Archive for the ‘transparency’ Category

Obama’s Economic “Rescue;” “The plan is very, very clever. Maybe too clever.”

March 27, 2009

“The parties may elect in respect of two or more Transactions that a net amount will be determined in respect of all amounts payable on the same date in the same currency in respect of such Transactions, regardless of whether such amounts are payable in respect of the same Transaction.”

By Michael Kinsley
The Washington Post

Got that? It’s a sentence, chosen more or less at random, from the most recent (2002) Master Agreement of the International Swap and Derivatives Association. These are the people who brought you the “credit default swap,” the mysterious financial transaction that almost destroyed the world, and might yet do so if the Obama administration’s rescue plan doesn’t work. The Master Agreement is used for credit default swaps the way a standard real estate broker’s lease is used for renting a one-bedroom apartment.

Except that we all know what a one-bedroom apartment is. How many of us know what a credit-default swap is? The media do their best to explain it, often using attractive drawings with arrows showing money going hither and thither. Or sometimes they throw up their hands, as I’m doing, and simply describe them as “exotic financial instruments,” and leave it at that. Part of the hostility that banks and Wall Street now enjoy comes from a popular suspicion that the mystery and complexity are part of the point — that these things are made impossible to explain on purpose, as a way of avoiding scrutiny. “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand,” as the financier Bob Dylan once put it in another context.

One problem with the Obama financial rescue plan is that it is almost as complicated and obscure as the problem it is designed to solve. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, testifying yesterday on Capitol Hill, called for greater simplicity in financial regulation. Good luck with that. Here is a sample passage from one of the explanatory documents released by Treasury this week. “Private investors may be given voluntary withdrawal rights at the level of a Private Vehicle, subject to limitations to be agreed with Treasury including that no private investor may have the right to voluntarily withdraw from a Private Vehicle prior to the third anniversary of the first investment by such Private Vehicle.” All this talk of getting into and out of private vehicles may be a sly reference to the car and driver that did in Tom Daschle. Otherwise, who knows?

The government’s most urgent goal is to cleanse the financial system of “toxic assets.” These used to be known as “bad debts” until somebody decided that a more hysterical term was needed to reflect the gravity of the situation. Nobody gives a hoot about bad debts anymore. The government could have just swallowed hard and bought up these toxic assets itself. Then it could have buried them at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, where it has almost completed a $13.5 billion nuclear waste dump, just in time to promise never to use it, at least not for nuclear waste. Unlike nuclear waste, credit default swaps are unlikely to leach into the groundwater. And even if they do, there is no detectable difference between trading in derivatives such as credit default swaps and Nevada’s principal industry anyway. Except that the amounts involved in Nevada-style recreational gambling are much smaller. Oh, and the government doesn’t bail out petty gamblers. Yet.

But the administration decided that it would be more exciting to let private financiers in on the fun. This is an odd echo of what created the mess in the first place. Government-chartered entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operated with an implicit government guarantee, whereas firms we all thought were private, like AIG and Citicorp, were deemed “too big to fail.” One way or another, the government got sucked in against its will. It felt it had no choice. The private firms now pondering whether to join the party do have a choice, so they will have to be subsidized.

The plan is very, very clever. Maybe too clever. It depends on convincing smart financiers that there is a killing to be made investing, with government help, in toxic assets. Inevitably, when the dust settles, it will turn out that some private firms and individuals actually have made a killing, which will cause another eruption of populist resentment like the one over the AIG bonuses. Fear of such an eruption, and any retrospective mischief coming out of Congress as a result, is going to make private money harder to entice, which means the subsidies will have to be larger, which means the killings will even be greater.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn
/content/article/2009/03/26/AR20090
32603113.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Pentagon: China Weapons Development Threatens Taiwan

March 25, 2009

The Pentagon says China needs to be more open about its military modernization or risk creating uncertainty and miscalculations by other nations.

Associated Press

The U.S. Defense Department is questioning how China intends to use its rapidly expanding military power, including what it calls some “disruptive military technologies.”
.

A new Pentagon report also says Beijing continues to develop weapons that threaten Taiwan, even though tensions between the two have been reduced significantly.

The assessment comes in the latest in a series of annual assessments for Congress of China’s military power.

The Associated Press obtained a summary of the report, due to be released later Wednesday.

It says China needs to be more open about its military modernization; otherwise it risks creating uncertainty and the potential for misunderstandings and miscalculations by other nations.

….

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said early this month that Beijing is ready to hold talks with Taiwan on political and military issues in the pursuit of ending hostility between the longtime rivals. But Taiwan’s defense minister later noted publicly that China has made repeated threats to attack Taiwan if it moves to make its de facto independence permanent and that Taiwan remains concerned about the estimated 1,300 missiles Beijing has readied against the island.

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90325/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_china

Robert Reich: AIG,Transparency, Treasury, Fed: Lost?

March 19, 2009

AIG is rapidly becoming a nightmarish metaphor for the Obama Administration’s problems administering the bailout of Wall Street.

By Robert Reich

One central problem is the lack of transparency. According to some news reports, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner knew weeks ago that AIG was planning to issue the bonuses to executives in its notorious credit default swap unit, and felt it was contractually bound to do so. But even if Geithner discovered all this just last week, he faces an awkward question about why he didn’t know sooner. These bonuses in fact were only the latest if a series, and were not even distributed until last Friday. But it was not until Saturday, after the story leaked to the press,that Geithner went public to express his “outrage” about them.

Meanwhile, the Treasury has been readying yet another big multi-billion-dollar payout to AIG on top of the $170 billion already provided the company, because AIG has been hemorrhaging red ink. The company’s balance sheets have been deteriorating far more quickly than the Treasury had anticipated. But there’s been no clear exit strategy for stopping the flow of taxpayer money.

What’s particularly embarrassing for the current Administration is that it had promised to undertake the Wall Street bailout far more transparently and effectively than the way the Bush administration went about it. The Obama Administration had assured the public that, among other things, taxpayer money would no longer be used to backstop Wall Street bonuses. (It’s worth noting, in this regard, that the related plan put forward by the Obama Treasury to limit executive pay in Wall Street firms that received bailouts turned out to be riddled with holes.)

We’ve also learned that much of the 170 billion has been used by AIG to pay off AIG’s putative obligations to other Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs. Goldman has maintained that it got no bailout money from the Treasury. But in fact it received some $13 billion through AIG. More troubling is that the original plan to bail out AIG was concocted at a meeting held last fall, run by then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson who, before becoming Teasury Secretary, had been CEO of Goldman Sachs. Also attending the meeting was Lloyd Blankenfein, the current CEO of Goldman Sachs. Also at the meeting: Tim Geithner, then head of the New York Fed.

None of this would be nearly as awful if the Wall Street bailout were working. But here we are six months after it began and it’s still the case that almost no loans are being made to Main Street. This week the Fed is launching its own program to get loans to consumers financed by private investors, in effect by-passing the big Wall Street banks.

The Wall Street bailout is starting to look like the most expensive tax-supported fiasco in history. The problem for the Obama administration is that this bailout is near the very center of the President’s economic recovery program. It’s not possible for the economy to bounce back until credit markets are working again. Yet even though the bailout so far is a bust, Geithner still hasn’t decided — or told the public — how he’s going to use the remaining $300 billion of bailout money differently.

The President cannot afford to lose the public’s confidence that his administration is a careful steward of the public’s money. The public was willing to go along with a large stimulus package. But it won’t go along with a second stimulus, and certainly not another TARP. And until the public feels confident that its money isn’t being thrown down a rat hole, it may balk at other ambitious undertakings such as health care or education or the environment.

Bottom line: Before it can clean up Wall Street or do much of anything else, the Administration has to clean up the way it’s been trying to clean up Wall Street.

From Politico:
http://www.politico.com/arena/

Related:
Obama, Congress, Treasury, Fed: Shameful Mismanagement of Your Money, Recovery

Obama ‘Business as Usual’ Despite Pledges

February 15, 2009

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator John McCain said the Obama Administration was doing “business as usual” despite pledges of transparency, bipartisanship and avoiding top appointees with blemishes on their otherwise clean records.

He specifically said he was disappointed in the new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who had admitted to not fully paying his taxes.

Geithner now runs the IRS.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D- Ohio, pauses in the elevator after arriving on Capitol 
.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On the stimulus, McCain said, “I hope the next time we will sit down together and conduct truly bipartisan negotiations. This was not a bipartisan bill.”

See the viceo and read the CNN acount:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/200
9/02/15/stimulus-bill-was-a-bad-beginni
ng-for-obama-says-mccain/

Related:
Obama Team: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing

Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

 Stimulus Proves Obama (And The NYT) Have No Idea What “Bipartisanship” Means; Or Could Care Less

Obama Team: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing

February 15, 2009

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing;” seems to be the mantra of team Obama.

Great, right?

The president himself told Republicans why he didn’t care to hear their inputs on the stimulus in two words:  “I won.”

In today’s New York Times columnist Frank Rich gloats his share asking, “Am I crazy, or wasn’t the Obama presidency pronounced dead just days ago?”

Well, Frank, as if often the case, the way a guy “wins” sometimes has long term implications.

So Frank, you are still crazy if you believe President Obama has a delightful “win” in this stimulus — both the process and the practical impact.

Ignoring the input of all Republicans and 47% of the voters who did not vote for Mr. Obama, and ramming the stimulus down everyone’s throat and lying along the way… well, there just might be a long term echo there.

“I won” and “we won” lacks some significant people: the American people.

The stimulus isn’t being widely heralded as a victory for the American people by the American people.

Emotions are mixed on even if this is a victory for Obama and the American people.

But it all depends upon what your definition of “is” is….
.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said, “Obama contradicted everything he said he stood for” during the process of making the stimulus.

“He did not work toward bipartianship and got not one conservative Republican vote.”

Krauthammer said “the president showed he would enact legislation by ramming it down throats,” a reference to the language President Obama used at last Monday’s press conference.

He also criticized the ugly process used to make the stimulus bill and the speed of the legislation; much of the blame for which lies with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

So it depends what your definition of “win” is……

The New York Times showed a long time ago that it is pro-Obama and screw the truth.  Ditto the Washington Post which strarted today with the headline “Obama Scores Early Victory of Historic Proportions.”

First of all, nobody will know for a year or two if the stimulus is a good thing or not.  And this humble servant will say that ignoring 47% of the voters and their elected representatives while our children and grandchildren are robbed and looted will leave some of us happy and some not.

China and Arab States that hold U.S. debt might be happy, along with the New York Times, Washington Post, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a flock of Democrats.

The rest of us will remain more cautious, I think.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:

From Frank Rich:
Stimulus: Obama Outsmarts Everyone 

Obama Respects Afghans More Than Americans
.
 Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

 Stimulus Surprise: Bipartisanship, Cooperation So Lacking From Dems That GOP Stays Unified

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winning_isn’t_e
verything%3B_it’s_the_only_thing
.

Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

 Stimulus Proves Obama (And The NYT) Have No Idea What “Bipartisanship” Means; Or Could Care Less

 Stimulus: “Obama is popular but has no clout”

Obama Dead Wrong On Stimulus in Peoria, Caterpillar Remarks

 Barack Is Mostly Showman, Not Statesman; and Now Putin and Ahmadinejad Know

Obama Scores Early Victory of Historic Proportions
The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/art
icle/2009/02/13/AR2009021303475.html?hpid=topnews

http://midd-blog.com/2009/02/15/sunday-rea
ding-the-stimulus/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/15/taxp
ayer-revolt-porkulus-protest-in-seattle/

Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

February 14, 2009

“The longer a piece of garbage lays out in the sun the worse it stinks,” said Republican Representative John Culberson (R-TX), refeering to the Obama stimulus.  “That’s why the bill was hidden and  kept off the Internet.”

“This is a crime of deceit put upon the American people,” he said.

“This bill was intentionally hidden from lawmakers and the public.”

“This is one of the largest outrages ever committed,” said.

“Nobody read this bill before it was passed,” he said.

    ************

President Obama has indicated he wants Congress to conduct its work in the open. But in this first test case, ‘he’s pleased with the process and the product,’ a spokesman says.
By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Upending Washington’s entrenched ways of doing business is proving tougher than President Obama may have assumed.

The nearly $800-billion stimulus bill served as a test case.
.

During the campaign, Obama released a position paper stating his commitment to open government. As president, he said, he would not only insist on transparency in his own administration, he would press Congress to revamp its practices as well.

Obama has no constitutional authority to set rules for Congress, but he suggested he would use his influence to see to it that Congress doesn’t conduct its work “in the dead of night and behind closed doors.”

Heavy reading 

HEAVY READING: House GOP leader John Boehner shows a copy of the massive bill, which he and every other Republican in the House opposed, along with seven Democrats. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

In the first major piece of legislation pushed by Obama, transparency was missing.

Important negotiating sessions devoted to the stimulus took place in congressional offices, outside public view. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) said he was in a meeting about the stimulus plan Tuesday night in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). Among the participants was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

“We had to do some hard bargaining,” Waxman said.

The abundance of private deliberations made for some comical moments.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) was walking through the Capitol on Wednesday on his way to a public meeting in which senators and House members were supposed to hash out differences over the stimulus. As he passed the Rotunda, Camp spotted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holding a news conference announcing that a deal had already been struck.

“This is the largest spending bill in the history of the United States, and I believe the public business should be done in public,” said Camp, who had been appointed to the 10-member conference committee created to reconcile differences between the two chambers.

“President Obama made that commitment repeatedly in his campaign,” he said.

Obama aides say that the president is still committed to transparency in government.

He reiterated the pledge during the transition, posting a promise on his website to “restore the American people’s trust in their government by making government more open and transparent,” and cited closed conference committee sessions as a practice ripe for overhaul.

But the White House isn’t apologizing for how the stimulus bill was handled. Given the dismal economic climate, White House aides said, the country needed a stimulus bill — fast.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, asked about the private negotiations, said that Obama wasn’t troubled.

“He’s pleased with the process and the product that has come out,” Gibbs said while briefing reporters Friday. “I think when the process is done, the American people will be proud of the product that we believe and we hope will begin to stimulate the economy.”

Democratic leaders said the bill was handled according to procedures and customs that have been in place for years, including when Republicans controlled Congress.

Waxman said Congress’ treatment of the bill was fairly standard. Could Congress have demanded that all negotiations play out in public? Waxman said that would have been impractical.

“There are too many moving parts in this bill,” Waxman said. “We would be sitting in an open conference committee meeting for weeks, if not a whole month, to process all the amendments that would have been offered.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/13
/the-most-transparent-piece-of-legislati
on-in-american-history/

Americans Resent Obama’s Tone, Stimulus Bloat, Tax Cheats and Lobbyists

February 6, 2009

I’ve been participating in the public discussion for more than ten years, and I have never before seen the American people go so quickly from favoring a politician, to questioning and even hating, and in such numbers, as this.

Barack Obama’s “Rant At The Spa” last night before an all Democrat partisan crown did nothing to help him pass the stimulus and gain the faith and confidence of the American people.

If our email, phone and other comment indicators are any indication, well more than 60% of the population has turned against this president since his inauguration on January 20.

Rasmussen, Gallup and other poll groups say somewhere near 50% of American voters now worry about or disapprove of the way Obama is going.

Bill Sammon, formerly of The Washington Times and now the Washington Examiner and a Fox News contributor said today after the Robert Gibbs White House news conference, “Americans are growing to resent Barack Obama for the way he has handle this stimulus.”

The stimulus has not, unfortuanately, been the president’s only black eye.  His nomination of tax scofflaws and lobbyists to top positions is now a fequent theme of those sending us comments.

Polls show the American people expressing disgust and dismay.  And they have less and less confidence in the president and their lawmakers.

President Obama did not let up in his use of ugly languange and efforts to get the stimulus passed in the Senate on Friday.

“These numbers demand action. It is inexcusable and irresponsible for any of us to get bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual while millions of Americans are being put out of work,” Obama said bluntly. “Now is the time for Congress to act.”

Related:
http://righttruth.typepad.com/right_truth/20
09/02/jobs-for-citizens-imagine-that.html

Obama’s Ethics Reform Promise Faces Early Test

February 3, 2009

During almost two years on the campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to slay the demons of Washington, bar lobbyists from his administration and usher in what he would later call in his Inaugural Address a “new era of responsibility.” What he did not talk much about were the asterisks.

By Peter Baker
The New York Times

The exceptions that went unmentioned now include a pair of cabinet nominees who did not pay all of their taxes. Then there is the lobbyist for a military contractor who is now slated to become the No. 2 official in the Pentagon. And there are the others brought into government from the influence industry even if not formally registered as lobbyists.

President Obama said Monday that he was “absolutely” standing behind former Senator Tom Daschle, his nominee for health and human services secretary, and Mr. Daschle, who met late in the day with leading senators in an effort to keep his confirmation on track, said he had “no excuse” and wanted to “deeply apologize” for his failure to pay $128,000 in federal taxes.

But the episode has already shown how, when faced with the perennial clash between campaign rhetoric and Washington reality, Mr. Obama has proved willing to compromise.

Every four or eight years a new president arrives in town, declares his determination to cleanse a dirty process and invariably winds up trying to reconcile the clear ideals of electioneering with the muddy business of governing. Mr. Obama on his first day in office imposed perhaps the toughest ethics rules of any president in modern times, and since then he and his advisers have been trying to explain why they do not cover this case or that case.

“This is a big problem for Obama, especially because it was such a major, major promise,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “He harped on it, time after time, and he created a sense of expectation around the country. This is exactly why people are skeptical of politicians, because change we can believe in is not the same thing as business as usual.”

And so in these opening days of the administration, the Obama team finds itself being criticized by bloggers on the left and the right, mocked by television comics and questioned by reporters about whether Mr. Obama is really changing the way Washington works or just changing which political party works it.

Related:
Barack Obama: Credibility Lost?

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/
us/politics/03lobby.html?_r=1&hp

US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits ... 
US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 29, 2009, sits alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Obama’s new rules have loopholes

February 2, 2009

President Obama’s first moves earned him triumphant headlines: “Obama Freezes Pay, Toughens Ethics and Lobbying Rules,” and “Obama sets new course.”

But some of his biggest accomplishments are twinned with the word “but”: Lobbyists are banned, but exceptions can and will be made; orders on ending torture and secret prisons contain loopholes and provisos.

By Christina Bellantoni
The Washington Times

Call it the fine print, an exception, a waiver, but there have been caveats to many of Mr. Obama’s first actions.

The lobbying issue has drawn the most ire, especially since Mr. Obama spent so much time blasting lobbyists on the campaign trail.

“Change we can believe in, as long as we pay attention to the disappointing asterisk on the word ‘change,’ ” complained Rachel Maddow, a liberal talk-show host for MSNBC.

Miss Maddow on Friday night blasted Mr. Obama for having former lobbyists in his administration, saying that his campaign-trail promise that lobbyists would not run his White House “sounded great; too great to be entirely true, it turns out.”

White House aides suggest the criticism is nonsense, since even transition officials warned months ago there would be exceptions to lobbying bans for people they consider exceptionally talented. Others point out that so many people leave government to earn money with consulting and lobbying that it would be tough to staff any administration without needing to bend the rules.

But Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, ripped into the new administration for so quickly bending the lobbying rules.

“He got the good headlines, and their intentions were really good, but carving out so many exceptions is silly. They should stop pretending they are following the rule when they are not,” she said. “They say they have a policy of no lobbyists, and yet every day we hear about a new lobbyist.”

Nearly two dozen executive-branch hires, all the way up to Cabinet level, have been registered federal lobbyists, with the most-prominent being Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and William Lynn, the No. 2 man at the Pentagon.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/
02/early-obama-loopholes-are-drawing-fire/

Senators question Daschle’s late tax filing

February 1, 2009

Republican and Democratic senators on Sunday questioned how former Sen. Tom Daschle could make a $128,203 mistake on his taxes but said they were not prepared to oppose his nomination as health secretary.

“You have to be troubled by it,” said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

“We’ll have to question former Sen. Daschle and understand his explanation, and then have a conversation about it and see where it goes,” Kyl said on “Fox News Sunday.” As to how much trouble the tax issue could present for the nomination, he said, “I think it’s too early to tell.”

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press

Angry Republican senators, including Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen ... 
Angry Republican senators, including Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen here in a 2008 Fox News Sunday(FNS) handout, vowed Thursday to put up a fight against President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill after the package passed the House of Representatives with no opposition support.(AFP/FNS-HO/File)

Daschle recently filed amended tax returns to report $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest. The amended returns reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and reduced deductions for charitable contributions.

The South Dakota Democrat, once the majority leader of the Senate, was scheduled to meet privately Monday with the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he was surprised that Daschle had not paid his taxes properly but would not say whether he thought the nomination was in trouble. He said the committee will make a recommendation to the full Senate. “I think I’m going to just wait until they give me their opinion,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the problem could disqualify Daschle but that he wanted to learn more about the matter.

“It’s disheartening, obviously. People are struggling to pay taxes on a very small amount of income and he’s got this huge amount,” DeMint said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, also said the tax problem was a concern and needed more explaining, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” that it involved “an awful lot of money” but that she had not decided to vote against confirmation.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska called it “a tough issue” and said he was waiting to hear the results of the meeting between Daschle and the Finance Committee.

“I’m not prepared at this point in time to vote no,” Nelson told CNN.

The Senate‘s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, defended Daschle but said skepticism, even cynicism, about Daschle not paying his taxes was understandable.

“But if you know Tom Daschle, you know better,” Durbin said on Fox. “He’s found himself having made a mistake and admitted to it. He took the steps necessary to start paying the taxes, make sure they’re paid. Now, that’s the right thing to do. I believe Tom Daschle’s one of the most honest people I’ve ever known or worked with in public life.”

Daschle, chosen by President Obama to lead the administration’s health initiatives, is the second Cabinet nominee to scramble to pay back taxes. Timothy Geithner’s confirmation as treasury secretary was delayed after it was revealed that he had failed to pay more than $34,000 in taxes.

Obama’s first choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, took his name out of consideration when his confirmation appeared headed toward complications because of a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors.

“President Obama wanted to have a very ethical administration starting out and so on, but I think he’s seeing how hard it is to avoid these kind of problems,” Kyl said. “And I just wonder, if President Bush had nominated these people, what folks would be saying about that.”

************

Later on Sunday on “Meet the Press” (NBC) Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) also said she had concerns about Mr. Daschle, even though she said, “I like him personally.”

Meet the Press transcript:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28964188/

Related:
 If Bush Had Nominated Daschle, Would He Have Been Confirmed?