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10:15 AM ET, March 20, 2009


 Top Items: 
Michael James / Political Punch:
President Obama Jokes About Being a Bad Bowler: 'It's Like the Special Olympics'  —  The first appearance by a sitting president on “The Tonight Show” may well end up being the last.  —  President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
New York Times:
President Barack Obama on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’  —  The following is a transcript of President Obama's interview on NBC's “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” as provided by the White House.  —  JAY LENO The 44th President of the United States, please welcome President Barack Obama.
Marian Burros / New York Times:
Obamas to Plant White House Vegetable Garden  —  WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden in World War II.  There will be no beets (the president doesn't like them) but arugula will make the cut.
John / Power Line:
THEY COULDN'T BE THAT DUMB.  COULD THEY?  —  This is absolutely unbelievable.  You recall the embarrassment over the Obama administration's incompetent treatment of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during his state visit to the U.S. The last link in that chain of ineptitude …
Los Angeles Times:
Obama's ‘Tonight Show’ appearance could become a ‘special’ event  —  The president's awkward stab at humor could dog him in the short run.  —  Even in the annals of media, President Obama's appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Thursday night isn't likely to be remembered as a watershed moment.
Todd Venezia / New York Post:
Discussion: JammieWearingFool
The Huffington Post:
Obama On Tonight Show With Jay Leno: FULL TRANSCRIPT, VIDEO
Discussion: Dealbreaker and Washington Post
Jane Black / Washington Post:
Vegetable Garden Will Be Installed on White House Grounds
Discussion: The Sleuth and
Mark Steyn / The Corner:   Regional Power  —  Mark (Hemingway), re that Gordon Brown box set …
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama to Leno: Dog ‘campaign promise’
Discussion: The Politico and Gawker
Andrew Malcolm / Top of the Ticket:
Obama White House bars press from press award ceremony  —  We are not making this up:  —  Barack Obama was elected commander-in-chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.  —  This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused …
Discussion: But As For Me
New York Times:
Scorn Trails A.I.G. Executives, Even in Their Driveways  —  The A.I.G. executive who was nicknamed “Jackpot Jimmy” by a New York tabloid walked up the driveway toward his bay-windowed house in Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday afternoon.  “How do I feel?” said the executive, James Haas, repeating the question he had just been asked.
Alan Cowell / New York Times:
In an Unusual Video, Obama Offers Iran a ‘New Day’  —  Invoking art, history and “the common humanity that binds us,” President Obama offered a “new day” in America's relationship with Iran, using an unusual videotaped message to appeal directly to Iranians for a shift away from decades of confrontation.
The White House:
Obama offers Iran ‘new beginning’
Discussion: On Deadline
Ben Smith / The Politico:
A message to Iran  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition
Discussion: The Swamp, Riehl World View and Reuters
Associated Press:
Former AIG head denies he started exec bonuses  —  WASHINGTON - Former AIG chief executive officer Hank Greenberg said the company under his leadership never had the kind of retention bonus system that has subjected it to withering criticism.  —  “When I was there, nobody had a contract with the company …
Discussion: USA Today and Associated Press
Patrick O'Connor / The Politico:
Boehner, Cantor ties taxed by AIG vote
Mike Soraghan / The Hill:
Democrats' blame game
Discussion: MSNBC
Alaska_Politics / Anchorage Daily News:
Palin rejecting federal stimulus money  —  From Sean Cockerham in Juneau -  —  Gov. Sarah Palin just told reporters that she's accepting only 55 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska.  The governor said that she will accept only about $514 million of the $930 million headed to the state.
Andrew Miga / Associated Press:
Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut  —  Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition  —  WASHINGTON - Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.
New York Times:
Connecticut Senator Draws Voters' Ire for His Bonus Role  —  Clarence Randolph, a 50-year-old dump truck driver from New Haven, has been out of work for two months.  —  He is not happy that financial firms bailed out by the government are paying bonuses to their executives.
Discussion: Power Line and
Geithner: Treasury pushed for bonus loophole  —  (CNN) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.
Charles Krauthammer / Washington Post:
Bonfire of the Trivialities  —  A $14 trillion economy hangs by a thread composed of (a) a comically cynical, pitchfork-wielding Congress, (b) a hopelessly understaffed, stumbling Obama administration, and (c) $165 million.  —  That's $165 million in bonus money handed out to AIG debt manipulators …
New York Times:
Off With the Bankers  —  A.I.G. can hardly claim that its generous bonuses attract the best and the brightest.  So instead, it defends the payments by arguing they're needed to retain employees who are crucial for winding down transactions that are “difficult to understand and manage.”
Henry Blodget / Clusterstock:
90% Tax?  Now We Really ARE Screwed  —  The frantic passage of the Populist Rage Tax was a new low in the US government's response to this crisis.  It shows just how likely we are to doom ourselves to a decade or more of misery—by choking our markets, closing our borders …
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 More Items: 
Josh Kraushaar / The Politico:
Colorado GOP is slow off the mark
Washington Post:
Latest CIA Scandal Puts Focus on How Agency Polices Self
Kenneth P. Vogel / The Politico:
Romney rakes it in, doesn't dole it out
Nick Squires / Telegraph:
Vatican insiders declare the Pope a ‘disaster’
Discussion: Democracy in America
David Brooks / New York Times:
Perverse Cosmic Myopia
Discussion: MSNBC
Agence France Presse:
African Union mulls Madagascar suspension
Richard Boudreaux / Los Angeles Times:
Israeli soldiers report abuses in Gaza
Discussion: Haaretz and normblog
 Earlier Items: 
Lynn Sweet:
Michelle Obama in candid conversation with kids, talks about being …
Discussion: Betsy's Page and
Philip Elliott / Associated Press:
Obama returns to campaign-style tactics for budget
Dina Cappiello / Associated Press:
Report: Energy contributing to birds' decline
Jean H. Lee / Associated Press:
NKorea reportedly detains 2 US journalists
Lucinda Franks / Blogs and Stories:
Madoff Employee Breaks Silence
Discussion: Clusterstock