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Buzz Cut:
• White House shakeup: Panic play?
• Obama makes nice with Castro
• ObamaCare pill pain
• Baier Tracks: Red lines for the blue team
• What would Lloyd Braun do?

WHITE HOUSE SHAKEUP: PANIC PLAY? - As President Obama looks to reverse a second-term tailspin, he’s bringing back the man who helped launch his first term. John Podesta, founder of the influential left-wing group the Center for American Progress, served as White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton. Podesta helped Clinton regain his footing following his impeachment for lying about an affair with a White House intern. Podesta, though, was faulted for allowing lax practices at the end of the Clinton presidency, when scandals, including the alleged sale of presidential pardons, erupted. Podesta, who led Obama’s transition team in 2008 and 2009, is coming aboard as an adviser but not with a specific title. NYT first reported Podesta’s new role, pointing out that the Democratic fixer and brother to Washington mega-lobbyist Tony, has been unofficially advising Obama for years.

[Ed Henry wants to know - “Is bringing John Podesta in just some window dressing or is it the start of a genuine effort to go outside the circle of the team that botched the rollout of his signature initiative?” – Ed Henry]

For real? - Obama last week brought back his former legislative liaison to Congress, Phil Schiliro, as part of what now seems to be a slow-moving shakeup. Certainly there are plenty of problems with the way Team Obama has been executing details, particularly in the press shop and in dealing with Congress. But will Clintonite Podesta have the power and access to make changes? The last Clinton insider who tried to turn around the Obama White House, Bill Daley, left in 2012 after a one-year stint as chief of staff. Reports said that he found little traction in the insular world of Obama’s inner circle.

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