February 11, 2014

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Washington Whispers


By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.


As President elect Barack Obama continues to build his national security staff, now focused on intelligence, it is possible that he might ask CIA Director Mike Hayden to stay on for a while, intelligence sources say. Much of the speculation about the CIA job has been that Obama wants a change, in part because he disagreed with the CIA's detention policies. But officials are pushing back a little on that issue, suggesting that Hayden has been carrying out the policies backed by Congress and the president before he arrived at Langley, not freelancing on his own. "It's unfair to blame Hayden for things that occurred long before he took the job. But he deserves credit for standing up for the folks over there at CIA, even though a lot of the stuff he has dealt with didn't happen on his watch," said an intelligence official. "Administration p aol olicy and American law shape what the CIA does. If the president says he doesn't want something done, that's it. These are his programs," added the official.


What's more, intelligence officials say that the program has changed and that, for example, waterboarding used on three detainees three years before Hayden came aboard. Does he want to stay on? Officials won't be so blunt, but they do suggest Hayden would like continue working with his people. "If he were asked to stay on at CIA, that's something he would consider at the time. Mike likes the work, he has a high regard for the people over there, and he cares passionately about the mission. Those are the factors that he would consider," said an official. Publicly, spokesman Mark Mansfield told Whispers today: "As Director Hayden has said, with every transition comes all sorts of speculation about personnel changes across government. He has tried to ignore it. He understands that he serves at the pleasure of the president, and he is focused on running the CIA."


By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.


That whole change thing Barack Obama hyped during the presidential election seems to have settled into the American psyche. Because when Washington Whispers asked you for a phrase to describe his incoming administration, the overwhelming answer was "Generation Change." With our friends at Synovate and eNation, five possibilities were offered. Generation Change won with 46 percent. Our fave, "Obamalot," was a weak fourth at just 11 percent. Here's our new poll.


John F. Kennedy had "Camelot," and Ronald Reagan had the "Reagan Revolution." What should Barack Obama's presidency be coined?


By Paul Bedard and Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers.


It didn't make the headlines at the time lady Laura Bush's tour of the kids' rooms for Michelle Obama nabbed those when the outgoing president gave his replacement the guy's version of the White House look see, the duo made a beeline to the gym. "They just rushed upstairs to look at the gym," says Mrs. Bush. It's the "guy thing," she adds. And why not? Unlike previous presidents, President Bush is a regular in the gym and on the mountain bike trail and has equipped his gym well. And given President elect Barack Obama's post election workout schedule, he looks to be every bit Bush's match. Since being elected, Obama has hit the gym at the Regents Park Apartments near his Chicago home and played some hoops nearly every day, even before his trip to Philadelphia to announce his national security team. Besides basketball, he favors the elliptical, treadmill, and free weights. "Depends on the day," says an aide. And l nike free australia ook for the new prez to pull down the nets on the White House tennis courts. We hear he's planning to wheel in a basketball backboard. Unlikely: Leaving the White House to play at the YMCA six blocks away where he worked out during the campaign. "Three or four times ago when he was here, he went in the morning and played basketball at the YMCA across the street," says Satinder Palta, general manager of the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, Obama's District home during the campaign. Secret Service baseball cap, a North Face jacket, Nike pants, and Nike shoes. His bow to Chicago's Nike Town is appreciated by the sportswear apparel maker. But it's not enough to give him his own line like, say, Air Obama shoes. "We focus on athletes," says Nike spokesman Derek Kent. Still, Obama's style is America's style.

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