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Obama's Cabinet Heads: Players or Props?

By Ed O'Keefe

Secretaries Solis, Holder, Vilsack, LaHood and Salazar played loyal surrogates this week, backing up President Obama's sales pitch for the economic recovery package.

As President Obama spent much of his week touting the benefits of the economic stimulus package, he seemed to use his cabinet secretaries and some well-timed events as props and backdrops in what one might call "Obama Stimulus Roadshow." Some examples:

• During a ceremony announcing his intention to nominate Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as the next HHS secretary, Obama just happens to mention that the recovery plan includes $155 million to support 126 new health centers nationwide. "This action will create thousands of new jobs, help provide health care to an estimated 750,000 low-income Americans across the country, and take another important step toward affordable, accessible health care for all."

• The president and vice president joined Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at DOT headquarters to unveil a new logo and announce $26.6 billion for highway construction.

At an event marking the 160th anniversary of the Interior Department, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the department is "working tirelessly to finalize a list of projects so that we can rapidly and wisely invest the $3 billion coming through the Department of the Interior." Getting in on the merriment, Obama acknowledged the department's anniversary and then spent most of his speech touting recovery package funding for "long-delayed work to preserve our natural wonders" and to "rebuild and remodel schools on Indian reservations while providing $100 million in loans to spur job creation in the Indian economy."

• The White House trots out Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at the daily press briefing to remind reporters that government departments are making spending cuts while also doling out billions of dollars of recovery package funds.

• Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki joined other senior White House aides at a forum on health care reform.

• The administration got Attorney General Eric Holder into the mix by having him join Obama in Columbus, Ohio to announce that $2 billion in stimulus funds will help create or save state and local law enforcement jobs. "The Department of Justice is moving ahead of schedule to allocate these resources so we can retain police officers, enhance law enforcement capabilities, and ensure that we have the tools and equipment necessary to build safer communities," said Holder.

• In her statement about miserable February unemployment numbers, the Labor Secretary Hilda Solis stated that, "As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama and I have already moved to increase unemployment insurance benefits and to extend the duration of unemployment insurance. In addition, I am announcing today that the Labor Department is making available more than three and a half billion dollars to states for education, training and re-employment services." (Insert your own snarky "lemons to lemonade" reference here.)

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 6, 2009; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Gold Star  
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Next: Eye Opener: March 9, 2009


Even though unemployment is soaring right now, where will we get all the employees that will be needed to fill all the new jobs that President Obama is promising with every breath he takes? We might consider letting in illegal immigrants who take jobs Americans don't want. But, if we do that, what will we do with the border fence because removing it will create thousands of new jobs. What a program.

Posted by: johnwelsh2 | March 6, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Our nation is in crisis and having a team is better than a bunch of individualists who govern by leaks. We have a government, not a sting operation. Rosalio Munoz

Posted by: rosalio_munoz | March 6, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

The whole administration is a charade -- a prop for Pelosi and Reid. And the media, on a pilgrimage to nowhere, has lost its ability to carefuly examine and report fairly the deceite of this revolution.

Posted by: JAH3 | March 6, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse


Unfortunately Obama is showing the gap in his understanding of critical elements at the core of what drives America.

Posted by: JamesRaider | March 6, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: JamesRaider | March 6, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama's just another Chicago crook. I'm sure this stimulus money will end up in the "right" hands. But the country is going down the chutes anyway, so it's kind of hard to give a sh*t.

Posted by: cletus1 | March 6, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Look, Obama is on record saying he believes the cabinet system is outdated. I believe he is using these people as props because that's the way he sees them. The real governance, and implementation of policy is going to be through his non-Congress confirmed special assistants, envoys, and so-called czars. All he expects from the Cabinet is efficient administration.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | March 6, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Will WaPooPravda's disgusting Rovian propaganda never cease?

It has truly become a newspaper about nothing.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | March 6, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Ths is the best sales job since The Messiah discovered sliced break. Obviously, he is pulling every string with Rahmbo as his hatchet man, and the Assistance President Gibbs playing the Goebbels role. As the article says he is on TV everyday. He loves to watch himself read from the telepromter. The other day Gibbs slap down two newsmen who asked the wrong questions. They did not follow the script and they were sent to the corner for the next two press dates. This is a tightly controlled handling of all things coming out of this insidious group who have taken over the country. In the end we will have Czars for every element of our lives. This ruling class will dictate everything thing we do. Instead of the current 1% of the population, who made it on their own, Ali Bambi's forty thieves will be appointed to do the bidding of his Imperial Highness. And there will be a "blackness" that will prevail the likes you haven't seen. It is acknowledged that Ali Bambi speaks to his core in their own language and he is making it clear that they should be patient because they will all get a piece of the pie. It will be called "Reparations" but it goes deeper than that. Within the next year be prepared that the house at 1600 Penn. will no longer be referred to as the White House, and then shortly thereafter it might have some blackness associated with it.

95% of his core constiuency voted for him, and those stupid over 40 white women who dreamed of making love to the black man are at fault. The size of his physical endowment is just like all of us--no one is exclusive to bigness. Both white and black men have different sizes. White women wake up and "repent" and come back to reality.

Look out America you are in for a very rocky ride.

Posted by: Raylene | March 9, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

There goes raylene reciting her sheeple propaganda again.

She writes as if it's a contest to see how many sheeple code words she can get in.

I got big chuckle from the poster who said Obama is a prop for Pelosi and Reid. If anything, it's the other way around!

I guess maybe the poster is mistaking Obama for the neocon puppet who got in on his daddy's name - BUSH?

I don't see a Cheney/Perle/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz cabal running the Obama presidency.


Posted by: lquarton | March 10, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: lquarton | March 10, 2009 2:41 AM | Report abuse

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