Holly Bailey

Stories by Holly Bailey

  • Dick Cheney? Is That You Again?

    Does anyone think it’s sort of funny that we’re seeing Dick Cheney more often these days than we did when he was actually still vice president? The former Veep was back on TV again last night, this time trashing President Obama’s decision to release those CIA interrogation memos. In an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, Cheney called for documents that showed the “success” of the interrogations to be declassified and released so that there could be an “honest debate” over whether the controversial methods worked. "One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort," Cheney told Fox. “I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country. I've now formally...
  • More Thoughts on Fund-Raising

    Following up on Katie’s post about fund-raising, one thing that could also be complicating the DNC’s efforts to raise money is the fact that the committee, following Barack Obama’s lead in the last campaign, no longer accepts contributions from lobbyists or political action committees, whereas its GOP counterpart does. Perhaps the most important numbers to look for in coming days will be those released by the congressional fund-raising committees. In Washington, money traditionally follows power, and when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, the party committees saw a massive jump in contributions from PACs and lobbyists. Will that remain the same considering all the lobbyist bashing we’ve heard from Democrats lately? This afternoon, the House and Senate Republican fund-raising committees (who file monthly, as opposed to quarterly like the main party committees) reported fairly respectable numbers for a party out of power in an off election year. According to Roll Call,...
  • Obama: Our Role as Lawmakers is Not to Stifle the Market

    Fortune Magazine is out today with an interview with President Obama. According to the magazine, it submitted written questions about the president’s views on business after his big speech last week at Georgetown. That means there’s not much chance for follow-up or spontaneity, but it’s still worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:...
  • Culvahouse on Palin: Impressive, but Not Ready

    Why did John McCain really pick Sarah Palin to be his running mate? We’ve heard from McCain and lots of his former campaign staffers on the subject, but on Friday, the man who was actually in charge of vetting McCain’s potential running mates finally spoke out. In a speech before the Republican National Lawyers Association, Arthur Culvahouse talked publicly for the first time about his work for McCain and what he told the Arizona senator about Palin. (The full video, courtesy C-SPAN is here.) The headline: Culvahouse liked her, but thought she wouldn’t be ready. "I think she would have been a great vice president. So I told John, she wouldn't have been ready on January 20th -- I don't think many people would. Maybe only a Dick Cheney who has been in the White House and has been Secretary of Defense would" be ready to take over the presidency," Culvahouse said Friday. "But she had a lot of capacity. The mistake I made -- and we've laughed about it...
  • 100 Day Watch: When Will Obama Let His Aides Do the Talking?

    Barack Obama is nearing a big milestone: 100 days in office! You’ve almost made it, Mr. President! One thing your Gaggler is looking for as we near the 100 day mark: When will Obama start to let his cabinet members take on some of his PR responsibilities? Over the last three months, the president has gone before cameras at least two (and sometimes three or four) times a day to announce new policy or talk about what his administration is up to. That’s why reporters have been buzzing about Obama’s use of the teleprompter: There have been days recently where Obama has used the device several times a day to deliver mini-speeches. All of this has been a calculated move on the part of the White House. Obama aides have wanted the president front and center to show that he was busy doing something on behalf of the American people. After all, Obama himself is his administration’s greatest PR asset, given his huge approval ratings with the public, and everything he says is guaranteed to get...
  • At the White House, Lots of Barack Czars

    We already knew President Obama loves organizing summits. But with the naming earlier this week of official border czar Alan Bersin, David Rothkopf over at Foreign Policy writes that that Obama officially has more czars than Russia’s faved Romanev Dynasty. Hmm, maybe that’s why Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hit it off? Here’s Rothkopf:...
  • Clarence Thomas on Dishwashers: "What a Device!"

    Your Gaggler missed this story earlier this week, and she’s sorry she did. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke to a group of high school essay winners here in Washington a few days ago—a pretty big deal, the New York Times notes, because Thomas is the justice who rarely talks, on the bench or off. Standing behind a glowing hot pink lectern, Thomas hinted he was feeling a little burned out. “I tend to be morose sometimes,” he admitted. “That’s the one thing about this job. You get a little tired.” One of his few comforts: an apparent man den in his basement, where he escapes to watch movies. “I have on many occasions or a number of occasions when things were becoming particularly routine gone down to my basement to watch ‘Saving Private Ryan,’” he said. “I can’t tell you why that particular movie, except we have it and it’s about something important in our lives—World War II.” We get it: Being one of the nine people in charge of intepreting the U.S. Constitution is super hard...
  • Obama at Georgetown: WWJD?

    In his economic speech at Georgetown earlier this week, President Obama notably cited a parable mentioned in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. But that was it when it came to religious imagery—literally, it seems. Our friend Mark Silva at the Chicago Tribune picks up a story first reported by CNS News that the White House asked Georgetown to cover up all signage and symbols behind the stage where Obama spoke. It’s not that unusual of a request: The White House usually prefers to have flags and a plain backdrop behind Obama when he speaks. But the stink is apparently over what Georgetown covered up: A large monogram inscribed on the pediment of the stage that included a cross and read “IHS,” a traditional Catholic symbol for the name Jesus Christ. “The White House wanted a simple backdrop of flags and pipe and drape for the speech, consistent with what they've done for other policy speeches," a Georgetown spokeswoman told CNS. "Frankly, the pipe and drape wasn't high...
  • Scandaleux!!

    What’s the French word for two-faced? After appearing all buddy buddy with President Obama earlier this month in Europe, French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly went off on the new American president, describing him as weak and inexperienced. His comments came during a luncheon this week with members of the French Parliament, who subsequently went and blabbed all the details to the press. “Obama has a subtle mind, very clever and very charismatic,” Sarkozy said, according to one parliament member quoted by the paper Liberation. “But he was elected two months ago and never ran a ministry in his life. He doesn’t have a position on a number of things.” According to Sarkozy, Obama “is not always operating at a level of decision-making and efficiency” and seemed inadequately briefed on climate change. Some of this tension appears to be over all the credit Obama got after the G20 for brokering a deal between China and France over tax havens, thus saving the talks. But Sarkozy reporte...
  • Obama on the Interrogation Memos

    President Obama just landed in Mexico, the first stop of a four-day trip to Latin America. But not surprisingly, there’s big news back home. After some internal debate, the Obama administration released four memos, with some sections blacked out, detailing the Bush administration’s legal justifications for methods the CIA used to interrogate terror suspects. In making the memos public, the administration blacked out the names of CIA agents who participated in the interrogations and announced that because the agents were acting on legal advice from the Bush-era Justice Department, they will not face federal charges for their conduct. Here's Obama's statement on his decision to release the memos, courtesy the White House: The Department of Justice will today release certain memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005 as part of an ongoing court case. These memos speak to techniques that were used in the interrogation of terrorism suspects during that...
  • Does Bo Know Fame?

    The New York Times tackles what is clearly one of the most vexing questions in Washington today: Does First Dog Bo know he’s famous? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on who you ask. “Dogs don’t know fame,” insists Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of “What Do Dogs Know?” He says Bo Obama’s perception won’t be any different than any other family dog, although with all of the attention Bo might think he has “groupies.” But Cecelia Ruggles, the owner of Stump, this year’s top dog at the Westminster Kennel Club, totally disagrees. “Oh, they know they’re famous, and they definitely get an attitude,” she says. She points to J.R., her bichon frise who won Westminster in 2001, who waves his paws upon entering press conferences. “It’s his signature,” she says. “It’s not something we taught him to do, it’s just something he does.” Your Gaggler tends to side with the fact that Bo knows what’s going on. How else to explain his decision...
  • What's Going On With Obama's Book Royalties?

    Did Barack Obama’s book sales decline last year? On Wednesday, the White House released tax returns for the president and first lady, who jointly reported about $2.8 million in income last year. The bulk of that—about $2.6 million—were royalties from the president’s two books: “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams From My Father.” That’s hardly a shabby figure, but Obama’s book income was much higher the year before, when he reported almost $4.1 million in royalties, according to his 2007 Senate financial disclosure. The likely explanation: Although both of his books were best-sellers all last year, most of the sales were of the paperback versions, which earned Obama a lot less money. In May 2007, just after he officially declared his candidacy for president, Obama filed a financial disclosure that included an explanation of just how much money he gets from his books:Royalties for the two non-fiction books are: 15 percent of the US price for hardcover book sales; 7.5 percent  of the U...
  • Kinky Throws His Cowboy Hat in the Ring, Again

    The Texas gubernatorial race just got a lot more interesting. For months, everyone has been focused on what is sure to be a nasty primary fight between incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on the Republican side. But now comes word that official jack of all trades Kinky Friedman is contemplating another campaign for governor, this time as a Democrat. Three years ago, your Gaggler trailed Friedman around Texas for a week during his first run for governor in what was surely one of the most entertaining stories she ever reported. (How many politicians do you know who hang out with Willie Nelson all the time?) The problem for Kinky back then: He used so many corny lines and jokes that nobody took him seriously. This time around, Kinky is vowing a different kind of race. “I intend to run a serious campaign,” he writes in a letter posted on his Web site. We’ll see.
  • Look Out! Lipton Incoming!

    MSNBC is reporting that the White House’s North Lawn has been evacuated because a box of tea bags has been hurled over the fence by anti-tax protestors. At the moment, Secret Service has just made a run for reinforcements: a few slices of lemon, ice and several packets of Sugar in the Raw. We'll keep you updated on these rising tensions.
  • More on the Obama Speech: Did He Just Say Entitlement Reform?

    Maybe it was major after all. Although President Obama did not announce any new policy today in his speech at Georgetown, he did go back and explain, in great detail at times, the origins of the financial crisis and how the administration has been trying to respond. And Obama implied that he's going to tackle two major issues that have felled his predecessors at the White House: entitlement reform and re-jiggering the tax code. Although he didn't offer many details, that's big news....
  • Excerpts from Obama's Speech

    President Obama isn’t scheduled to speak for another half hour, but the White House has already released excerpts of his speech today. As predicted, there isn’t new policy—just an update on what the White House has been doing and the small signs of progress that Obama has been seeing on the economic front. But several times, the president notes the “pitfalls that may lie ahead.” Here’s one key excerpt: This is all welcome and encouraging news, but it does not mean that hard times are over. 2009 will continue to be a difficult year for America’s economy. The severity of this recession will cause more job loss, more foreclosures, and more pain before it ends. The market will continue to rise and fall. Credit is still not flowing nearly as easily as it should. The process for restructuring AIG and the auto companies will involve difficult and sometimes unpopular choices. All of this means that there is much more work to be done. And all of this means that you can continue to expect an...
  • Obama's Not-So-Major Speech on the Economy

    Another day, another economic event. President Obama will speak later this morning at Georgetown University here in Washington, where he’ll deliver what the White House has described as a “major” economic speech. What’s so major about it? It’s unclear. Obama, according to aides, won’t announce any new policy. The speech will largely be an update on where the nation stands as Obama nears his 100-day mark in office. Perhaps the most important thing to look for will be tone. Although Obama is a gifted orator, the president has struggled to find the appropriate balance between talking hopefully about the economy without suggesting the nation’s tough times are over. On Friday, Obama told reporters that he saw “glimmers of hope” in the country’s economic recovery, noting a few promising statistics in housing numbers. While Obama quickly added the economy continues to be under “severe stress,” it was the president’s upbeat tone that got the most attention, prompting White House aides to...
  • At Church, Obama Hears Hate Speech...About the Yankees

    Perhaps a little wary after that whole Jeremiah Wright drama last year, the Obamas still haven’t settled on a church here in Washington. The First Family played it safe yesterday and went to Easter Sunday services at St. John’s Church, where George W. Bush and other presidents have worshiped. At least they thought they were playing it safe. During the service, the Rev. Luis Leon launched what the New York Daily News describes as a “vicious and unholy attack on New York.” Leon's sin: He trashed the Yankees. Bantering with his parishioners about the beginning of baseball season, Leon noted that the Baltimore Orioles had beaten the Yankees twice so far, therefore “The world lives in hope.” “I’m a fairly charitable person, but I have to tell you—I hate the Yankees,” Leon declared. According to the White House pool report, “laughter erupted from the pews” during the Yankees bashing--though it was unclear if Obama, a White Sox fan, joined in. Still, that got the Daily News jokingly...
  • Coolin at the Playground, Ya Know

    The Root, a sister site to Newsweek (Yay Wash Post Co!), was over at the White House last Thursday covering the First Lady tending to the First Garden when they spied a funny moment nearby: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hanging out at the First Playground.
  • Geithner: Show Me That Smile Again

    Does Tim Geithner look happier these days or what? It wasn’t so long ago that Washington was wondering when the embattled Treasury Secretary was just going to pack it in and leave town. After all, Geithner spent most of March looking like a guy who would give anything to put on a Snuggie, crawl into dark cave and hide. But during the recent G20 summit, your Gaggler can personally testify that she spotted Geither smiling, even laughing, a few times. We thought Geithner was just relieved because the country wasn’t all worked up over AIG anymore—bonuses schmonuses, right? But it turns out it may be a little more than that. John Heilemann over at New York Magazine reports that Geithner has been getting a little, shock shock, media coaching to help him look not quite so angst-ridden. The maestro is Michael Sheehan, a well-known Democratic speech coach who has guided just about every well-known Dem there is, including the Clintons and Barack Obama. Sheehan has worked with Obama dating...
  • Obama and Fergie: That's How They Roll

    Your Gaggler fondly remembers those days during the Bush administration when the token celebrities around the White House would be people like Bo Derek and that lady from Everybody Loves Raymond. (For the record, we didn’t love Raymond.) But alas, the days of C-list celebrity sightings are…ok, they probably aren’t over yet. But with Barack Obama in residence, the White House looks like it’s going to attract some legitimate tabloid bait. Last night, the White House announced its surprise headliners for today’s Easter egg roll on the South Lawn. First of all, we can’t remember entertainment at any of these past egg soirees, unless you count watching President Bush goof around with a guy in a giant bunny suit. But this is an administration about change, and today, the kids will be rolling their eggs to… Fergie. Yes, that Fergie. The pop diva—she of, “my hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps” fame—is set to perform, as is Ziggy Marley. Fergie’s new husband and certified hottie, actor Josh...
  • How Will Obama's Immigration Reforms Play with Democrats?

    As President Obama prepares to head south of the border next week to meet with allies at the Summit of the Americas, the New York Times reports that Obama is gearing up to tackle what is traditionally a hot button issue at that forum: immigration. The Times reports, citing a White House official, that Obama plans to pitch an immigration reform plan that includes pathway to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. There are few other details on what exactly else he’ll build into the plan. Obama is expected to speak publicly on his immigration proposal in May and over the summer, the White House will convene working groups to examine the issue. ...
  • Photo Diary: Obama in Baghdad

    President Obama just arrived back in Washington a short time ago. He landed at Andrews Air Force Base at about 2:30 in the morning and helicoptered to the White House a few minutes later. This was one of those days where your Gaggler feels sort of overwhelmed by what she’s seen. About 24 hours ago, we started off the day trailing the president in Turkey, as he walked through one of the most historic mosques in the world. Then we went to Baghdad, where Obama spent four hours on the ground meeting with troops and Iraqi leaders in an old palace compound built by Saddam Hussein. Twelve hours later, your Gaggler was in Washington, passing the dome of the U.S. Capitol building on her way home. Wow. After the jump, more photos from the trip to Iraq. On the tarmac, Obama was greeted by Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq. Here's the motorcade. Obama rode in an SUV like this, with some sort of antenna that was hooked to a tire mounted on the roof. The drive to Camp Victory ...
  • Wheels Up for Obama

    A little over four hours after landing, the president is rolling up to Air Force One, which is totally dark, parked here on the runway at Baghdad International Airport. It was so dark we couldn't see the plane until we pulled right up to it. Inside the plane, lights were dimmed and window shades closed. Obama aides boarded the plane carrying what appeared to be framed tapestries, likely gifts from Iraqi leaders.
  • Obama at the Blue Mosque

    After the Hagia Sofia, President Obama walked the short block to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque. It’s the national mosque of Turkey, and before going inside, everybody—including the president—had to remove their shoes, while women covered their heads with a scarf. The building is not nearly as old as the Hagia Sofia, but it’s still pretty old. It was built sometime between 1609 and 1616. It's called the Blue Mosque because it was built with thousands of blue tiles inside. More photos after the jump.    
  • Obama at the Hagia Sofia

    President Obama kicked off his final day in Turkey with a visit to one of Istanbul’s most recognizable sites, the Hagia Sofia. Built almost 1,500 years ago (it was constructed between the years 532 and 537), the Hagia was initially one of the world’s largest basilicas before being converted into a mosque. It’s now a museum--and a home, your Gaggler must note, to a lot of cute cats. With Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in tow, Obama took a quick walking tour through the building this morning. Click for more pictures after the jump. Here's Obama looking at the mihrab, marking where the alter used to stand. This is one of the cats who live in the Hagia Sofia. This is a shot of the Hagia's exterior. Dreary day, huh?
  • Man Arrested in Plot to Kill Obama

    As your Gaggler noted yesterday, security has been noticeably tighter around President Obama since his arrival in Turkey on Sunday night. Perhaps this is why: CBS News, citing a report in a Saudi newspaper, says a man was arrested in Istanbul on Friday for alleging plotting to kill the president. Their World Watch blog reports:...
  • Bush, the Pooper Scooper

    Back in January, George W. Bush told reporters that he just couldn’t see himself sitting around and relaxing post-presidency. “I’m a type A personality,” Bush said. He wasn’t kidding. This afternoon, the former president threw out the first pitch at the home opener for the Texas Rangers, the baseball team he used to own. According to the Associated Press, Bush stopped by the press box to gab for a while, talking baseball and telling stories about all the first pitches he’s thrown out over the years. Sounds like someone might be a little lonely.The Dallas Morning News writes about Bush’s life in Dallas, where he lives on a quiet cul-de-sac near Southern Methodist University, the future home of his presidential library. In recent weeks, Bush has been spotted riding his mountain bike on nature trails around the city. He’s made surprise visits to SMU classes and dropped by a Wounded Warrior bike ride. Most importantly, he’s the one in charge of walking his dog, Barney, where, for the f...
  • Obama: The Cold is Nuts

    Traveling while you’re sick is no fun. Just ask Barack Obama. During his week-long tour of Europe, the president has been battling a major head cold. Reporters first noticed the commander in chief sounded a little stuffy last week during his press avail with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. During questioning, Obama began to cough a little bit, and Robert Gibbs, the president’s press secretary, ran to fetch a bottle of water for the boss. Yesterday, your Gaggler noticed that Obama was sounding a little hoarse as he spoke at meeting after meeting with European Union leaders. Earlier today, a press pooler reported Obama appeared to be sucking on a cough drop as he toured Ataturk’s tomb here in Ankara. Asked just now how he’s feeling, Obama said he was better. “I’ve had it all week...You can hear it,” the president said. “In London, I sounded like I had acorns up my nose.”