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White House Cheat Sheet: Tick, Tick, Tick

President Obama is calling on the patience of an anxious public. AP Photo by Gerry Broome.

President Obama continues to ride high in polls but his call for patience from the American public even as the economy continues to falter opens the possibility of far tougher days to come for his administration.

On Tuesday, Obama insisted that he paid little attention to the "day-to-day gyrations of the stock market" -- words echoed repeatedly hours later by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs during his daily press briefing.

"I think the American people understand we didn't get into this problem in the beginning of February," Gibbs said from the podium. "So we're not likely to get out of this problem by the end of March."

That rhetoric is a re-stating of Obama's dual-pronged approach on the economy since taking office on Jan. 20. The first element of that strategy is to make clear that the current fiscal crisis gripping the country was "inherited" by Obama; the second is to buy time to let his major policy moves -- the $787 billion stimulus package, the bank bailout, the home foreclosure legislation -- begin to have their intended effect.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey out last night suggests the American people are willing to give the president some time. Asked which party they most trust to guide the country out of its economic turmoil, 48 percent said Democrats while just 20 percent named Republicans. In the same survey, six in ten voters expressed approval for the job Obama has done to date.

And yet, warning signals persist. Earlier this week the Dow Jones Average dipped below 6,800 for the first time in more than a decade and CNBC analyst Jim Cramer, a widely respected voice on financial markets, has been vocal of late in his criticism of Obama's plan -- calling it a "radical agenda" during an interview Tuesday morning on the "Today Show."

Relying on the patience of the American public is a risky strategy for Obama although, given the size and quantity of the problems in the domestic and international economy, it may be the only approach open to him.

Voters tend to be willing to wait and see how things will turn out only when the atmospherics around them are neutral or positive; when things take a turn for the worse an element of panic sets in and a demand for immediate solutions become paramount.

The simple truth for Obama is that there are no easy answers on fixing the economy. (If there were, some smart person of some partisan stripe already would have thought of it.) He must use his significant personal political capital to delay judgment about the state and future of the economy or risk a public that is widely supportive of him quickly turning in the other direction as fears for their future well being take precedence.

Wednesday Must-Reads: We read the news so you don't have too. (Or at least the five most important news stories of the day.)

1. Just four years after Republicans held control of the White House, the Senate and the House, the party is badly outnumbered in Congress and playing catch-up against the far more sophisticated operation of President Obama. Steve Holland of Reuters looks at just how far GOPers still have to go.
2. New pricetag for bank bailout? Try seven hundred billion dollars, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
3. NPR goes in-depth on the looming GOP primary between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and what it means for the future of Republican politics in the Lone Star State. (The Fix ranks this as the best primary in the country in our most recent Line.)
4. Is Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele running out of do-overs?
5. Why the identity of the next Kansas lieutenant governor could matter -- big time.

Quigley's Coming to Congress: Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley won a crowded Democratic primary yesterday in the special election race to replace White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. A few winners and losers from the vote. Winners: 1) Outsiders -- Quigley's two main opponents were state legislators 2) John Anzalone/Pete Giangreco/Saul Shorr -- The pollster, mail guy and media consultant for Quigley chalk up a win in a contested primary. The campaign went with a mail-heavy (15 different pieces) strategy in a district where television is costly. It worked. Losers: 1) Emily's List: The massive fundraising and consulting conglomerate hasn't had much luck in this seat. After unsuccessfully backing then state Rep. Nancy Kaszak in 2002, the List came up short again last night with their support of state Rep. Sara Feingenholtz.

Paterson Plummets: New York Gov. David Paterson's (D) chances at winning a full term in 2010 are looking more and more grave as a new Marist poll shows the Empire State chief executive in disastrous shape. Roughly one-quarter of New Yorkers rated Paterson as doing an excellent or good job while 71 percent of gave him only fair/poor scores. Paterson's approval rating is lower than any governor in the last three decades of Marist polling, a time frame that includes the disgraced Gov. Elliot Spitzer. More troubling for Democrats, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), who continues to mull the race, leads Paterson 53 percent to 38 percent. If Paterson's numbers don't improve soon, expect the state and national party to try and push him out the door in favor of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo whose popularity has soared of late. The Marist survey showed more than seven in ten New Yorkers saying Cuomo was doing an excellent/good job in office.

Whither Huck?: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, once the darling of national politics, has watched his star fade of late as other new, fresher faces have emerged. Huckabee continues to host a weekly show on Fox News Channel but he was an almost non-presence at the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend -- finishing sixth in the straw poll balloting with just seven percent support. Huckabee's problem for 2012 is two-fold: first, his shtick (straight talking southerner who understands average people) may be wearing thin, and, second, he is no longer the new/hot story -- replaced by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford among others.

A Reid Challenger Drops: Former Nevada Rep. Jon Porter (R) has signed on as the director of public policy for the D.C. office of the law firm Akerman Senterfitt. Porter, who won the swing 3rd district in 2002, was widely regarded as the strongest potential challenger to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) in 2010 but was ousted by now Rep. Dina Titus (with a major assist from Reid) last November. National Republicans are now waiting on a decision from Rep. Dean Heller but don't expect an announcement any time soon. Given Reid's middling numbers and the distaste with which he is held among the GOP base, it's hard to imagine that Republicans won't find someone serious to take him on. But, that candidate hasn't emerged yet.

Steelman Comes to Washington: Sarah Steelman, the former Missouri Treasurer and 2008 gubernatorial candidate, is coming to Washington next week to discuss the possibility of challenging Rep. Roy Blunt in the Republican Senate primary in 2010. Steelman tells the Fix via email that she has already met with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) about her candidacy and that he has pledged to her to be "neutral" in a primary if she decides to run. What "neutral" means remains to be seen. Establishment Republicans believe Blunt is their best candidate but Steelman has an outsider appeal, personal money and might line up just as well (if not better) in a general election against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).

Twitter Time: Mark McKinnon, a Fix Friend, may think Twitter is dead but we like it just fine thank you very much. And so, you can imagine our consternation when we realized Ana Marie Cox, the queen of Twitter, has 116,693 more people following her tweets than the ole Fix. Come on people! Can we shrink her margin to under six digits? "The Fix" is our everyday feed; "TheHyperFix" is our live twitter vehicle.

Say What?: "It is a bipartisan disease, and we do not seem to get it." -- Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) on the illness known as earmarks during an interview with Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 4, 2009; 6:04 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Twittering Gibbs
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For Obama - The greatest thing about Bush was that he was so forgettable -- For Obama NOW -- the worst thing about Bush is that he is so forgettable.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 8, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What is it seven weeks now that our country has taken a nose dive with a trail of trillons of dollars scattered around in no certain order.The only meaningfull activities if you want to call them that are the exchanges between Rush and Barach Hussein Obama which seems like a side show in a two bit carnival circus.Oh yeah a new cabinet member has signed on and of course he owes back taxes too.What else is new?

Posted by: a4853916 | March 7, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Not tick, tick, tick but pick, pick, pick. That's all too many of you have been doing since President Obama took office. If its not one idiotic complaint it's another. Did he say Michelle and me or Michelle and I, why does he need the teleprompter (for the same reason talking heads do),why isn't he wearing his lapel pin, why is Mrs. Obama showing her arms so much, why doesn't the President cancel helicopers purchased by Bush, why isn't the stimulus package working after only one week. There are lots of us out here who recognize what you are doing with your 24/7 coverage of the President, you're trying to expose any pock marks and exploit them. Everyone's got an opinion, everyone's second guessing, everyone has a critique like he doesn't know what the heck he is doing. I assure you he does. Relative to the Dow, we know that those 32 companies are manipulating the numbers so the public will lose faith in the President. We know that it is possible to engineer the collapse of a stock's price for whatever purpose. I hope President Obama decides that having a transparent administration is not in his best interest nor the country's. If he does you and those big mouth talking "fat" heads will be on the unemployment lines.

Posted by: flojo531 | March 6, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Cramer and Rush have one thing in common...they are getting rich .. mainly just for yelling and acting really weird.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 5, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Great Jim Cramer should view yesterday's Daily Show for a reminder of some of his less than accurate financial predictions over the past year. Perhaps Mr. Cramer (whom I like)needs a dose of humility. And give the president a little more time. Or is this the real picture of POWER, that it is Wall Street and the bankers who run our country!

Posted by: johnbrazo | March 5, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

kreuz, your point about Palin backing Goodhair to stay on the good side of the social cons and the money, if any, on the far right, is well taken.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

CC wrote:

"...Jim Cramer, a widely respected voice on financial markets...".

Not after the numerous clips of Cramer on "The Daily Show" tonight. I had never seen him so this was my first exposure. He actually said, when the DJI was at 13k, that it was overvalued but that it would continue to climb indefinitely - buy!

He yelled so much silly advice in 2008 that if I had given similar service to a client I would have been disbarred. Having had no idea what the fundamentals of the market actually were in 2007 or 2008 he has now become a respected voice? No. Only in the never-never land of CNBC's worship of Mr. Stanford and something-for-nothing.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Lemme see now. Yesterdays poll had Democrap Socialist Barack Obama's approval rating at 60%. Last week though, it was 68%--that's a 8% drop in a week. At the rate Bozo the Clown Barack Obama is going, his polls will be right about where his shoe size and IQ is come about July of '09.

Posted by: armpeg | March 4, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking...maybe Iran will have a lot to say about the success of BHO and it won't be timed to the 2010 elections per se.

Posted by: leapin | March 4, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"leapin, you're not thinking."

The understatement of the year.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 4, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

leapin, you're not thinking. you write
"Another one is tax increases scheduled for 2011, supposedly to go into effect after some economic recovery, but really to wait until the 2010 election is over."

But the law was promoted, and signed, by President Bush, not President Obama. Furthermore, the tax rate for 2011 is most apparent around April 15, 2012 - when income tax returns are due. This is right in the midst of Presidential primary season where surely the GOP field - or last man standing, if they stay true to form - will surely be pounding the issue, trying to build traction to take on the incumbent in the election later that year.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 4, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Who will notice? The conservative base who loves Perry and despises KBH. The people she needs for money and primary support. She doesn't need to carry him over the finish line, she just clearly needs to be the good conservative foot soldier.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | March 4, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

koolkat, who will notice outside of TX? She and KBH do not get along so there was no way she was going to back Kay, and she may owe Goodhair a favor.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Captain Obama, the Russians are acting belligerent and disagreeable.

Lower the shields Spok.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The hope and change candidate who in reality has brought Chicago style politics to the national scene is not really a "new" kind of pol. Have you begun to see the pattern of basing all his decisions around the 2010 elections? Like getting out of Iraq in 2010 just before the elections figuring it will boost popularity. But while Obama lies, boys and economy die. Another one is tax increases scheduled for 2011, supposedly to go into effect after some economic recovery, but really to wait until the 2010 election is over.

Posted by: leapin | March 4, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin: Isn't Sarah Palin setting herself up for another public embarrassment by butting into this race on behalf of Perry?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | March 4, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I really like the must read picks and all the little blurbs at the end of the blog- please keep these featured going.

Posted by: sfcpoll | March 4, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Please stop twittering as soon as possible .. I understand that it is addictive, but it also just sorely detracts from the overall appeal of this site because, even with your writing skills, it just generates the most inane brand of swill .. However, on a more positive note, thank you for the must-reads, which they always all indeed are

Posted by: kdemko | March 4, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Stay away from the Adderall, zuke.

Posted by: mattintx | March 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know how Cramer's Bears Sterns stock is doing?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | March 4, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I love The Fix and always look forward to Chris's appearances on hardball and Countdown, but I must admit I was shocked--shocked!!--to see "Jim Cramer" and "widely respected" in the same same sentence.

Posted by: dlk117561 | March 4, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Jim Cramer is respected? He is the foaming bald guy who is wrong all the time on one of those business shows. Man, you villagers are absurd.

Posted by: havok26 | March 4, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Feingold, bayh and mccaskill have wised up and seen the light. The mistake that was obama is revealed. Press remains silent.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

the Gestapo has announced that doctors will be forced to kill babies if so ordered.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Parker, the market is trashing ME on a daily basis. Why cannot we trash IT on a daily basis?

Sometimes all one can do is b*tch.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

16 is the number of years it will take before the Republicans (or "conservatives") matter again on the national scene.

As the right wing tears itself to pieces, I ask again, who, who is going to give any money to the Republican National Committee?
Jim Cramer? Internet Trolls living in mom's basement?

The Republican mask fell off and they can not put it back on again. The Reagan political force was all based in lies. It turns out what is great for the rich is not good for the middle class.

America sees that as a fact now.

This realization has nothing to do with liberalism or socialism, it has to do with the lies perpetrated by rich, white plutocrats whose only conservative interest is in conserving themselves.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 4, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama won't make this mistake again. You can't start trashing the markets on a daily basis.


Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 4, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse



Scribes, correspondents and producers:

Still-secret Bush Justice Department memos are believed to have approved the covert use of classified, silent microwave radiation weapons on U.S. citizens -- "targeted" under the pretext of the "war on terror" as "undesirables" and "dissidents."

Victims, including the journalist who authored the articles linked below, say these painful, debilitating and illness-inducing microwave assaults constitute torture and "slow-kill" (a military descriptive) homicide -- what could be described as an American genocide.

Victims of these assaults say their family finances are decimated by an array of secret "programs of personal financial destruction" that involve the forced cooperation of private enterprise; surveillance and interception of mail and telecommunications; and the forging of billing, utility, banking and mortgage statements -- what they charge is a process of expropriation and theft by deception.

Sources say these covert programs were justified by the Bush Justice Department under legal theories that are said to include a suspected "nexus to terrorism" and, according to a source, the legal theory that weapons testing and/or medical experimentation on U.S. citizens is permissible if subjects are under federal investigation for suspected offenses.

These microwave weapons assaults have continued under the Obama administration, and are facilitated by an "extrajudicial punishment network" enabled by federal agencies; local police nationwide; and "community gang stalker" citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and volunteer organizations.


Victims have asked the FBI/Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation. They say officials have told them they see nothing to investigate, and hint that victim accounts are delusional.

Victims maintain that marginalizing the persecuted as "unstable" or "mentally ill" is a tactic being used to cover up crimes against humanity, a highly organized and well-funded social genocide.



• Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

• Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

• Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction."


OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):


Posted by: scrivener50 | March 4, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

geithner has announced he is going after tax cheats.

They write themselves.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

That wiz kid Obama is so astute he thinks PE is profit to earnings ratio. I thought he outlawed profit. Dow down 3000 since we were fooled.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree with BradCPA. I will go further and say that KBH's lead in the first polling is so overwhelming that Goodhair may decide to try for the Senate seat.
February 24, 2009
Poll: Hutchison leads Perry by 25 points

Perry Hutchison together North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling has stuck its nose in the Texas race for governor and the news doesn't bode well for the incumbent.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison leads Gov. Rick Perry 56 percent to 31 percent among likely Republican voters, according to the poll released this morning.

Hutchison is viewed favorably by 76 percent of those polled, while Perry is viewed favorably by 60 percent.

Dig deeper into the numbers and another interesting tidbit emerges: Hutchison has a 16-point lead among the 47 percent of respondents that like both candidates.

PPP polled 797 likely Republican primary voters from February 18th to 20th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.5%.

The firm plans to release a poll on those vying for Hutchison's Senate seat tomorrow.
This poll was among R voters. Is and Ds who will vote in the R Primary [we have open primaries] may not give Goodhair even 10% of their votes.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 4, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

A lot of Texas Democrats are going to vote for Kay Baily in the primary. Perry did not get a majority in the general election last time and most Texans are sick of him.

Posted by: bradcpa | March 4, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

It seems bipartisanship is achieved. 14 dem senators have realized the calamity that is lib economics. I guess they sense an iceberg on the Obama titanic. while the messiah encourages us to go down with the ship, his minions elbow their way to the lifeboats. The rest of you- buy stocks.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

It seems bipartisanship is achieved. 14 dem senators have realized the calamity that is lib economics. I guess they sense an iceberg on the Obama titanic. while the messiah encourages us to go down with the ship, his minions elbow their way to the lifeboats. The rest of you- buy stocks.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 4, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

It appears that many Americans realise that there are no easy answers to the economic mess (and many also realise that this is global in nature as well.) I believe they do have the patience to let Obama work through this. The public appears to trust him, more so than the previous Administration, and give him wide berth.

I don't think they have patience for Cramer, Limbaugh and other blowhards who speak for the sake of speaking. The days of screaming the loudest to get oneself heard (especially when one has nothing relevant to say) are nearly over....

Posted by: RickJ | March 4, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

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