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Why Obama Wants Control of the Census
Counting citizens is a powerful political tool..
President Obama said in his inaugural address that he planned to "restore science to its rightful place" in government. That's a worthy goal. But statisticians at the Commerce Department didn't think it would mean having the director of next year's Census report directly to the White House rather than to the Commerce secretary, as is customary. "There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement," a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. "And it's called politics, not science."
The Obama administration is downplaying how closely the White House will oversee the Census Bureau. But Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insists there is "historical precedent" for the Census director to be "working closely with the White House."