Washington Extra – Obama has left the building

December 22, 2010

obama1A very non-lame Lame Duck is just about done and President Barack Obama is off to his Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Aloha, Mr. President, and congratulations on December. Let’s take a moment to recap.

The Senate approved START today. It’s a big deal for U.S.-Russian relations and sends a clear message to Moscow: Work with us, not against us. The president killed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. It was a priority for Obama who promised on the campaign trail to end the ban on gays openly serving in the military. Democrats caved on taxes and approved Obama’s compromise with Republicans — giving the president a chance to take credit, whether it was an optical win or something more substantial notwithstanding.

Now, some of my colleagues in the media biz think all of this adds up to a Comeback Kid moment for Obama. They see this as a great showing for a man who had the cards stacked against him after Democrats’ November drubbing. It’s not a completely off-base analysis, but it is a bit too dramatic for Extra.

Instead, we’ll just go with what the president himself had to say: “If there’s any lesson to draw from these past few weeks, it’s that we are not doomed to endless gridlock. We’ve shown in the wake of the November elections that we have the capacity not only to make progress, but to make progress together.”

With that, Reuters Washington Extra will close out 2010. Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it. Happy long weekend to those of you who do not. And Happy New Year to us all. Talk with you again in 2011.

Here are our top stories from Washington today…

U.S. challenges China wind power aid at WTO

The United States on Wednesday accused China of illegally subsidizing the production of wind power equipment and asked for talks at the World Trade Organization, the first step in filing a trade case. USTR estimated Chinese manufacturers of wind turbines and related parts and components could have received several hundred million dollars in questionable government grants in 2008 under China’s “Special Fund for Wind Power Manufacturing.”

For more of this story by Doug Palmer, read here.

U.S. military to allow gays, but rules will take time

President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a landmark law to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military for the first time, but it could be many months before a move some top officers warn may endanger troops will finally take effect.  The Pentagon is drafting new rules following the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which Congress passed this month, to cheers from opponents of a long-standing policy that forced gay service members to hide their sexuality.

For more of this story by Missy Ryan, read here.

U.S. Senate ratifies nuclear arms treaty with Russia

The U.S. Senate approved a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with Russia on Wednesday, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory in his drive to improve ties with Moscow and curb the spread of atomic weapons to other nations.  The Senate voted 71-26 in favor of the treaty after a contentious debate with Republican leaders that threatened traditional bipartisanship on national security affairs.

For more of this story by David Alexander and Thomas Ferraro, read here.

Republican calls for pause on Dodd-Frank rules

Implementation of the new U.S. financial reform law should be delayed for a year so regulators have more time to understand the impact of rules they are writing, a key House Republican said in an interview with Reuters.  Representative Randy Neugebauer of Texas, who will head the House of Representatives Financial Services oversight subcommittee next year, said the “pause” would allow regulators to study whether a rule required by the law would do more harm than good.

For more of this story by Dave Clarke, read here.

What we are blogging…

CIA on WikiLeaks — WTF
The CIA gets the prize for the most entertaining acronym in Washington, a city that cannot speak without using at least one in every sentence. The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has formed the WikiLeaks Task Force which is being referred to in-house as WTF.
For Toby Zakaria’s full post, click here.

From elsewhere…

Traffic tip for Santa: reflective reindeer collars
Norwegian reindeer owners have a Christmas safety tip for Santa — put reflectors on his fleet-footed animals so they won’t get hit by cars. About 2,000 reindeer have been fitted this month with reflective yellow collars or small antler tags to cut down on the car crashes that now kill 500 reindeer a year and pose a danger to motorists across Arctic Norway.

For the full story, click here.

For more stories from our Washington correspondents visit www.reuters.com and stay informed.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young (Obama arrives at Interior Department to sign Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Seems to me that you are showing you bias here. What is this ‘congratulations Mr President’ nonsense.

Come on woman report the news objectively, fight your sophomoric left wing / liberal tendencies.

I appreciate that you have never ever added value to the US economy, a classic taker not maker, but spare a thought for the rest of us who are actually productive.

We are busy and like to get objective news without having to parse the news through the context of your ideology.

Posted by eleno | Report as abusive

I just read this article and couldn’t help but notice the bias in it’s “reporting.” Curious, I then read the bio of “Extra” and of it’s author with particular interest in this phrase: “…to ensure a sophisticated file with the proper financial, political and global perspective.”

Is the obvious personal opinion and bias in this “Obama has left the building” article truly living up to that “proper” perspective?

As an adjective, ‘proper’ means “truly what something is said or regarded to be; genuine. As in, “It’s obvious Kristin hasn’t had a proper journalism education.”

As an intensifier, perhaps this would be true: “She writes like a proper democrat harlot.”

More on point, I think the adverb use of the word would be more proper. As in: “We’ll be fooled good and proper if we believe the ‘journalism’ that’s presented in Washington Extra.

I have a BA degree in Journalism and have worked in the business, at the network level, for more than 30 years. The “journalism” I learned taught that the reports we file and the stories we tell MUST take a middle-ground, showing no favoritism for any side of an issue. Our unbiased information would allow our audience to form their own, educated and fair opinions and act/react according to their own feelings and beliefs.

One major reason we’re so polarized in this country today is that our news ‘presenters’ present only THEIR side of the issues that effect us all. It’s my team and your team, or as the President said, “us” and our “enemies.” I’ll have to dig to see how Washington Extra ‘reported’ on that….

Alas, it’s clear from this blog that proper journalism isn’t being taught at either the bachelor’s or the Masters level, and that, “the proper financial, political and global perspective” isn’t really ‘ensured’ in the Washington Extra.

Posted by Chazz | Report as abusive

I’m struggling to find the “bias” Chazz suggests exists in Kristin’s Blog. After the democrats lost control of the House and seats in the Senate in November, the “lame duck” Congress passed a compromise tax bill, repealed DADT and the Senate appproved New Start. Obama observed this was acheived by executive and legislative branches of government “working together.” Obama then left for vacation. These are all indisputable facts. Where’s the bias?

Posted by amkoppelman | Report as abusive

What on earth are eleno and Chazz reading? Not only is this article unbiased, the author goes out of the way to disagree with other journalists who have placed an arbitrary label (Comback Kid) on the President and instead uses the President’s *own words* to describe the President.

It is, to my mind, quite clear that any report on this President which is not negative or is even the tiniest bit positive (use of the word ‘congratulations’ in this case), is automatically labeled by some self-described conservatives as biased!

I describe myself as a Centrist and find this report tilting toward the positive but in no way expressing bias. I find its tone *civil* — as in coming from someone who has the civility to sign off by acknowledging many of us Americans are celebrating Christmas this weekend and ALSO many of us Americans are not. I’ll now acknowledge my Centrist bias and say, “Well said, Ms Roberts!”

Posted by sobelius | Report as abusive

Glass houses. It continues to amaze me that people who post comments on Reuters, or any other site, fail to realize that they too are journalists.

Lest we forget that posting your comment is just that.. a public posting! We live in a time where publishing has been democratized to a much greater extent than it ever has in our history. Yet much of the commentary is written as if it were a private conversation and certainly much of it is nothing but yellow journalism.

So here we have folks not only unabashedly being bias in their published comments but doing so with personal insults; “never add value to the economy…classic taker” and “hasn’t had a proper education.”

What’s ironic is that they take issue with “left wing/ liberal tendencies” yet they fail to see their own biasness in their writing. Even more so when you launch your post with your journalism credentials.

Regardless of your opinion on the analysis this stuff is uncalled for and lacks tactfulness.

It’s time we, once again, embrace social graces.

Posted by MhD | Report as abusive

While the debate over politics is warranted, I confess I am amazed that no one has yet commented that Obama, our supposed leader and Commander-in-Chief, is heading off to Hawaii for Christmas while so many of us are suffering an economy that means we are lucky to have any Christmas anywhere, let alone in Hawaii! And what about our troops deployed? I bet they would rather have a Hawaiian holiday. Certainly, the President needs time to celebrate and relax. But can’t he do this in the palatial comfort of the White House? People suffering from lost jobs, economic trouble, a war, and add the tensions on the Korean peninsula, embassy bombings in Europe, and I’m disgusted that my so-called leader is going to Hawaii (not to mention the tax dollars it will cost – or did Obama get a nice political donation to pay for this?) Obama is out of touch with reality; I guess his shellacking at the mid-terms and his confession that he needs to listen better to the voice of the people was just more political rhetoric. Sorry for the rant. But this President is simply clueless on all fronts, political and leadership.

Posted by Nopolitics50 | Report as abusive

A good article. Glad the Prez gets a nice vacation. It’s not a ranch in Texas but it is his getaway from all the DC nonsense and venom, such as exists in the posts under this very casual enumeration of the legislative successes of President Obama. Regardless of the care he takes in sharing the glory, there are some who wish nothing happened at all during this lame duck session.

I’m happy for all the successes and hope the cooperation on both sides of the aisle continues in the new year.

Posted by HiF | Report as abusive

Job well done! Enjoy your vacation Mr. President!

Posted by DisgustedReader | Report as abusive


Notice: Section title = Analysis and Opinion

Enough said.

Posted by davetashner | Report as abusive

Job well done? What job was even done? This headline is correct for every day he’s been in office! I have 1 question, Where did all the Obama bumper stickers go?

Posted by billstl | Report as abusive

It baffles me that everyone seems to give Obama a pass on his personal performances in leadership. He has been on “vacation” when he is not running for re-election! His distrust of “normal, non liberal” Americans is very transparent, and that is truly the extent of his transparency! America’s real test for this new decade will be our ability to find real leaders. Obama is not a leader, and does not care about my America. That is why Americans are so sick of Washington, and our other forms of government. It is time for Americans to take control of their future. Our real risk are very high for losing our traditional American way of life if we fail to follow true visionary, American leadership.

Posted by SShelby | Report as abusive