Tales from the Trail

Obama’s 2010 budget: A book with a villain?

Any good book needs a villain, and President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget was quick to try to identify one.
 
It was right on the title page above the words 2010 Budget: “A New Era of Responsibility.”
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Take that, George W. Bush.
 
“For too long our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent,” Obama said in remarks ahead of the release of his $3.55 trillion spending blueprint, which projected a huge $1.17 trillion deficit.
 
“Large sums have been left off the books, including the true cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that kind of dishonest accounting is not how you run your family budgets at home. It’s not how your government should run its budgets either,” he said.
 
A senior official at the White House budget office, speaking anonymously, jumped on the bandwagon.
 
“We’ve inherited a real mess, both fiscally — a trillion dollar deficit — as well as an economic issue, which is severe economic downturn,” the official said. “These are the result of a profound irresponsibility, misplaced priorities and mistaken policies.”OBAMA/BUDGET
 
Hostile fire rarely goes unanswered.
 
“Trying to mask huge spending increases under the cloak of ‘fiscal responsibility’ is the height of audacity,” said Tony Fratto, Bush’s former White House spokesman specializing on economic issues.
 
“Our budgets were honest, open and transparent. Every dime spent was presented, debated, voted on and counted.”
 
“Putting temporary war spending in supplemental budgets was done to avoid permanently baking those appropriations into the Defense Department’s baseline budget,” Fratto added.

“That’s good budgeting, not a  ‘gimmick.’”

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner listens to Obama make budget remarks); Reuters/Stelios Varias (OMB employee Dennis Johnson sits behind a stack of copies of Obama’s 2010 budget)

Report: Cheney disagreed with Bush over Libby

OBAMA/So it has come to this: Dick Cheney is said to be angry at George W. Bush over Bush’s decision not to grant a pardon to Scooter Libby over the Valerie Plame affair.

That is according to long-time Cheney watcher Thomas DeFrank of the New York Daily News. DeFrank reported that former vice president Cheney repeatedly pressed Bush to pardon Lewis “Scooter” Libby, arguing that Scooter deserved a full exoneration.

Former President Bush had already kept Libby out of jail by commuting his 30-month prison sentence.

Obama’s limo is bigger

There is no contest. President Barack Obama got a bigger limousine than former President George W. Bush. It even comes with a nickname that growls, “The Beast.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday got a close look at the brand new Cadillac limo which first rolled out on the road on inauguration day to carry its special protected cargo — Obama and his wife — down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Parked in the Secret Service garage in front of Bush’s limo, which had been brand new for the former president’s inauguration in 2001, the new monster car clearly overpowered the older model.

Bush looking forward to new domestic agenda

Former President George W. Bush says he’s got a new domestic agenda — mowing the lawn and taking out the trash.

OBAMA/He says he’s looking forward to his wife Laura’s home cooking, sort of,  and plans on relaxing Wednesday on his first morning out of the White House – making Laura coffee, skimming the newspaper, calling friends, reading a book, going fishing, and taking a walk – all before 8 a.m.

“That’s what happens when you’re a Type A personality,” he said.

New White House spokesman unlocks press room door

Barack Obama’s press secretary unlocked the door to the White House press room Tuesday and was a bit surprised by how quickly reporters swarmed around him hungry for information.

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The door which acts as the barrier between the reporters’ den and the offices of White House press staff had been locked since mid-morning as the Bush White House cleared out before Obama’s people arrived.

There were no missing computer keyboard keys, but the email was not fully functional yet, Robert Gibbs said. Asked if all the “O” keys were there, he replied with a laugh, “all the keys are intact, it’s just that I don’t know the code to get in.”

Rhyming reverend gets last word at Obama inaugural

WASHINGTON – Rev. Joseph Lowery was back on stage with a president, but on Tuesday the civil-rights pioneer used his wry rhymes to welcome the U.S. leader, not skewer him as he did three years ago.  OBAMA

Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr., delivered the benediction at Barack Obama’s inauguration as first black U.S. president.

Lowery prayed for healing from a era of “greed and corruption,” and asked, in verse, for divine help toward a new beginning of racial harmony:

New president cheered, old one jeered

WASHINGTON – They came to cheer a new president. Some came to jeer the old one as well.

As a helicopter carried George W. Bush away from the U.S. capital where he has served as president for the past eight years, those in the crowd sang the taunting sports anthem, “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye.”  OBAMA/

The 43rd president certainly didn’t hear them. But he might have seen the “Arrest Bush” signs waved by some spectators as he rode in the presidential limousine toward the Capitol with his successor Barack Obama.

Facebook becomes posterboard for inaugural festivities

WASHINGTON – For those not among the throngs in the U.S. capital for the inaugural festivities for Barack Obama, many have turned to Facebook to describe how they were watching the ceremonies or their state of excitement about the new president.

And yes, it even became a spot for soon-to-be former aides to outgoing President George W. Bush to describe their future after their tenure at the White House.

One Bush staffer described being “employed for only 1hr and 28 more minutes” while another told his friends he was on his way to Andrews Air Force Base to attend a closed-door departure ceremony before Bush flies back to Texas on the 747 airplane used as Air Force One (it’s only called that when the current president is aboard).

Activists “shoe” Bush out the White House door

Critics of outgoing President George W. Bush turned a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House into a  rowdy street theater on the eve of his handover of power to Barack Obama.

An activist coalition calling itself ShoeBush.org piled a motley collection of dozens of old shoes, including tan combat boots said to have been worn by U.S. troops in Iraq and children’s bright yellow flip-flops, at what amounted to Bush’s doorstep.

“We wanted to shoo and boo Bush on his last day in office,” said Ann Wilcox of Washington D.C., who marched with the group of about 500 peace activists.

Obama says Bush “a good guy”

BUSH/PHILADELPHIA – Barack Obama, who pilloried his soon-to-be predecessor’s policies during two years on the campaign trail, said Friday that George W. Bush is a good guy.

“If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy,” the Democratic president-elect said on CNN about the Republican president whom he replaces Tuesday.

“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”