American Morning

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June 15th, 2009
06:33 AM ET

Why all the Obama 'czars'?

From CNN's Carol Costello and Bob Ruff

The word "czar" conjures up the image of one of those all-powerful rulers of Russia many centuries ago.

Think Ivan the Terrible. That's the 16th Century Prince of Moscow who turned Russia into a true nation-state. And as the "Terrible" suggests, this was not exactly one of your touchy-feely, sensitive tsars ("tsar" is the Russian spelling for czar).

So, what do we make of Barack Obama's "czars"?

First off all, there are 21 of them – and counting. No previous president comes close to matching that number.

There's a "czar" for Drugs, Energy, Auto Recovery, the Great Lakes, Borders, Information, Stimulus Accountability, Urban Affairs...

You get the picture.

Some people don't like it. They think the president is circumventing the Congress by naming special assistants who don't need Senate approval because they work directly for him.

FULL POST


Filed under: Politics
June 15th, 2009
06:08 AM ET

What's on Tap – Monday June 15th, 2009

Supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi help evacuate an injured riot police officer after he was beaten by demonstrators during a protest in Valiasr Street in Tehran on June 13, 2009. Getty Images
Supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi help evacuate an injured riot police officer after he was beaten by demonstrators during a protest in Valiasr Street in Tehran on June 13, 2009. Getty Images

Here are the big stories on the agenda today:

  • Breaking news now.  Protesters are gathering in the streets for a third day in Tehran, Iran, facing off against secret police with batons and baseball bats.  They say the reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was rigged.  Iran’s supreme leader has now said any legal challenges will be investigated.  We’re live on the streets as people gather for what is being deemed an illegal protest this morning.
  • Your safety in the skies  Federal regulators holding a rare airline industry summit today to address some major concerns about the safety of passengers flying the nation's regional airlines.
    CNN’s Allan Chernoff was the man who exposed some scary things at the country’s smaller carriers.  He’s covering the hearing for us today.
  • Here a czar. There a czar. The Obama Administration is handing out the title left and right. Well, maybe not so much right… Carol Costello is with us now to tell us what's behind the powerful title.  And how many are we up to now?

Filed under: What's On Tap
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