West Wing Briefing: Monday morning edition
By Michael D. Shear
UPDATED: The president will make a fresh push for what the West Wing now terms "Wall Street Reform" during the week ahead.
The White House announced Monday morning that the President will go to New York on Thursday to push for reform. He will call for swift action by the U.S. Senate and "remind Americans what is at stake" if a strong Wall Street reform package does not go ahead, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
Republicans last week launched an all-out effort to convince Americans that the Democratic proposals to regulate financial firms would represent a big "bailout" for the banks. Obama's first, off-the-cuff response appeared to suggest little concern. But the White House quickly changed gears and the president's later comments -- including his weekend radio address -- were far more aggressive.
Expect more of the same this week as Senate Democrats try and push the legislation to passage.
The president got a bonus round of golf on Sunday after his trip to Poland for the funeral of the former president and first lady was canceled due to Icelandic ash. It seems even Air Force 1 can't fly through tiny shards of glass.
From the Sunday morning pool report: "No scheduled events today so POTUS is playing golf at Andrews AFB. Uneventful ride from the WH to the base; arrived around 1:15. POTUS is playing 18 holes with WH Trip Director Marvin Nicholson and two others (names coming later). Your pooler is holding at a food court on the base for the next 4-5 hours. Poolers have been forewarned that we are not allowed to buy anything at this mall without a military ID, aside from food, so the next several hours of shopping will be less than fruitful."
SHOW ME THE MONEY:
This afternoon, Obama heads to Los Angeles to raise money for Sen. Barbara Boxer and the DNC. The overnight trip follows a similar trip to Florida last week, which reportedly took in more than $2 million for the Democratic coffers.
See a pattern developing?
On Wednesday, the president will host a bipartisan group of Senate leaders for a discussion about the Supreme Court. With his second pick looming, Obama has another chance to put his stamp on the direction of the court. But even his allies in Congress don't appear eager for an all-out fight just before mid-term campaigns get into full swing.
"It's a chance for bipartisan consultation," one White House official notes, though most in the West Wing are expecting pretty solid opposition from Republicans no matter who the president picks.
The mini-vacation was probably planned when the first family thought Obama was headed for a quick and brutal trip to Poland this weekend. But they are going anyway -- a three-day get-away-from-it-all turn in Asheville, North Carolina -- No press. No events. Little staff.
Why Asheville? Two staffers confirm that Obama kind of fell in love with the place when he was doing debate prep at the Grove Park Inn back in October of 2008.
From the pool report that week: "Barack Obama and his entourage stopped in at 12 Bones Smokehouse, a little barbeque dive in the River Arts District of Asheville that is supposed to be famous around these parts. The interior walls were covered in bumper stickers and signs expressing such Southern wisdom as "Baby, every day I wake up next to you is an excuse to drink."
Don't let the bumper sticker covered walls and modest exterior fool you, the place felt more like a Berkeley vegetarian spot than a sleazy Southern smokehouse. "Can you voice for the barbeque here?" Obama asked a man who, yes, vouched for the barbeque. "Yeah, there was a line even before I got here," Obama said as he stepped up to the register.
"That's the next president of the United States there fellas," an older man announced as Obama walked through the restaurant.
He ordered six sweet teas for himself and his staff, a double order of collard greens, one BBQ plate, a veggie plate and two racks of ribs (12 Bones' specialty) and some corn pudding. Total price: $66. Obama paid in cash.
STRAIGHT FROM THE WEST WING:
On Monday, the President will travel to Los Angeles, California to attend fundraising events for Boxer and the DNC. He will spend the night in Los Angeles and return to Washington, DC on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday morning, the President will meet with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate and the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the White House to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Stevens. In the afternoon, the President and the First Lady together with the White House Office on Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport will host members of the United States Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House to congratulate them on their performance and thank them for representing the United States during the Vancouver Winter Games.
On Thursday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.
On Friday, the President and the First Lady will travel to Asheville, North Carolina where they will stay for the weekend.
April 19, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama
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