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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 14, 2010 2 Tamuz 5770

Obama talks of oil spill, frustration and 2012

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | He walked out of the Oval Office and down the long hallway to greet me. We shook hands, and I followed him back into the office, its yellow walls aglow in the afternoon sunlight.

Vice President Joe Biden’s chair, which sits at the right side of the president for meetings, had been removed so my wheelchair could occupy that spot. The president got up and turned his chair so we could sit face to face.

It was my first week back on a job I have been doing for decades, but I felt like a summer intern. I had met Barack Obama before, of course.

And I had known Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod, for more than 30 years, starting when we had both been working for competing newspapers in Chicago. (When Axelrod left his paper to start his own political consulting firm, everybody thought he was nuts. Who would leave the security of print journalism?) Last fall, when I fell critically ill with blood poisoning, Axelrod was one of the first people to e-mail and write. Weeks later, when I was in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, the phone rang and it was the president wishing me well, a call arranged by Axelrod. For days, hospital staffers stopped by my room to ask me if Obama had really called and to just stare at the phone as if it were a shrine.

I got out of the hospital in early January minus most of my left foot and my right leg below the knee. But as I was a columnist and not a ballerina, there was no question that I would be able to return to work. In late April, my wife and I went to a reception hoping to run into Axelrod, and when we did, I invoked the “no good deed goes unpunished” rule. I told him that I would be returning to work in a few weeks and would like to interview Obama for my first column.

If this seems grossly unfair — staring up at a guy from a wheelchair and imposing on years of friendship — there is a name for it: journalism. Axelrod said he would make it happen, and two days later when I ran into Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, Gibbs said Axelrod had talked to him about it, but that there was one condition. I knew then it was all over; I don’t do interviews with conditions.

“And the condition is,” Gibbs said with a broad grin, “that it take place in the Oval Office.” This meant it would not just be an interview, but an Interview, taking place in the innermost of the White House’s inner sanctums.

After that, I groaned at each new crisis, foreign and domestic, because I knew it would dominate the president’s schedule and make an interview unlikely. But when the president canceled an overseas trip to deal with the oil spill crisis at home, I figured I might have an opening. Finally, the e-mail came that the interview had been added to the president’s schedule.

And now, wheeling myself into the Oval Office behind the president, I began kicking myself (difficult without feet). Why had I aimed so high? Why hadn’t I started out a little lower in the food chain? I knew the secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack. He would have made a swell interview to cut my teeth on while I regained my confidence.

The president took his seat, and I rolled around to face him. I had two dozen questions written down and about an additional 30 from colleagues at POLITICO. I don’t usually write down questions in advance, but this was the president of the United States and, some believe, a man who does not suffer fools. After eight months of not interviewing anyone, I felt I had definitely slid into the fool category. I rested the list of questions in my lap so it wouldn’t shake when I held it.

The worst possible interview is to have somebody answer in monosyllables, but — would you believe it — Obama is not a monosyllable guy. In 36 minutes, I got to ask 10 questions, some of them follow-ups. I do, sometimes, interrupt interview subjects who ramble or are repetitious, but — would you believe it again — this president is not a rambler or repeater.

After a few pleasantries — he invited my wife into the Oval Office so we could all pose for a picture — we began. Since I have written three books that deal, in part, with presidential stagecraft, I started with that.

“The question is, how do you move people on levels other than intellectual?” I asked. “You told Matt Lauer on June 8, ‘This is not theater.’ Robert [Gibbs] here said yesterday, I think, ‘Our point is not to feign through method acting anger’ at the damage in the Gulf. But you have to let people know you care, and people want to know it matters to you... How do you move people on levels other than intellectual — on emotional levels?”

“Well, look,” the president said, “I want to be absolutely clear that part of leadership always involves being able to capture people’s imaginations, their sense of hope, their sense of possibility, being able to move people to do things they didn’t think they could do. The irony, of course, is, is that the rap on me before I got to office was that that’s all I could do — right?”

He laughed. “I bet you wrote some of those articles, I suspect — you know, ‘the guy gives a great speech, he inspires people, gets them all excited but we don’t know if he can manage and govern!’”

He went on: “Now, the fishermen I met with in the Gulf, or the families that I met with whose loved ones had died out on that rig, they don’t have a doubt about whether I care or not. And, you know, what I think I get frustrated with sometimes, as do I suspect other members of my team, is that the media specifically is demanding things that the public aren’t demanding.”

I asked him if the oil spill could have been prevented.

“Look, there are inherent risks in drilling into the earth a mile under the ocean,” he said. “I’m not an engineer, but the more I’ve learned about this process, the more it looks to me like some of the risks are there even if everything’s done perfectly. But I will also say that there’s no doubt that the risks — some of these risks could have been minimized.”

He added later: “Presidents can’t fabricate solutions out of thin air. Technologically, the federal government didn’t have capacity to close this well that was any better than what the oil companies had.”

Obama talked about America’s dependence on fossil fuels and how we could not “transition out of a fossil-fuel-based economy overnight. We can’t do it in five years. We can’t even do it in 10. So we’re going to continue to need to develop domestic oil consumption. We’re going to still need oil exports. And if it’s safe, then offshore drilling can be a part of that.”

He said, however, we have to invest in research and continue development of new resources building on the work that’s already been done on “solar and wind and biodiesel and energy efficiency in cars and buildings.”

“And if we don’t, then accidents are going to happen again,” he said. “They may not be of this size and this scope, but we’re going to continue to see big problems.”

Obama also talked about what he considers a key issue: the role of the federal government. “I will say that there is a debate that we’ve been having for a long time and we’re going to keep on having in this country about the proper role of government,” he said. “And I think that this crisis has been a good case study in how some people feel pretty contradictory about that role.

“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much. Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying, this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”

There was some real irritation in his voice when he said: “And so — and this translates into very concrete terms — I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies, and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, Big Government over-regulation and wasteful spending.”

We talked about Afghanistan — he would not say that we were winning the war — and then, having gone overtime, and with the president saying, “Last one,” I said that on Jan. 25, he had said, “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.”

“But there are millions of people who voted for you who don’t want to see a return of Republican rule to Washington,” I said to him. “Winners win. They don’t get carried out on their feet. So the question is, are you a winner?”

“We’ll find out,” Obama said with a smile. “Tune in. Tune in. We’ll find out in two years.”

And a few moments after that, the president of the United States stood, shook my hand, thanked me and turned his chair to face the right way again.

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