President Tells Worried Nation To Chill The F*ck Out

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NEW YORK TIMES: For just under an hour on Tuesday night, Americans saw not the fiery and inspirational speaker who riveted the nation in his address to Congress last month, or the conversational president who warmly engaged Americans in talks across the country, or even the jaunty and jokey president who turned up on Jay Leno. Instead, in his second prime-time news conference from the White House, it was Barack Obama the lecturer, a familiar character from early in the campaign. Placid and unsmiling, he was the professor in chief, offering familiar arguments in long paragraphs — often introduced with the phrase, “as I said before” — sounding like the teacher speaking in the stillness of a classroom where students are restlessly waiting for the ring of the bell. The session in the East Room came at a volatile moment for the new president as he sought to quell Democratic misgivings about his ambitious economic agenda and deflect strong Republican opposition. Speaking past the reporters in the room to the tens of millions of viewers tuning in at home, he tried to reassure the nation that he could solve the crisis that has gripped the economy for more than a year. MORE

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FOREIGN POLICY: Have you heard? The war is over! The “Global War on Terror,” that is. At least for speechwriters at the Defense Department:

The end of the Global War on Terror — or at least the use of that phrase — has been codified at the Pentagon. Reports that the phrase was being retired have been circulating for some time amongst senior administration officials, and this morning speechwriters and other staff were notified via this e-mail to use “Overseas Contingency Operation” instead.

So this means an end to preemptive strikes against “gathering threats”, no more hard slogging on the “central fronts” (either Afghanistan or Iraq), a quick resolution to that whole Guantanomo problem, and no more need for the president to worry about what authorities he has to detain “enemy combatants”, or whatever you want to call them? Well, no, no, no, and no.

Let’s put aside that no one human being, only a government committee, could come up with something so awful as “Overseas Contingency Operation.” Does it matter what you call it if Obama’s policies are more or less consistent with those of his predecessor — and, in the case of Pakistan at least, possibly even more far-reaching? Actually, yes. MORE

homelandsecurity.jpgNEW YORK TIMES: President Obama has hit back at former Vice President Dick Cheney, calling Bush administration policy on detainees at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, “unsustainable.” “How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney?” Mr. Obama said Friday in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on “60 Minutes” on CBS. The president was responding to recent charges by Mr. Cheney that the administration’s decision to shut down the Guantánamo prison, along with other policies on the treatment of terrorism suspects, would make the United States more vulnerable to attacks. Bush administration terrorism policy “hasn’t made us safer,” Mr. Obama said, according to excerpts of the interview released Saturday. “What it has been,” he continued, “is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment.” MORE

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