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White House Cheat Sheet: Hard At Work

President Barack Obama. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Movement doesn't always equal progress in politics but President Obama and his economic team are hoping that the image of them hard at work in seeking solutions to the ongoing financial instability will inspire enough confidence to begin turning things around.

Obama met with his economic advisers Saturday to discuss the progress of his stimulus bill in Congress -- the Post editorial board said Sunday that the bill needs to be closely examined and possibly downsized -- and the president dedicated his entire Saturday radio/You Tube address to laying out the specifics of the plan and why it is necessary at this time.

In addition, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced late last week that a daily economic briefing had been added to the president's schedule -- to match the daily intelligence briefing former President George W. Bush received.

"The President asked that this be added each day to his schedule, as the country is in the midst of an economic crisis and an economic emergency," Gibbs said last week. "And he felt it was important that each day he receive the most up-to-date information as it relates to the economy, as we put together an economic reinvestment and recovery plan, as well as future financial stability packages, to ensure that our economy gets moving again."

The goal of all this movement is to give average Americans a sense that Obama and his administration understand the enormity of the problem and are burrowing into it to try to find solutions.

Will the daily economic briefing fix the problems with the economy's infrastructure? No. Will it immediately restore consumer confidence and encourage people to start making big purchases -- cars, homes -- that they may be waiting to do? No.

But, the sense that smart people are on the job and working hard to fix the problems is a start, in the minds of the Obama team, in getting people to think differently about the state of the economy.

"I think that part of the confidence, part of the lifting the gloom is to be honest with the American people about the hole we're in and then project confidence that we will dig our way out of it as long as we act sensibly and responsibly," said Obama in an interview days before his inauguration.

Can Obama and his team outwork this economic crisis?

Sked Stuff: If the early days of the Obama Administration are rightly understood as a rollback of the final days of the Bush Administration then the president's planned remarks today at 10:30 a.m. ET this morning on the environment and climate change should be telling. Environmentalists view former President Bush's eight years in office as some of the most damaging in recent memory -- including a series of policies that favored business over nature. On the campaign trail, Obama pledged to move toward a greener energy policy -- including cutting greenhouse gas emissions and pushing for the development and usage of renewable energy sources. Today's speech is a first step down that path.

News Nugget: Republicans in the House and Senate appear to have decided to fight -- at least for the moment -- Obama's massive economic stimulus plan, which is slated to come up for a vote in Congress this week. "Government can't fix this," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We can't borrow and spend our way back to prosperity." It remains to be seen how far and hard Republicans will push to alter Obama's number one legislative priority before the vote. The next act? Obama will head to Capitol Hill tomorrow to hear Republican leaders' ideas on how the bill can be made more acceptable to members of their party.

Just Asking: Anyone else notice that there is no commerce secretary nominee? New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stepped aside nearly three weeks ago and, as of yet, there is no replacement or even much scuttlebutt about who might be the next head of the department. The Commerce gig -- with its largely undefined and broad job description -- is usually the home for a personal friend and/or large donor to the campaign of the new president. George W. Bush went with Don Evans, the chair of his campaign, as the his first commerce secretary. Obama initially seemed to be following a similar blueprint as Penny Pritzker, the chair of his 2008 bid, appeared to be the frontrunner for the commerce job. That balloon popped as quickly as it had inflated and the job appeared to be Richardson's. The rumor that Tom Vilsack would move into the job quickly disappeared as the former Iowa governor was confirmed last week as secretary of agriculture. Got any suggestions for who is next in line? Comments section is open or email us.

ICYMI....PA-Sen.: Democratic hopes of (finally) knocking off Sen. Arlen Specter (R) in 2010 received a major blow late last week when former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) made clear he is focused on a run for governor in 2010. Toomey took 49 percent of the vote against Specter in a 2004 primary challenge and Democrats were openly rooting for him to seek a rematch -- in hopes of damaging Specter for the general election or even knocking him off. Without a serious primary fight, Specter becomes an even more formidable candidate and may scare away some of the top Democrats looking at the race. The three names most often mentioned are Rep. Alyson Schwartz, state Auditor Jack Wagner and former National Constitution Center executive Joe Torsella. (Check out our latest Senate rankings in the Friday Line.)

Click It! America's favorite soap opera -- a.k.a. the New York Senate appointment -- may be coming to an end but the recriminations are only beginning. At the center of the drama is Caroline Kennedy, the once-reclusive figure who emerged over the last two months as a politician only to beat a retreat back into private life before Gov. David Paterson (D) had even made his pick official. The New Yorker's Larissa MacFarquhar offers an extended look into Kennedy's mindset over the last two months and how her startling withdrawal might not have been all that startling after all. As for the woman who was Paterson's pick, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) will be sworn into the Senate formally tomorrow but sought to get a head-start on learning the ropes -- huddling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the woman whom she is replacing -- in New York City on Sunday.

Bubba in Va.: Former President Bill Clinton (remember him?) will be the keynote speaker at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner for the Virginia Democratic Party on Feb. 7 in Richmond. Clinton has a special interest in the ongoing primary for the gubernatorial nomination as his close friend and chief fundraiser Terry "The Macker" McCauliffe is seeking the nod. McAuliffe and the other candidates -- former state Rep. Brian Moran and state Sen. Creigh Deeds -- will each have ten minutes (or so) to make their case to the audience before Clinton takes the stage.

Say What?: "You retain the right to make exceptions." -- Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe to CNN's Jon King in explaining the decision to grant a waiver to allow former Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn to serve as deputy defense secretary.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 26, 2009; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: The Gillibrand Pick: Winners and Losers
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--"Republicans in the House and Senate appear to have decided to fight -- at least for the moment -- Obama's massive economic stimulus plan, "--

Good move guys. There's now 50,000 formerly employed voters that are hoping for Obama to fail.

Listen *ssholes. After 9/11 was a time for American's, now is the time for American's. Time to get out the crow fork, and eat some crow. You had your chance, instead you screwed the pooch. If you can't offer anything constructive, then stop hindering and shut the F up.

Posted by: DonJasper | January 26, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

it's going to last a long time

did you see the press today on how many companies are laying off?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 26, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Let's emulate FDR and prolong this depression! Libs to the back of the soup line.

Posted by: leapin | January 26, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

It is my belief the Rushbo is just doing what he always does -- trying to get subscribers -- he doesn't really care about economic failure or success (other than his own).

Paying attention to lunatics on either side of the political spectrum is a waste of time!!

I am going to go one step further -- some of the other talking heads are jealous of the number of acorns that he has squirrelled away!!

Posted by: newbeeboy | January 26, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Amatuer hour in Dc these days. Libs who win and then promptly self-destruct and Repubs who can't figure out which way is up.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 26, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

the question remains...
did Rush EVEN READ the stimulus package?

Rush "hey man, I like Percocettes alot" Limbaugh is a fat joke.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 26, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

bsimon's comment about the difference between running operating deficits and capital improvement deficits is well targeted. Like private business, government should not be expected to pay for a twenty year asset like a highway out of current funding alone. There is a diconnect between how government accounts and how the private sector accounts that should not be overlooked.

Several of you chastised me for elevating Boehner above DeLay. For me, the favorable comparison was damnation by faint praise. As a Texan, I considered Tom DeLay the worst example of a public citizen in at least two decades. He was not, per se, a conservative. He was by former employment and by temperament the exterminator. In his own mind he was the legendary "Hammer". If you are from OH and tell me that Boehner is the worst in two decades I will withdraw my "praise".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 26, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

You would think President Obama has enough on his plate without worrying what Rush might be saying about him. Their may be a real pettiness to him that is starting to show. Be forewarned: Pettiness is what destroyed the Presidencies of Nixon and Carter. The President needs to have a thick skin and not be distracted by his critics. Grow up Barry

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 26, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Were John Boehner to spend as much time conversing with constituencies as he apparently does in the tanning booth, and re-imburse us for the electricity used, I would have more regard for him.
It maketh no difference the time in the booth, he will never be Obama.

Posted by: green39 | January 26, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I know what Rush's plan is ---

Signed Rush

Posted by: hobsry7350 | January 26, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Dear President Obama (can I call you Barry?),

You have had a very good first week as president, so far you have been good on your promises. Keep it up.

Now, as someone who worked for you in the generals- I have some ideas what you can do for commerce- see if you like...

Please take Michael Bloomberg as your commerce secretary. He knows a lot about the subject and we really don't want him here in NYC anymore- but he is forcing himself upon us with legislative tricks and millions of dollars. It will show good bipartisan spirit in that "Mayor Mike" was a Dem, then a Repug and now an independent- so he covers all bases.

I hear your friend Caroline is also out of a job right now- maybe commerce secretary for her? She is experienced in commerce as she buys a lot of things- it is about equal to her experience for the senate.

just some ideas.


Posted by: nycLeon | January 26, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh ("I am an entertainer!")spewing policy recommendations?

Wonder whose agenda he is parroting?

Posted by: Spectator | January 26, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Correction...Rush is unveiling his plan now...1pm. Should be OUTSTANDING and something that would actually work. Let's see if Barry engages! (doubt it)

Posted by: DaMan2 | January 26, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

DaMan2 wrote: "Rush Limbaugh is going to unveil his bipartisan response to Obama's Stimulus Package"

Huh? First time I've ever seen "Rush Limbaugh" and "bipartisan" in the same sentence.

But then, wingnuts think "bipartisan" is when economic and social conservatives agree on something.

Posted by: nodebris | January 26, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh is going to unveil his bipartisan response to Obama's Stimulus Package at 2pm today! Let the debate begin! (Obviously Barry is worried about what Rush thinks as he called him out by name on Friday).

Posted by: DaMan2 | January 26, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"Yes, republicans deserve a lot if not most of the blame for the out control debt, that's one of the reasons we are a minority party. But you have to put down the shovel and not dig the hole any deeper. DEMS now see if they can out do republicans in enlarging our national debt with a ton of pork barrell spending."

Not all debt is created equally. Debt accrued as part of normal operations, in order to fund short-term spending should be minimized. This is the debt accrued by the Bush admin, which cut revenue while increasing spending. Debt accrued in order to finance large capital expenditures that will have a long lifespan is more acceptable. That is the kind of debt the Obama administration is proposing. At the moment the House has loaded up the legislation with pork & patronage. That needs to change.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 26, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"put down the shovel and not dig the hole any deeper."

You don't get it. You are still deluded as to the intent of the previous administration.

We need to use that shovel to dig our way OUT. If the monopolists-in-capitalist-clothing had been subject to serious oversight, this mess would never have blown up into a global financial meltdown.

The wages of Greed are Depression and Dysfunction... emotionally and economically, individually and as a nation.

Hey, remember that old cliche'? Dig deep enough you'll find China?

Truer words were never spoken...

Posted by: JEP7 | January 26, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

To the critics who missed my earlier postings. Yes, republicans deserve a lot if not most of the blame for the out control debt, that's one of the reasons we are a minority party. But you have to put down the shovel and not dig the hole any deeper. DEMS now see if they can out do republicans in enlarging our national debt with a ton of pork barrell spending. Nuff already. Stop the madness.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 26, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse


He still looks better than the candidate Bush nominated to head FEMA, i think his resume consisted of being the head of an Arabian horse show. At least this guy is in the business he is being nominated for....

Posted by: rharring | January 26, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

For those that seem to see Boehner as someone with genuine concerns about the budget and the high dollar stimulas package, let me ask, is this the same Boehner that set through six years of Republican congessional control while guiding this country into the largest defict we have ever seen in our history. Is this the same Boehner that worked to isolate Democrats and anyone opposed to the the conservative policies that led us into this mess?

The posters compairson of Boehner to DeLay is a good one. Only exception that DeLay was more open with his power plays while Boehner plays more to the background. Of course, DeLay was in the days of total Republican control and could, in the light of day, play to that power. Power now gone, Boehner has to walk more in the shadows but walking he does while still attempting to force failed conservative policy down America's throat.

God help us from politicans such as Boehner who prefers party ideology over all the needs of all Americans.

Posted by: 1ken | January 26, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Government can't fix this," said House Minority Leader John Boehner.

That, in a nutshell, is why Republicans got thrashed so badly in November.

Posted by: nodebris | January 26, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

the irresponsibility lies with George W. Bush.
Paulson even said it on his press conference of 9-19-08 (that infamous 5:30 AM eastern time press conference) that the housing debacle happened "earlier in the decade" and was not caught. Even GOD Greenspan didn't see it.
Because regulatory review never happened by our own government.
The USCODE and REGS these banking, mortgage companies, and loan companies were supposed to be following....you know..
following the law & code;
did not happen at all.
Who was watching?
No one it seems.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 26, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"This irresponsible spending will doom our children and our children's children."

Our current federal debt is just over $11 trillion, about $4.5 trillion from Reagan, and about $6 trillion from Dubya. Who are the irresponsible ones who have mortgaged our children's future?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | January 26, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

If Obama needs a Commerce secretary why not ask Howard Dean. He has shown through his campaign that he understands the modern market place pretty well, and his stint as the DNC chair showed he can manage a large orginization really well.

Not to mention he did a darn good job running Vermont for 12 years, where when he was governor Vermont paid off much of its public debt and had a balanced budget 11 times, while at the same time lowering income taxes twice.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 26, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse



The controversy over former Raytheon executive William Lynn's nomination as deputy defense secretary has yet to center on what should be the main objection...

...the fact that his former employer is a major producer of RADIATION WEAPONRY (a/k/a "directed energy weapons") capable of inflicting silent, potentially lethal injury and of inducing illnesses and ailments ranging from aneurysms, strokes and heart attacks to eye/vision damage and cancer.

This radiation weaponry has been, and continues to be, widely deployed among units of the military, intelligence and law enforcement, on the federal and local levels.

This weaponry arguably poses a GREATER risk to humanity than nuclear weapons, since their wide availability virtually guarantees that they will be misused.

And there is evidence that such misuse already is happening -- perhaps with the knowledge of some government officials.

If Lynn makes it to the hearings stage, Congress should question him closely on the deployment of radiation weaponry among law enforcement agencies that deal with the general public.

Here is some source material:


OR http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 26, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

To Mark_in_Austin,
Boehner IS cut from the same cloth as DeLay, but without the charm.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | January 26, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 26,09 8:36 AM
"...If the republicans do not draw a line in the sand over this, their is little hope we can save this country's economic viability."

Soooo .... Why didn't conservative republicans draw a line in the sand when they controlled congress? Instead they gave cheney/bush Carte Blanche to bankrupt the economy!!!

Posted by: knjincvc | January 26, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

OK, here we go again! Why, oh why, get so personal about the participants (both left and right) in this great soap opera? Aren't there any of you going to offer specific programs/plans/ideas that could actually help? How 'bout this? Make ALL purchases be the Federal/State/Local governments in the US & terrirtories with companies that are in a bit of trouble and could really use the money? Make the bureaucrats purchase Ford, GM & Chrysler P.O.S. for transportation rather than drive Mercedes, Audis and Toyotas to work? Help the banks, yes. BUT ONLY IF THEY TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE FROM LOSING THEIR HOMES! Help the banks, but only if it help Americans keep their jobs. Help construction companies, but only REPAIR roads, schools, hospitals, airports, the power grid, etc. Repairs could be spread out oover the whole country, rather than build fewer new projects. Think up someting to help rather than complain about a guy who's at least trying to help.

Posted by: hobsry7350 | January 26, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are people too! Hell's bells! Some of my best friends are Republicans. But,as I read daily news reports,I do have to admit that Republicans can be very selfish and shortsighted, and often come off as just plain dumb.

Posted by: winger1 | January 26, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The lamentations by the obstructionist Republicans about deficits is absurd given their silence as the Bush Crime Family robbed the US Treasury. What a bunch of losers.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 26, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Bad move on the part of the Republicans. They obstructed the New Deal at every turn also, as FDR tried to get us out of the First Republican Great Depression.

Posted by: dsbyrd | January 26, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

1. I agree, Boehner is REALLY coming off as a nasty obstructionist - spoil-sport with a stick in the spoke of progress just to feel the power.
2. Lynn - why can't the press and the American people understand the INTELLIGENCE of making exceptions??? We are now living in the era of GREY - the age of BLACK OR WHITE is OVER, get used to it. If the person who is really the best guy for the job means making an exception to the rule, the intelligent thing to do is choose him. Governing people is not subject to the same constraints as physics. Why is this so hard to understand???

Posted by: annieb346 | January 26, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@al and mark, regardless of the comparisons, it seems to me that Boehner is simply being disingenuous. He's quite concerned about leaving deficits for the next generation - and seemingly oblivious to the notion that the Republicans begat the deficit spending that got us to where we are today. President Obama has clearly stated that getting a handle on the budget is important, but that addressing this crisis is the first priority. Seems to me like Rep. Boehner missed that part of the briefing.

BTW, on the subject of being disingenuous, in William Kristol's last op-ed for the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/26/opinion/26kristol.html?hp, he suggests that President Obama "may have learned more from Reagan than he has sometimes let on. Obama’s speech was unabashedly pro-American and implicitly conservative." Will conservatives ever grasp the idea that it's possible to be pro-American, patriotic AND liberal? (According to TPM, Kristol is moving to WaPo).

Posted by: -pamela | January 26, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

PS, then I'm done...

I would suggest that Obama will do much more with daily economic briefings than Bush did ewith his daily intelligence "fool me again" sessions.

Posted by: JEP7 | January 26, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"It seems to me that the goal is to FIX THE PROBLEM but I don't get paid the big bucks by the Post."

Hear hear!

Posted by: JEP7 | January 26, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"a daily economic briefing had been added to the president's schedule -- to match the daily intelligence briefing former President George W. Bush received."

That is an act of great leadership, and no matter how much it is framed as a ploy for public consumption, you can't change the fact.

Obama's shredding Bush's legacy, and rightfully so. We are at war with world poverty, just as much as we are war with terrorists.

Seriously, it may be a slow-burn type of terror, but wouldn't5 you all agree that Bernie Madoff has cause considerable terror, at least in the world of easy money?

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED, WINGNUTS, and Obama's correcting some egregious policy errors, toot-sweet.


Posted by: JEP7 | January 26, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Chris - Please stop referring to former President Clinton as "Bubba".
It only makes you look adolescent and unprofessional.

Posted by: Echo21 | January 26, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Burrowing in is what the political appointees from the Bush administration did when they got the civil service job that was posted for three days over the holiday period.

Posted by: grooft | January 26, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama's and the dems so called economic recovery plan is just another hugh spending spree to pay off their special interests(Planned Parenthood, Ca and other liberal states looking for money, and money to people who do not pay taxes and then dress it up as tax cuts.)This irresponsible spending will doom our children and our children's children. If the republicans do not draw a line in the sand over this, their is little hope we can save this country's economic viability.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 26, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"Movement doesn't always equal progress in politics" WOW! Words on a page doesn't always equal knowledge or analysis.

Chris moves from a visible activity an Obama meeting to identifying that the actions of the Obama White House are all about public perception.

What Obama did is meet "with his economic advisers Saturday to discuss the progress of his stimulus bill in Congress". The WH press office let the press know that "a daily economic briefing had been added to the president's schedule". Both of these actions seem prudent responses to the economic situation by the executive branch.

From these actions Chris identifies that the goal of the White House is PR, "to give average Americans a sense that Obama and his administration understand the enormity of the problem and are burrowing into it to try to find solutions."

It seems to me that the goal is to FIX THE PROBLEM but I don't get paid the big bucks by the Post.

BTW, I like the gratuitous inclusion of the Post's editorial board smackdown of the stimulus plan. Nothing like having the Chinese Wall in place between the news and editorial side of the paper.

Posted by: grooft | January 26, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

And if Obama had enacted sweeping proposals in the first 48 hours to go into effect immediately, the press - and conservatives - would have gone crazy while they slammed his "reckless" move.


Posted by: parkerfl1 | January 26, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Comparing Boehner to Armey may be in order, but comparing him to the exterminator is ouy-of-bounds. Armey, like Boehner, worried about the size of budgets. The exterminator was concerned mainly with political operations and machinations to ensure his own power, and with the possibility of creating a zone free of Ds.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 26, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is John Boehner coming off as a nasty obstructionist? Another Dick Armey or Tom DeLay but without the Texas Twang...

Posted by: al_jal | January 26, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

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