Not only is it a bad idea for the White House to take over the census, it’s illegal. The Constitution gives Congress the power to conduct the Census “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The law in turn assigns the authority to the Secretary of Commerce. Beyond signing that law — years ago — the President plays no role whatsoever. Absent a new act of Congress, the White House cannot take it over. (Via Instapundit.)
If President Obama wants to take over the Census, he is going to have to do it in broad daylight, by a highly controversial act of Congress. I don’t know that that will stop him, but everyone will know what he’s doing.