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The Obamas' First Day of School

By Ben Pershing
Sasha and Malia Obama are joining their new classmates at Sidwell Friends this morning, and in a way, it's their dad's first day of school, too. Today's lesson will cover two topics: 1) How to craft a massive stimulus package and guide it through the legislative gears; and 2) How to recover from your first official Cabinet embarrassment.

On the first subject, the president-elect will report to Capitol Hill for Ms. Pelosi's and Mr. Reid's class, with Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell also on hand to teach a little humility. Along with (possibly) a bagged lunch, Obama will bring with him a stimulus proposal that reportedly will include "about $300 billion in tax cuts for workers and businesses." That may well appeal to recalcitrant Republicans and some moderate Democrats, but won't necessarily stop criticism of the plan's price tag and priorities. (You can expect to hear Republicans keep mentioning that "Mob Museum," as McConnell did on "This Week" yesterday.)

As for the timing of the stimulus package, Obama is learning all the cliches today -- Rome wasn't built in a day, slow and steady wins the race, and so on. Much as the incoming president would love to have a bill to sign by the time he's sworn in, it's not going to happen. Reid and Steny Hoyer both suggested Sunday that it would be at least mid-February before a package was ready for the president's desk, and even that assumes a fairly quick turnaround given how big this package is and how many different stakeholders (the tax people, the transportation people, the energy people) there will be on Capitol Hill.

For his class on the Cabinet, perhaps Obama didn't do his homework, or is simply not a student of history.

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Posted at 8:05 AM ET on Jan 5, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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It will take longer than Obama wanted to get this stimulus package through because every Congressman and Senator will want to make sure that his/her "bridge to nowhere" is included in the pork barrel.

Posted by: Opa2 | January 6, 2009 3:28 PM

>>they dont have the money to send 10 union guys making 40 dollars an hr to fill one pot hole but not to worry that tax rebate will pay them.

I'd like to know where they're paying DoT workers 40 dollars an hour on road crews or let them unionize. I guess I'm working in the wrong state!

Posted by: mtcooley | January 5, 2009 9:34 AM

I think what should be first done quickly is come up with public cafeterias where people can eat like for $0.50 a meal, rather than first try to come-up with 5 million jobs. And they should be cafeterias with no trans-fat and junk food as sold by all greedy franchises. Just simple old-time foods. If we have a social disease, then social medicine applies. Our problems stem from being greedy waste-everything "aristocrats", and hypocrites on top of that.

Posted by: ElMugroso | January 5, 2009 9:32 AM

with the cost of everything going ski high a liter of bottled water 2 dollars, 500 dollars isnt going to help much, and the great news is the gas tax which will put gas back up to 4 dollars a gallon. seems we are to blame for the poor roads because we are not driving. they dont have the money to send 10 union guys making 40 dollars an hr to fill one pot hole but not to worry that tax rebate will pay them.

Posted by: getsix1 | January 5, 2009 9:27 AM

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