updated 2/25/2009 12:57:21 PM ET 2009-02-25T17:57:21

Happy Tuesday!

Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for February 24, 2009. We are just a few hours away from one of the most highly anticipated Presidential speeches in decades - President Obama's speech tonight to the joint session of Congress.

Technically, this isn't a "State of the Union" address since the President has been in office only five weeks. However, I think it's accurate to say that the state of our union is "fearful." There was another round of awful economic news this morning and the President faces a challenge not unlike what Franklin Roosevelt faced in 1933 when he took office amidst the Great Depression.   

How do you leverage public feelings to convince a nation to work for our greater good? Obviously, we are all going to have to sacrifice in the midst of this but how?  What should we as citizens be doing to help us get the nation out of this? 

We will start tonight with a montage of some of the speech "expectations" that were bubbling across Washington, D.C. today.

Then, we will talk with a friend and former member of Congress, Harold Ford. He has been in the chamber for addresses to a joint session of Congress and has some unique insights into how things go over in the chamber versus on television.

Then, we will talk about the latest Obama housing plan with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

There has been a ton of confusion about what homeowners can expect and how much will be done in the year ahead to help with things like low income housing. Donovan will help us sort it out.

In our second block, we will talk with two of the most powerful voices on the Internet about "policy expectations" for tonight. Republicans want the Obama administration to tackle Social Security next. Democrats in Congress want the next item to be health care. In the midst of it all, several political analysts say "green energy" could be the easiest issue to deal with "politically." In any case, Jane Hamsher will talk us through the details she wants and we are also pleased to be joined by Cenk Uygur.

For "Hypocrisy Watch," each day I'll post several options on Twitter.

The reaction to the possibilities has been a helpful guide in trying to weigh what we ultimately do. Today, however, we really only considered one option. Northern Trust, a Chicago based bank, received $1.6 billion in federal bailout money last fall.  It then pledged to trim expenses, and laid off 450 workers, approximately 4% of the workforce. But last week, Northern Trust spent millions to sponsor a professional golf tournament.

Furthermore, the bank flew hundreds of employees to L.A., put them up in the nicest hotels for several days, and held some extremely lavish parties. The parties featured exclusive performances by Sheryl Crow and the group "Chicago." Several members of Congress are now demanding the bank return the $1.6 billion in taxpayer money it received last year.

In our back half, we will take a closer look at the national mood heading into tonight's presidential speech. A lot of us know people who have lost their job or been laid off. And there is plenty to be frustrated about. Today in Washington, there was some riveting testimony that only added fuel to the fire.

Sully Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed that US Airways plane in the Hudson River last month, saving 155 people, testified to Congress. He explained how the airline he works for got rid of his pension and cut his benefits by 40 percent. That's right. If Sullenberger had decided to follow the market and leave US Air, it's a good bet that the passengers on that flight would have had a less qualified/experienced pilot trying to make that emergency landing.  Amazing.

CNBC's Dylan Ratigan will join us to talk about what the airlines are dealing with these days. Plus, I want to ask Dylan about some remarks from fed chair Ben Bernanke. The Fed chair expressed some optimism today that the recession will end in a year.

Our panel will then join us to talk about the national mood and the challenge President Obama has tonight. We will be joined by Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, Republican strategist Kimberly Strassel, and the Politico's John Harris.

Later in our show, we will talk with New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff about his trip recently to Darfur with actor George Clooney. Their pictures are unbelievable.

And we will round out the show with a look back at VIP's who have been invited to sit in the President's box during addresses to Congress. It's a remarkable and revealing collection.

"Quote of the Day" comes from Tom Brady, a former "State of the Union" guest/VIP:

"A lot of times I find that people who are blessed with the most talent don't ever develop that attitude, and the ones who aren't blessed in that way are the most competitive and have the biggest heart."

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



Discussion comments