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Who is Obama's Audience Today? Washington!

President Obama apparently didn't go to Northern Indiana today to sell his stimulus package to economically struggling Americans. No, according to his top aides, he went there to get Washington to understand what those Americans are going through.

Senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters on Air Force One: "One thing that we learned over two years is that there’s a whole different conversation in Washington than there is out here. If I had listened to the conversation in Washington during the campaign for president, I would have jumped off a building about a year and a half ago."

He continued (according to a pool report by Peter Baker of the New York Times): "The American people are desperate for us to act. They understand that we’re in crisis. They’re living it every single day. Obviously the place we are going to today is one of the more severely hit communities. But all communities are. They’re not into the machinations that folks in Washington are. They’re not sweating this detail or that detail. They’re certainly not buying into the argument that, you know, the New Deal was a failure and we shouldn’t intervene.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs later said: "We lost on cable television virtually every day last year. So, you know, there's a conventional wisdom to what's going on in America via Washington, and there's the reality of what's happening in America.

"I think today's trip in large part is -- this is not explaining to Indiana what's going on in Washington; this is taking Washington to show them what's going on in Indiana and all over the country -- and why people are hurting. You've seen the unemployment rate in this town triple in a year because of -- you've seen what the downturn of the economy has done to jobs and employment. And I think they are eager to know what's being done in Washington besides the same old, ordinary Washington arguments. They want to know what's going to be done to help them....

"I just spoke about bringing to Washington the viewpoint of what's happening in America. I think it's -- I think there's a myopic viewpoint in Washington. And I think Washington needs to understand what happens in Florida, and Indiana, and Michigan, and Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- states that have seen huge in unemployment; 598,000 jobs -- 20,000 -- Americans lost 20,000 jobs a day last month. That's what we're highlighting."

I'll be back after the town hall with more observations -- and some questions I hope Obama will answer at tonight's press conference.

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 9, 2009; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Financial Crisis  
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Next: Questions for Tonight


The Republican/Limbaugh position seems to be: "If we're not driving the bus, we're going to try to crash it."

Posted by: reader991 | February 9, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama’s audience is media/literatti demographic like Froomkin who, just like after Obama’s speech on race, will open up and felate on command tomorrow writing about what a wonderful speech this was that offered hope to the downtrodden masses!

Action for actions sake, that’s what we need people! Don’t bother to think about what is actually taking place, or even the potential ramifications of these actions, like the CBO’s estimate that long term this will be bad for the economy. And don’t even think that doing nothing is an option, like the CBO’s estimate that this recession will be over by this fall regardless of what happens. NO, WE HAVE TO ACT NOW! THE END IS NEIGH!

Goodbye politics of fear, hello politics of fear.

And hell, if Axelrod wants to pressure opposition lawmakers, perhaps he could just organize lawsuits to have their sealed divorce records released, that’s how he got his Boy Prince Obama in the senate back in 2004.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | February 9, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama is trying to put pressure on Republicans to support the bill.

I imagine we'll see him barnstorming towns that are represented by Republicans in the House and Senate.

What the stimulus plan needs is a few more Republican Senators.

Unfortunately, the Republicans don't appear to understand how things work.

For example, they view "fish passage barrier removal" as pork, rather than as a rescue of the $100,000,000 West Coast dollar salmon fishery.

Posted by: chabot744 | February 9, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"The Republican/Limbaugh position seems to be: "If we're not driving the bus, we're going to try to crash it.'"

Seems to be, nothing. That's exactly what their position is. Intellectually bankrupt, out of their element, and with a brand new party leader every bit as corrupt and obstructive as the last. Way to go, neocons!

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 9, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The midwest is the forgotten land except at election time. A divided part of the country that for many years produced the goods that raised the working class to middle class. Now is the time to restore them to middle class, not working poor. Working poor if they are lucky in todays depressed state of affairs.
We have a president that appears to listen and be aware and ask questions.

Let the factories, road work, education and health of the midwest be restored!

Posted by: nstein1 | February 9, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The GOPers have already cracshed the bus. Obama and the non-Blue Dog democrats are trying to get the old GMC coach out of the ditch and back on the road.

Some people are pouring sand into the transmission, and these same clones of Socrates are criticizing BHO's driving as the damn sand spills everywhere.

Posted by: crix | February 9, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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