updated 1/16/2009 4:07:16 PM ET 2009-01-16T21:07:16

Happy Thursday everybody!

Welcome to our Daily Briefing for January 15, 2009!  This has been one of those crazy days on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers are getting their first detailed look at the Obama/Democratic leadership economic stimulus plan. That's the one estimated at $825 billion.

Furthermore, just before we go on the air tonight at 6 p.m., the U.S. Senate is going to vote on whether to authorize the Treasury Department to release the second chunk of $350 billion that is part of the TARP or "Troubled Asset Relief Program," (what critics call the "Wall Street bailout.")

I'm thrilled to announce that my friend and former boss Chris Matthews will be joining us at 6 p.m. for a few minutes off the top of the show to talk about today's developments. Chris has an intriguing take on the economic recovery plans and on President Bush's speech to the nation tonight.

In addition to having Chris on to talk about that, we will run a fascinating montage of farewell speeches from other presidents. It will enlighten you about the big challenge President Bush has this evening.

The fast moving developments in Congress today will also be a big part of our 6 p.m. show. First, on the TARP, lawmakers hate it. There has been virtually no oversight.  Few of the banks have been able to explain what they did with the first chunk of money they received.  Still, there continue to be great fears about the credit crisis getting worse. So, while the vote will be close, my colleague Ken Strickland reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid believes the votes are there to pass this; simple majority required.

As for the Obama/Democratic economic stimulus plan –  "Oh my God."  That was the public utterance at a news conference today by Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner reacting to the size of the spending. Some of us are shocked at the way the $825 billion is divided. Transportation infrastructure accounts for just $85 billion.  I'm told there are not as many "shovel ready" projects as lawmakers would like.  Still, if infrastructure spending is the best way to create jobs it's startling to see that only 10% of this package will go in that direction. The biggest piece of this will go for food stamps/unemployment/green jobs. One of my relatives pointed out this morning that the job creation impact in those areas is uncertain. We will get some reaction from Republican Congressman John Campbell.

He will outline where Republicans will try and put up a fight.

Also tonight, we have another edition of "Hypocrisy Watch." This involves my bank. I'll explain on the air.

Later, President-elect Barack Obama's Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder went through a pretty rough confirmation hearing this morning.

We will show you the highlights.  Several senators questioned him about the infamous Marc Rich pardon he helped secure during the Clinton administration. Holder also faced questions about his role in President Clinton's decision to grant clemency to Puerto Rican separatists involved in the deadly 1982 bombing of a Manhattan federal building. The 16 members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation served 19 years in prison before the clemency was awarded. Holder said today it was a difficult decision for Clinton but described it as "reasonable," contending that those released from prison did not carry out the violent acts. Former FBI officials have disputed that view. We will get the view from a guest who felt the direct personal impact of FALN.

Plus, you can feel the "electricity" in the air here in Washington, D.C. as the anticipation grows over the inauguration festivities. A huge concert is planned for the Lincoln Memorial/National Mall on Sunday featuring Bruce Springsteen, Bono, and others.

Police expect half a million people for the Sunday concert!

President-elect Barack Obama and his family today moved from their hotel into Blair House, signaling the final 5 days before inauguration.

Meanwhile, Obama's love of basketball came up at the Holder confirmation hearing today. We will show you the clips in today's "Briefing Room." Our briefing will also take you into an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot!  That's right – our cameras were rolling when her cameras were snapping off pictures of some Obama staffers!

And finally, our "Muckraker of the Day." He has a remarkable report on how the U.S. government botched the case of a bombing suspect and what the incoming Obama administration can learn from this episode.

By the way, a special "shout out" to my family and friends back home in Bloomington, Indiana.  For all of you who have signed up for this briefing at the urging of my parents... "thank you."
Today's quote comes from a childhood icon – former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight

"Most people have the will to win; few have the will to prepare to win."

Our show airs each weeknight at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C. and Bloomington, Indiana; 5 p.m. in St. Louis, 4 p.m. in Colorado Springs, and 3 p.m. in San Francisco!

Thanks for watching!


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