Watchdog Blog

Archive for the 'Obama administration' Category

Gilbert Cranberg: Bush Boycott in Iowa

On Saturday August 13th, I cleared the deck of distractions and sat glued to C-span’s coverage of the Iowa GOP’s fundraiser in Ames, the extravaganza better known as the Iowa Straw Poll. I didn’t want to miss a word. The word I especially didn’t want to miss was “Bush.” How, I wondered, would this highly [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Somebody Tell Boehner What ‘Rebuttal’ Means

Notice how House Speaker John Boehner turned a deaf ear to the president in his so-called rebuttal to Obama’s July 25 address on the debt ceiling? If you hadn’t noticed, you have plenty of company. The press evidently wasn’t paying attention either. In his talk, Obama took a hard crack at the GOP for not [...]

POGO: Open Government Advocates Meet with POTUS: A Firsthand Account

By Danielle Brian Cross-posted on POGO’s blog. Yesterday afternoon, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian—along with OMB Watch Executive Director Gary Bass, Director Patrice McDermott, National Security Archive Executive Director Tom Blanton, and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Lucy Dalglish—met with President Obama about open government issues. The meeting was originally [...]

Myra MacPherson: Of Assange, I.F. Stone, Secrecy and, Last, Sex

Unless they are diehard supporters or detractors, the first thing some people say when they talk of Julian Assange—which seems curious to me—is that he is creepy or weird looking, and then there is a quiet murmur of dissent: “What if he releases something that could damage someone or get people killed? My answer is: [...]

Barry Sussman: Justice Department Shows Its Mettle, Indicts Clemens

I got this note from a friend and colleague a little while after Roger Clemens was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 19th: “And meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, CIA officials and others who lied to Congress in sworn testimony about Iraq go free. If we can ‘look forward, not backward’ on torture, [...]

Barry Sussman: National Security and Afghanistan

The press could do better at putting Obama administration actions and assertions on Afghanistan in context. I write this simply as an old newspaper editor, not an expert. The lead story in the New York Times on Sept. 4 is an example. The first paragraph said Obama’s senior advisers are trying “to determine the proper [...]

Mary C. Curtis: Valerie Jarrett on Health Care, Poll Numbers, Town Halls and Barack Obama

On message and with a streak of steel, Barack Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett made it clear that the president is fighting back challenges to his agenda. It “takes a certain temperament, perseverance and stubbornness” to make changes in Washington, Jarrett said. She addressed poll numbers, town hall disruptions and what it will take to [...]

Dan Froomkin: That’s Entertainment!

Some reporters covering President Obama’s first high-tech town hall yesterday apparently found it boring. Which raises the question: What excites the press corps? Well, top of the list would be itself, of course. We’ll start with Frank James, who liveblogged the town hall for Tribune’s Washington bureau. Ten minutes in, he wrote: “The second question [...]

Dan Froomkin: A One-Man Destroyer of Groupthink

Chas Freeman’s selection to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council (first reported by Laura Rozen of is notable not just for his surprising (and, to some, disturbing) even-handedness about the Middle East. The man is one of a rare breed: He is a Washington insider, and yet he is also a ferociously independent [...]

Herb Strentz: I’ll Take the $4 Coat, and I’ll Wait and See about FOIA

Joan went shopping today; picked up what is called a “beach coverup,” something to toss on over a swimsuit. The “COMPARE AT” information on the price tag lists the garment’s value at $168. “OUR PRICE,” says Stein Mart, is $59.99. Joan paid $3.96! I look at the price tag, on my desk as I write [...]