OLYMPICS FALLOUT: Senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett says she received assurances from folks in Chicago and on the US Olympic Committee that an Obama lobbying effort would put the city over the top. "The intelligence that we had from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Chicago bid team was that it was very close and therefore well worth our efforts," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House advisor. "The message was that . . . a personal appeal from the president would make a huge difference."
Many folks will read Jarrett's statement different ways: a CYA for her own credibility inside the White House? A White House message to Chicago officials who may have gone over the line in their attempts to convince the White House to let the president go to Copenhagen. Either way, it's a fascinating public statement.
CHINA: The White House has agreed to delay a meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama until after the president travels to China in November. "The U.S. decision to postpone the meeting appears to be part of a strategy to improve ties with China that also includes soft-pedaling criticism of China's human rights and financial policies as well as backing efforts to elevate China's position in international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund. Obama administration officials have termed the new policy "strategic reassurance," which entails the U.S. government taking steps to convince China that it is not out to contain the emerging Asian power."
LOBBYIST REFORM: A new Obama administration policy limiting the roles of lobbyists on federal advisory committees is stirring up "absolute fury," a lobbyist is quoted as saying. K Street veterans argue that because understand policy, Washington politics and business needs, they are the best equipped to sit on the panels, which were created by Congress in the 1970s to "provide private-sector advice to the government... The instructions will decimate the ranks of lobbyists on the trade committees, which help guide U.S. negotiators' objectives as they pursue trade deals with other countries. One source estimated that about 130 of 330 people on the trade committees are lobbyists. Other federal agencies affected by the new policy continue to consider how they will implement it."
SUPREME COURT WATCH: This USA Today piece about Sandra Day O'Connor worrying about the direction of the Roberts court should get a LOT of blog play on both sides of the ideological spectrum.
As the Supreme Court begins its new term, "all eyes will be on Sonia Sotomayor," the newest addition to the high court. Court-watchers will be looking to see how she votes and interacts with her colleagues. Columbia law Prof. Daniel Richman predicted Sotomayor will strive not to be "'pigeonholed from the get-go as being a sure vote for any particular side.'"