updated 1/27/2009 12:37:31 PM ET 2009-01-27T17:37:31

Happy Monday, everybody! 

Welcome to the Shuster “Daily Briefing” for January 26, 2009. If you live in the greater D.C. area to the west of Dulles airport, my sympathies today on your morning commute. I caught some of the reports this morning about the diesel truck that overturned, spilling fuel all over the highway. As of this note, the Greenway is still closed. What a mess!

I'm very excited to tell you about a special series we are starting tonight.  We are going to take a closer look at “Ground Zero,” the place in lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers crashed to the ground. Seven years after the terrorist attacks, virtually no progress has been made in rebuilding the site and putting up the “Freedom Tower.” Personally, I hate the “Freedom Tower” plan and consider the project an absolute embarrassment.  But more embarrassing has been the bureaucratic bungling, the design flaws, the lack of planning, the engineering mistakes, and the ongoing delays.  Manhattan still reflects the will of al-Qaida, instead of the will of New Yorkers. It's a shame.

At the half hour tonight, 6:30 p.m. EST, we are going to look at the problems and the options. One intriguing option involves a very smart and sophisticated set of designs to rebuild the Twin Towers. It would actually be more cost efficient to build those than to try and start the 4 building “Freedom Tower” plan.  Plus, it might reclaim something that I think has been lost since 9/11, the idea that we don't let terrorists dictate our way of life or the look of our cities and towns.

At the top of our show tonight, we are going to get the latest on the Rod Blagojevich impeachment trial. The Governor is refusing to show up and defend himself.  Instead, he is taking to the network airwaves to blast members of the Illinois legislature.  In between all of the bizarre diatribes, there was some equally bizarre news from the Governor. He said he considered Oprah Winfrey for Barack Obama's Senate seat.  I put a lot of emphasis on Blago's use of the word “consider,” because there is no indication he ever contacted Oprah.  None the less, it was an intriguing nugget.

My friend and colleague Chris Matthews has another interesting take today on Blagojevich.  So, Chris is going to join us for a few minutes. Then, we are going to turn to Pat Buchanan and Bill Press to go through a couple of big items that emerged today in D.C. Environmentalists got a huge victory this morning from President Obama as he began the process of overturning Bush policies towards emissions and climate change.

Some conservatives fear this will be a heavy weight for the beleaguered automakers to carry.  I'm not so sure about that. But, Pat and Bill will be great on this. Also, did you catch what Rush Limbaugh said over the weekend about the Obama administration? A week after saying he hoped President Obama "failed," Rush is backtracking and trying to add "context" to his remarks. I know, it's a bit ironic that Rush would claim he was taken out of "context."  None the less, President Obama has warned Republicans to stop listening to Limbaugh. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2009/01/61847002/1

By the way, in the midst of the battle between the democrats and Rush, some big companies announced huge layoffs today.  It underscores the idea that our economy is getting worse, not better.  We will talk with CNBC's Dylan Ratigan about the latest economic news and the way our government is trying to respond. Also, my friend Daniel Gross, senior editor at Newsweek, has a “must read” this week.  He writes about companies liquidating instead of trying to restructure, and homeowners mailing in the keys.  Have we given up? http://www.Newsweek.com/id/181264

Tonight's “Hypocrisy Watch” fits right in.  As companies are trying to cut costs, why did Citigroup spend millions on a brand new corporate jet?

In our “Briefing Room,” we are considering a couple of different items including this one: During the Bush administration, satellite images of the V.P.'s mansion were “pixilated” so nobody could see. Now, the veil has been lifted.

Before I forget, have you heard about Sarah Palin's new policy towards the endangered beluga whale? Our “Muckraker of the Day” has a great piece on Palin's latest...

Our quote of the day comes from Rod Blagojevich last month:

“To quote Elvis, 'hang loose.'  Now can I get a run in, do you think?”

Thanks in advance for watching tonight's show!
“1600”  airs at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in Springfield, Illinois, 4 p.m. in Aspen, Colorado, and 3 p.m. in Sacramento, California.

Shuster


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