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Obama Defends Summers, Franken Plans NSA Transparency Bill, and More

Stand by His Man:

In a meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday, President Obama said he hasn’t decided yet whom he’ll choose to replace outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. One of the names floated as Bernanke’s replacement is Larry Summers, a former economic adviser to the president who has been criticized by the left as unfit to run the Federal Reserve. During the meeting, Obama gave a “full-throated defense” of Summers, according to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who was in the meeting. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., added that Obama also advised the congressional Democrats “not to believe everything you read in The Huffington Post.” It’s entirely possible that Obama was referencing a column written by Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer, first published here earlier this week and also posted on Huffington Post, which was highly critical of Summers. (Read more)

Time for Transparency: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is upset over the government secrecy surrounding the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance program, and Wednesday, he pledged to do something about it. After lashing out at intelligence officials at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over delays in declassifying information about the program, Franken announced that he was planning to propose legislation that would force the White House to be more transparent about the NSA’s mass collection of Internet data and phone records. “I don’t want transparency only when it’s convenient to the government,” Franken said, adding that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “has known for weeks that this hearing was coming and ODNI released this only in the minutes before this hearing began. That doesn’t engender trust.” (Read more)

Break Time: Huma Abedin, the wife of scandal-plagued New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, is expected to soon take some time off from her job as a top aide to Hillary Clinton. Abedin had reportedly been “loosely” devising to take the extended vacation for weeks (Clinton has a light schedule next month), meaning it was planned before her husband’s latest sexting scandal broke. However, Politico is reporting that Abedin decided for sure to take the respite after the latest series of events surrounding Weiner unfolded. “Huma is not taking a leave of absence, but she will be taking vacation time in August to support her family during Anthony’s campaign,” a source in the Weiner campaign told Politico. “She had always intended to do this.” (Read more)

Fight Plight: With Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie refusing to let each other’s cheap shots go without a response—Paul fired off another attack that Christie reacted to Wednesday — it appears that this GOP feud is one that won’t be ending anytime soon. But Paul and Christie aren’t the only Republicans fighting each other. As a handy Atlantic Wire infographic reveals, there’s plenty of GOP infighting as we head into Congress’ August recess. (Read more)

Not Hitting the Sweet Spot: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who hasn’t had time to meet with numerous protesters who are upset with the state’s abortion bill (which is as controversial as the seedy way it was passed) that he signed into law earlier this week, took time out of his (presumably) super busy schedule to bring the group of mostly female demonstrators a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The Republican governor paid them a brief visit Tuesday afternoon, where, rather than listening to the concerned citizens, he simply handed one of the protesters a plate filled with the baked goods. But who knows if they were homemade or store bought? The demonstrators didn’t bother tasting the cookies, slipping the uneaten batch through the mansion’s gate, along with a note that read: “We want women’s health care, not cookies.” The condescending move by the governor also inspired the following chant: “Hey Pat, that was rude. You wouldn’t give cookies to a dude.” (Read more)

Video of the Day: How could Fox News’ infamous interview with religion scholar Reza Aslan get worse? Why, with a parody of it, of course! Substitute Ryan Aslan for Reza Aslan, and competitive eating with religion, and you have the gist of the video. But perhaps the saddest thing about Above Average’s spoof of the Fox News interview—which has been called embarrassing and awful—is that it’s completely conceivable this is something the conservative cable news channel could have on its airwaves, and that’s the real value of it. Now if only “Saturday Night Live” weren’t still on its summer hiatus.

Tracy Bloom
Assistant Editor
Tracy Bloom left broadcast news to study at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. There she eventually became deputy editor of Neon Tommy, the most-trafficked online-only college website in…
Tracy Bloom

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