Truth or Spare

Obama plays back and forth with torture memos yet again.

The Change-o-Meter is now a widget. You can add it to your blog, Web site, or profile with just a few clicks. (Shortcut for Facebook here.)Each time we publish a new column, the widget will automatically update to reflect the latest score.

On the torture memos, President Obama forgets forgiving and forgetting but now wants to forgive again as he nixes his support for a truth commission. A wishy-washy Pakistani government is making Obama squirm just as a sly budget shortcut is about to provoke more partisanship. Obama scores zero on the Change-o-Meter.

Unlike Obama, the ‘Meter is still persistent on the torture trail. The president told congressional leaders yesterday that setting up a separate commission to investigate possible interrogation abuses would be a bad idea, after all. Obama backed off a statement he made earlier this week, which had left open the possibility of allowing an independent “truth commission” to examine torture allegations. Yesterday, the political finessing was at least an indication that Obama was rethinking his immediate instinct to move on with life. Now the ‘Meter detects that Obama is backtracking on the wrong path and deducts 15 points.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are about to introduce a bill that would provide Pakistan with $7.5 billion in nonmilitary aid over five years, but the Obama administration isn’t sitting too comfortably after the Taliban continued its advances in Pakistan yesterday, moving within 60 miles of the capital. The poorly equipped forces that Pakistan sent to repel the insurgents do not inspire confidence in Obama’s strategy, which was to fight the Taliban in the region with Pakistan’s aid. Meanwhile, Obama may soon have to extend the June 30 deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The confidence hits don’t bode well for Obama, and the ‘Meter is forced to retract another 10 points.

With Obama’s 100-day mark on the horizon, congressional Democrats met with White House administrators late Thursday to strike a tentative deal on his $3.5 trillion budget proposal. The resolution, which Obama was pretty excited about, would speed his health and education reforms through the Senate without need of Republican votes or threat of filibuster. The ‘Meter has opposed any mention of reconciliation for provoking outrage from the opposition party and for being a bad act of partisanship—and is tired of beating the same old drum. Minus 10 points for the slimy move.

For those of you keeping score at home, that comes out to negative 35 points on the ‘Meter. Since our interactive widget doesn’t go negative, we’re going to have to comp him the 35 points and call it zero.

There’s a lot to cover, so we want to hear your thoughts on what the Change-o-Meter should be taking into account. No detail is too small or wonky. E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.