Obama pushing against truth commission

The president has reportedly told Congressional leaders that focusing on torture would take the air out of his agenda.

Published April 24, 2009 2:40PM (EDT)

In an apparent contrast to his remarks earlier in the week, in meetings with congressional leaders over the past two days, President Obama reportedly pushed back against the idea of convening a commission to investigate torture. If he hasn't rejected the idea outright, he has at least signaled -- along with top Senate Democrats -- that he'll move to block any such effort, at least for now.

"Meeting with the Democratic leadership on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama said a special inquiry would steal time and energy from his policy agenda, and could mushroom into a wider distraction looking back at the Bush years," the New York Times reports. "Obama repeated much the same message on Thursday at a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders."

If Obama gets any pushback, it's likely to come from the House, and be on both sides. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi still favors an investigation, while her Republican counterpart, Minority Leader John Boehner, is pushing the president to release further memos on torture during the Bush administration, ones that would provide details on any intelligence gained from it.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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