updated 2/17/2009 1:06:03 PM ET 2009-02-17T18:06:03

Happy Monday!

Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster “Daily Briefing” for February 16, 2009. Thank you to everybody who is following us on Twitter. We are thrilled to incorporate your ideas and will be asking some of your questions with each of our guests.  Plus, we are going to monitor the "tweets" during the hour and I'll bring them into the conversation in the back half of the program.

This is President's Day.  For many of you that means a special sale at your favorite store or a problem getting lunch because the cafeteria in your office is closed.  (That's our issue at NBC D.C. this afternoon.)  For President Obama, it means the end to a four day weekend at home in Chicago.  Earlier this afternoon, the Obama family flew back to D.C. on Air Force One and then took the Marine One helicopter back to the White House.  The New York Times had a terrific story today on some decisions facing President Obama on the helicopter fleet.

Anyway, we are going to kick off the show tonight with a look at the President's Day, the news he and his team made during the flight, and the significance here in Washington and around the world.  The video of the Obamas returning to Washington was compelling, in part because it reminds you of all the "family" issues (kids homework, for example) they have to confront just like everybody else.

On Air Force One, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested the Obama White House will be releasing their automotive industry monitoring plan very soon.  GM and Chrysler have to report tomorrow on their plans to maintain "viability."  It appears there have been many discussions at GM headquarters in Detroit about declaring bankruptcy. 

Also, Gibbs told reporters the Obama administration is getting close to some plans for troop levels in Afghanistan.

Tonight, we will start with NBC News White House Correspondent Chuck Todd.

Then, we will focus a bit on the big event coming tomorrow in Denver where the President will sign the $790 billion economic recovery plan.  We will chat with one of the younger Republicans in Congress who got a ride on AF1 from President Obama even after voting against the recovery bill.

In our second segment, we will chat with Josh Micah Marshall, one of the best reporter/blogger/analysts anywhere on the net.  He runs a terrific site.  http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com

Josh and some of his colleagues have taken issue with the way the mainstream media pays attention to criticism of President Obama from people like John McCain.  It's an intriguing and legitimate grip so, we will bring Josh on to go through it.  By the way, Josh is the same guy who single handedly broke the big story in the Bush administration about the politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys in the Bush administration justice department.

In “Hypocrisy Watch”  we have a great story about the members of Congress who touted projects in the stimulus bill they opposed.  That's right.  The sent out press releases bragging about pet projects they allegedly helped secure in the bill, even though they voted against the bill.

In our back half, we will talk with Pulitzer prize winning reporter Thomas Ricks.  He has a terrific new book about the war in Iraq.

He will bring us the latest on the Obama administration's Iraq policy.  We will get reaction to the Iraq policy news from our terrific panel du jour –AB Stoddard, Ryan Lizza, and Keli Goff.

The panel will stick around for a few more blocks to talk about a phenomenal analysis piece yesterday by Frank Rich.

And we will, of course, have some fun in our briefing.  The staff found video of a woman screaming like crazy in an airport.  It makes for some really compelling video.  And you will appreciate the back story.

“Quote of the Day” comes  from Charles Lindbergh:

“Sometimes, flying feels too godlike to be attained by man. Sometimes, the world from above seems too beautiful, too wonderful, too distant for human eyes to see . . .”

Thanks in advance for watching tonight's show.  "1600" airs at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in Chicago; 4 p.m. in Denver; and 3 p.m. in Los Angeles.

Shuster

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