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Obama agenda: Defiance

“President Obama touched off a fierce election-year confrontation with Congressional Republicans on Wednesday, defying their deep opposition to appoint Richard Cordray as director of a new consumer protection agency and fill three labor board vacancies,” the New York Times writes. “The decision to install the four nominees without Senate approval under the constitutional provision for making appointments when lawmakers are in recess was a provocative opening salvo in Mr. Obama’s re-election strategy of demonizing Congress. It threatened to ignite a legal challenge and left Republicans fuming that the president was abusing the recess privilege.”

“President Barack Obama signaled readiness for a brawling election campaign by bypassing the U.S. Senate on high-profile appointments after disappointing supporters for not taking a stronger stance against Republicans,” Bloomberg notes. “The president’s defiance of congressional Republicans in naming a consumer financial watchdog and three National Labor Relations Board members without Senate consent may harm the chances of other nominees requiring confirmation for the rest of his term and also end in court. Yet Obama’s decision to make the appointments during a brief Senate recess helps frame his election-year gambit of running against a gridlocked Congress.”

“President Barack Obama is putting his personal stamp on a rejiggered Pentagon strategy for absorbing hundreds of billions of dollars in defense budget cuts, marking a turning point in U.S. security policy after a decade of war,” AP writes. “Obama planned to make a rare appearance in the Pentagon press briefing room Thursday to announce results of a strategy review that he ordered last spring. The aim was twofold: Streamline the military in an era of tighter budgets and reassess defense priorities in light of China's rise and other global changes. Obama's decision to announce the results himself underscores the political dimension of Washington's debate over defense savings.”