Birthers and Bernanke; Petraeus and Panetta

This week, hoping to put an end to the "birther" controversy, President Obama publicly released his long-form birth certificate and discussed the matter in a press briefing. What were his motivations for injecting himself into a debate that has been deemed trivial by his supporters? How trivial is the issue? Recent polls estimate that 25 percent of Americans believe Obama was born in another country, and Donald Trump has brought a renewed focus to the controversy.



Also this week, the President announced the new leaders of his national security team. Leon Panetta will become the Secretary of Defense, and General David Petraeus will head the CIA, formerly run by Panetta. Both are respected leaders in their fields, but are they the right people for the jobs? Does this signal a shift in CIA’s role and relationship with the Pentagon? Will there be a broader emphasis on counterterrorism efforts over intelligence gathering? Finally this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held the first news conference in the institution's history. Is transparency at the Fed a good idea? Did Bernanke give any satisfactory answers regarding unemployment and inflation? (Guest panelist Mary Matalin sits in for Arianna Huffington.)


Banner image: President Barack Obama waits in the Blue Room of the White House before announcing personnel changes. Standing with the President (from L) are Vice President Joe Biden, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and General David Petraeus. Official White House photo: Pete Souza, April 28, 2011