Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Obama has left the building

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.

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.

(If you don’t get it, ask a teenager). SECURITY BUSH

TWP (The Washington Post) said the irreverence might be understandable since the agency was fairly unscathed by the WikiLeaks document extravaganza.

Congress playing chicken in lame duck session

What’s going to fly?

That’s the question on Capitol Hill where Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a game of chicken over what legislation gets approved in  the final stretch for this Congress.  PANAMA/

Everyone wants to extend middle class tax cuts, but when it comes to extending tax cuts for wealthier Americans feathers get ruffled. Republicans are demanding all of the Bush tax-cuts be extended, but Democrats cry fowl, saying the tax cuts for the wealthy are too expensive to continue.

The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats until the new Congress with a Republican majority is seated in January, will vote Thursday to extend only the middle-class tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year.

from Summit Notebook:

McCain to Gaga: I’ll save my talking for the Senate

Don't expect Senator John McCain to respond to critical Twitter comments from pop star Lady Gaga as the U.S. SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/MCCAINSenate girds for a showdown over gays in the military.

"I only Twitter with Snooki, as you know," McCain said Monday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

The Senate is expected to take up the hot-button issue on Tuesday, and McCain said he expects to focus his efforts on the floor of the Senate, not the popular microblogging service.