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Obama Watch

The mission of this working group is to review policies developed and actions taken by the Obama Administration in conjunction with the American people to restore the American government to a form of governance of the people, by the people, and for the people of the United States (and their communities of interest globally).

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Obama uses UN speech to condemn extremism

Barack Obama paid a personal tribute to Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya who was killed in the attack on Benghazi. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

Image: Barack Obama paid a personal tribute to Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya who was killed in the attack on Benghazi. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP - September 25th, 2012 - Julian Borger

President Barack Obama today sought to reset US relations with the Arab world in the wake of anti-American riots triggered by an amateur video insulting the prophet Mohamed, that led to the death of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

Obama used his speech to the UN general assembly, expected to be his last major foreign policy address before the November elections, to pay a personal tribute to Stevens, highlighting the murdered diplomat's passion for Arab culture and support for democracy, and present it a model for American-Arab relations.

The president also restated the US position on the Iran nuclear programme: that there was still time for diplomacy, but not "unlimited time".


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U.S. lifts moratorium on deep-water drilling in Gulf of Mexico

Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted its moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, potentially blunting a serious political issue in the weeks before the midterm congressional election and signaling its confidence in newly tightened regulation. "There has been significant progress over the last few months in enhancing the safety of future drilling operations, and in addressing some of the weaknesses in spill containment and oil spill response," Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said in announcing the moratorium's end. "More needs to be done," he said, "but we believe the risks of deepwater drilling have been reduced sufficiently to allow drilling under existing and new regulations." But the moratorium's end satisfied few players involved in offshore oil drilling issues. Some environmentalists criticized ending the drilling suspension while investigations and cleanup continued into the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 people and unleashed the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669.

Oil Spill Panel: White House Blocked Federal Scientists From Releasing Worst-Case Scenario For Gulf Disaster

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and committed other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster. In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission's staff describes "not an incidental public relations problem" by the White House in the wake of the April 20 accident. Among other things, the report says, the administration made erroneous early estimates of the spill's size, and President Barack Obama's senior energy adviser went on national TV and mischaracterized a government analysis by saying it showed most of the oil was "gone." The analysis actually said it could still be there. "By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem," the report says.

Hillary Clinton and the State Dept

WASHINGTON — When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stepped back to center stage here on Wednesday to present an ambitious blueprint for America’s role in the world, the State Department billed it as a major foreign policy address.

But with its muscular tone and sweeping scope, it was also an effort to recapture the limelight after a period in which Mrs. Clinton has nursed both a broken elbow and the perception that the State Department has lost influence to an assertive White House.

And Data for All: Why Obama's Geeky New CIO Wants to Put All Gov't Info Online

By Nicholas Thompson 06.18.09

Vivek Kundra knows the public can create better data-driven apps than the Feds.
Photo: Ryan Pfluger
How To Open Up Government Data

Regina Benjamin as U.S. Surgeon General Candidate

Unconfirmed reports say that President Obama has tapped Dr. Regina Benjamin as his U.S. Surgeon General candidate.

President Obama on Health Care Reform

Dear Friend,

I recently began work as the Director of the HHS Office of Health Reform, and I wanted to share President Obama's weekly address with all of you.

This weekend the President's address focuses on the urgent need for comprehensive health reform. The President noted:
"...We know that our families, our economy, and our nation itself will not succeed in the 21st century if we continue to be held down by the weight of rapidly rising health care costs and a broken health care system."

You can watch the President's address now by visiting

Obama Urges Credit-Card Reform

MAY 10, 2009, 2:00 P.M. ET


WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Saturday pressed lawmakers to send him credit-card reform legislation by Memorial Day, May 25, saying consumers need stricter protections against unfair interest-rate hikes and penalties.

"There is no time for delay," Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. "We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can't tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over."

The healthcare trap

Why do rich countries spend so much on health, when evidence shows it doesn't make much difference to life expectancy?

Richard Smith, Tuesday 10 June 2008 11.00 BST

As countries get richer they spend more and more on healthcare. A congressional report (pdf) recently showed that the US might be spending 50% of its gross domestic product on health by 2082.

Could this happen in Britain? Is it possible or desirable?

Five Decisions in Health Care Reform

Crunch Time for Fixing Health Care

By Ruth Marcus
Sunday, March 22, 2009; Page A15
You wouldn't know it from the headlines, but it's crunch time on health-care reform. In a series of high-level meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill, critical decisions are being made that will help decide whether the comprehensive health reform that has eluded policymakers for decades finally comes to fruition -- and what the system will look like for decades.


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