disability. While the LA Times focused on how Obama's comment continues to hurt and affect many, the New York Times took on another approach regarding the matter. Instead of focusing on the negative side of this matter, they enlightened the incident as simply a damaging slip and focused on the details on how quickly Obama realized the mistake he made, and how moving his apology was, his sincerity, and also how wonderful he thinks the Special Olympics Program is.

The Washington Post also covered this story calling it Obama's Gutter Ball Threatens to Haunt Him. They, similiar to the New York Times, took the subject more as a political sin than a personal affront to Americans and also mentioned how politically correct he adressed many other issues the same week such as mortgage securities, and public-school reform. "President Obama offended many disabled Americans, their champions, and others who puzzled over how a man who rarely misspeaks could make such a joke". The Washington Post also informed the public that during a town hall forum in Los Angeles earlier that Wednesday, a disabled man told Obama "about the true renaissance that's happening" among people with physical disabilities, asking the president how "your disability agenda will release this emerging potential that's currently wasted and untapped?""Well, you are exactly right that we need everybody," Obama responded. "And every program that we have has to be thinking on the front end, how do we make sure that it is inclusive and building into it our ability to draw on the capacities of persons with disabilities." A simple mistake in his choice of words or diction which wasn't meant to humiliate the population in any way now leaves Obama hesitant to safely discuss bowling.

Lastly, the President now faces a challenge, a Special Olympics athlete, Kolan McConiughey, who has bowled three perfect games wants to take on the president.

Also in the LA Times, a report from Washington discussed how effective will Obama's plan to let the public know exactly where the stimulus aid is going. Watchdogs complain that many of the important decisions regarding the stimulus aid aren't being made in Washington, and are instead left up to the states which may be impossible to follow under White House guidelines. Nevertheless, Obama continues his transparency theme while many doubt that the taxpayers will get the dollar-by-dollar information he promises.

Following his promise of transparency, the New York Times published an article discussing Obama's outlined plan to help prevent waste in economic stimulus package. Obama issued a directive requiring that lobbyists put in writing their requests about the projects they believe should be awarded from the $787 billion economic stimulus package. “No plan is perfect,” Mr. Obama said. “And I can’t stand here and promise you that not one single dollar will slip through the cracks, but what I can promise you is that we will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Agressive Campaigning

The Los Angeles Times front page story focuses on Obama's struggle to get the GOP's support and how he's been "combative" toward Republicans. Campaign supporters are being urged to contact Congress and others are running ads targeting republicans for just saying "no" without attempting to come up with some productive ideas. "'Just say no is the right advice to give your teenager about drugs," the president said. "It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party." Obama is visiting swing states and will even make an appearance on Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show", which a sitting-president has never done before, all in an attempt to "pressure lawmakers to back Obama's plans in Congress, particularly his $3.6 trillion budget." The money will be used to revamp health care, convert to alternative fuel and stabilize the financial sector. He's working overtime to lift his approval rating after the hard-hitting news about AIG. The Pew poll reports his rating at 59% from 64% last month and Opinion Research recorded a 3% drop.

The second most important news story is a follow up on AIG's executive bonuses. There is a mess of legalities in getting the $165 million dollars back, legal experts say. Since the government owns 80% of the company, lawsuits would inadvertently be against the government. The Obama administration is trying to attach bold-prints to AIG's next round of bailout money that would strategically get the bonus money to the taxpayers. To no avail, bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $6.5 million would remain in the hands of 400 employees in the company's Financial Products Division. Hope lies in New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo who will subpoena AIG to figure out if they committed fraud early on by agreeing to the contracts early last year that would have otherwise prevented them from being paid.

A third story about Obama appeared today in the Nation section of The Times. During Obama's campaign he promised to declare Armenian genocide, but he delayed the declaration because of "worries that Turkey's aid in the Mideast would be at risk. The Ottoman Turks killed the Armenian's in 1915 and descendants are seeking the affirmation. Obama will visit Turkey on April 5 and Amenian Americans are pushing for a declaration on April 24, the annual remembrance day. Obama wants to be able to "use Turkey as part of the military supply line for Afghanistan. It also would like more help regarding Iraq, Iran's nuclear program, Russia and Mideast peace." A U.S. statement could break the progress Turkey and Armenia have been making like talks of "opening borders and embasies, initiating economic cooperation and establishing a historical commission."

The Washington Post lead with the AIG bonuses story, reporting that the Obama administration is being hit hard by the news of AIG's $165 million executive bonuses. This may be the blow that hurts his congressional and public support. The Post was the first to release the AIG story yesterday and, once again, Obama quickly responded. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was questioned about why AIG wasn't stopped from giving millions out of their billions in bailout money to the executives. Gibbs' answered that government lawyers are looking to "wrest these bonuses".

You Tube: MSNBC

The New York Times also focuses on AIG, but there is no direct focus on Obama. The NY Times does mention Obama's trip to California on Wednesday whereas the LA Times does not. The rest of the story is similar to the LA Times.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The AIG "Executive Bonus" Bailout

The Los Angeles Times ran the AIG story on the front cover, but it wasn't directly addressed to Obama and how he's losing more and more support. It's directed at the question: what banks have been paid after AIG "received an $85 billion loan from the Fed in September"? The purpose for asking is: "Did AIG make a deal with their bank clients to pay less than what was in the contracts in order to save U.S. funds"? The government bailed out AIG because of their investment in these banks. They didn't want AIG to be the cause of all these other banks failing. The story continues on about all the anger felt by this news.

In The Times Business section, they use Bloomberg News to report on Obama's plan to help small businesses by getting them loans. The story was reported yesterday on and in the Washington Post, but both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times did not have the story until today. Interestingly, the Los Angeles Times focused on the future of today's meeting.

The Washington Post ran a story on Obama's effort to get Congress to pass a $3.55 trillion budget. His campaign, the Democratic National Committee, will rely on a list with 13 million e-mail addresses on it. David Plouff who was Obama's campaign manager and is now "a conduit to the army of Obama volunteers" sent an e-mail getting people to go door to door to get more signatures in support of Obama's budget. Though the story is more focused on Plouff, Obama's presence is still in the story.

The New York Times wrote the small businesses story today in a blog the Times call "The Caucus" It was posted at 1:43 p.m. with this image. The caption says, "President Obama and Secretary of Treasury Timothy F. Geithner met with small business owners and community lenders..." The Obama administration will use $15 billion to buy up securities linked to small-business loans. Small businesses have been struggling because of the credit freeze. These funds will be used to jump-start small businesses.

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times

The AIG story was also in the New York Times. The focus was on President Obama demanding the U.S. Treasury "to pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses". Other money issues pertaining to AIG were also addressed.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obama: 100 Days By Our Times and The Post

The Los Angeles Times ran two stories pertaining to President Obama in the paper today. The first ran inside the Nation's section about China's concerns over US bonds. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he was "definitely a little worried" to which Obama responded less than a day later he has "absolute confidence" in US Treasury Bonds. The story is less important than the front page story in the California section because his statement was made yesterday and it doesn't have the proximity factor.

Obama will name six new federal judges for California and "court-watchers are recalling his promises to make bi-partisanship selections with 'empathy' and 'heart'". Apparently, Bush conservatively appointed three of the state's four district courts during his presidency so Obama most likely won't affect them because those judges still need to finish their terms, but the San Francisco based appeals court has two vacant chairs and one opening early next year. It is here we will most likely see Obama's "stamp on the judiciary".

The Washington Post ran a story on a Food Safety Working Group that will upgrade food safety laws. He criticized the Bush administration for his lack of food safety policies that would protect the public's health. He named former New York City health chief Margaret A. Hamburg as his new Food and Drug Administration commissioner. Next, Obama will be asking Congress for $1 billion in funds for the agricultural department.

The New York Times ran a front page story about Obama's search for a new pastor after he "cut ties to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. in the heat of the presidential campaign". He has found five "evangelical pastors for private prayer sessions on the telephone and for discussions on the role of religion in politics". The White House refused to comment,but all five pastors have been quoted in the story. It is certainly a novel story that is more of an interest piece than a formal story.

Photo: Will Shilling/Associated Press

Rev. Jim Wallis (above): “He and I were what we called back then ‘progressive Christians,’ as opposed to the dominant religious-right era we were in then. We didn’t think Jesus’ top priorities would be capital gains tax cuts and supporting the next war.”

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Asosociated Press

Rev. Kirbyjon H. Caldwell (above): “While he may not put ‘Honk if You Love Jesus’ bumper stickers on the back of his car, he is the kind of guy who practices what he preaches.” “He has a desire to keep in touch with folk outside the Beltway, and to stay in touch with God. He seems to see those as necessary conditions for maintaining his internal compass.”

Photo: John Raoux/Associated Press

Rev. Joel C. Hunter (above): “The times I have prayed with him, he’s always initiated it.”

Photo: Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser

Rev. Otis Moss Jr. (above): “I would simply say that he is a person of great faith, and I think that faith has sustained him.”

Photo: Ron Phillips/TriStar Pictures

Bishop T.D. Jakes (above): “You take turns praying. It’s really more about contacting God than each other.”


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday, March 14th

The New York Times' only story pertaining directly to President Obama today was a summary of his speech about the economy on Friday. These remarks were previously covered by both the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, but this article goes into more depth about Obama's remarks and the reaction from the Republican National Committee and the White House press secretary. The R.N.C. sent out an email comparing Obama's optimistic speech to one given by presidential candidate John McCain in September. McCain was mocked by Democrats for appearing too positive about a failing economy, but on Friday Republican representative John A. Boehner of Ohio criticized the Obama administration for "changing their economic message." Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Obama was not overly chipper about the state of the economy, but was still confident and hopeful that it would improve sooner rather than later.

A tour bus in Havana. The U.S. will now allow Cuban Americans to visit relatives in Cuba once a year. (Javier Galeano, Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Times also published a review of the president's remarks on the economy. In addition, they had two opinion columns regarding the mounting political tension between Cuba and the United States. Several Latin American leaders have spoken out against the embargo the U.S. has in place against Cuba. Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to denounce the embargo as "anachronistic, vindictive and counterproductive" and push for a change in the Obama administration's foreign policy with Cuba on his visit to the White House on Saturday. Obama has already taken steps to liberalize relations with Cuba. He supports annual visits for Cuban-Americans to family in Cuba, instead visits once every three years as is allowed now. He also ended a requirement that made Cubans have to pay cash in advance for food imported from the U.S. Lula and many other Latin American leaders hope that eventually all the restrictive laws of the embargo will be changed or repealed.

The top Obama story in the Wall Street Journal was Saturday's presidential address in which Obama announced top Food and Drug Administration appointments. Margaret Hamburg, an internationally recognized leader in public health and medicine, will become the Commissioner of the F.D.A., and Joshua Sharfstein, current Commissioner of Health for the city of Baltimore, will join her as Principal Deputy Commissioner. Obama also announced the creation of a new Food Safety Working Group, where cabinet secretaries and senior officials will advise him on how to update and enforce food safety laws to ensure that America's food supply is safe.

- Nia

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, March 13th

The Wall Street Journal published two speculative articles today. The first, "Risks Lurk in Obama’s Poll Numbers", comments on President Obama's popularity, and how his approval ratings are positive but not exceptionally high for a president who has assumed the presidency after the term of an unpopular president. Reporter Jerry Seib warns that once the Republican party finds a new figurehead to represent the party, support for Obama may wane quickly. The second article, titled "How Obama Will Handle U.S. Attorney Posts Still Unclear", reviews the courses of action that former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush took to replace existing U.S. attorneys with ones that more closely reflected the views of their respective political parties. Obama's U.S. Attorney appointments will be important because an internal review found that some of Bush's appointments may have been tainted by political considerations.

The New York Times reports that Obama will be the first president to skip the first Gridiron Dinner of his presidency since Grover Cleveland. The dinner is held annually by the Gridiron Club, the oldest and most exclusive journalistic organization in Washington, D.C, and usually features remarks from the president. Vice President Joe Biden will attend in place of Obama.

A business front in Moneygall, Ireland, where President Obama has ancestral ties (James Baer, L.A. Times)

The Los Angeles Times carries no "hard" news articles about Obama's recent actions, but instead reports on the Irish village of Moneygall. Moneygall, population of 298, has developed Obama fever after it was discovered two years ago that some of Obama's ancestors were linked to the town. Residents have affectionately nicknamed the U.S. president "O'Bama".

- Nia

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 12th

Obama's full address to the Business Roundtable (Bloomberg)

In the New York Times, the main story about Obama focuses on how yesterday he signed another spending bill, this one totaling $41 billion, and how many house Democrats want to implement restrictions on the pork barrel projects that were present in both stimulus bills.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story about Obama's call for wealthier nations to increase their monetary support for the economies of developing nations. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner elaborated to the press that the US government is urging other developed nations to increase their financial contributions to the International Monetary Fund. The Times also reveals that Obama is about to announce that former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg will be his pick to head the Food and Drug Administration.

The Wall Street Journal covered in detail Obama's remarks to the Business Roundtable. He announced that there are three key areas of the economy he wants to focus on: "green" business, education, and affordable healthcare.

- Nia