updated 2/26/2009 12:53:43 PM ET 2009-02-26T17:53:43

Happy Wednesday!

Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing"  for February 25, 2009. So, what did you think of the President's address to the nation last night?  

By most accounts, including Republicans, the President hit a home run. His style, tone, and delivery were "pitch perfect" as a GOP strategist confided to me earlier today. The big question today is, "now what?"  

Well, we are going to start our 6 p.m. show on that point. The President rolled out his third pick for commerce secretary today. For those of you keeping score at home, Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson had to drop because of an investigation in New Mexico, and New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg pulled out because he couldn't support the President's economic plan. Is the third time a "charm" as we like to say? The President picked former Washington State Gov. Gary Locke.  It reinforces the importance the administration is putting on econ and trade issues with Asia, something Locke has a lot of experience with.

Also today, the President spoke about new regulations for the banking industry. 

We will get an update from the White House and then turn to a crucial Senator in the budget battle that's coming, Sen. Kent Conrad, Democratic Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. There is an effort among Senate moderates to focus on Social Security fixes and Health Care at the same time. Furthermore, the New York Times reported over the weekend that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was already engaged in some "horse trading" with Republicans on social security in order to get votes for a health care package. I'm not sure that will fly with key members of the Senate. We will find out from Conrad.

In our second block, we will take a look back at last night's speech with a terrific professor at Cal Berkley who has written extensively about President Obama's use of language and "key words/phrases." It will help us dissect not only what the President said, but how he said it and why it was so significant to the viewing public. Speaking of the viewing public, before the speech the President's approval rating on handling the economy was 63%.  Afterwards, it was 80%. That's a speech homerun in any scorebook.

In "Hypocrisy Watch" tonight, we will take a closer look at one of the arguments made in the GOP response by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.  

He took issue with some sending in the recently signed stimulus bill, including a provision to increase funding for "volcano monitoring." The monitoring helps residents in Alaska and Hawaii prepare for volcanoes and minimize the damage. The problem with Jindal's argument is that he himself wrote to Congress just six months ago and requested over a $100 million to produce new "hurricane levees" off the coast of Louisiana. I'm constantly amazed that politicians like Jindal don't have somebody, anybody on their staff who are looking out for him and can say, "whoa, don't criticize the volcano monitoring after your request for hurricane protection."

In our back half, we have a terrific panel that will look at the rest of Jindal's performance last night. By most accounts, Jindal's speech was a disaster.  In addition, there is a growing sense in the GOP that the party is coming off the rails. Approval ratings for the GOP Congress keep dropping and it doesn't seem like the "opposition party" has any fresh ideas or reliable talent.  We will talk about it with Republican strategist John Feehery, progressive radio talk show host Ed Schultz, and journalist Jon Heilmann.

Oh, before I forget, we have an update on the foreign policy challenge facing the Obama administration in Zimbabwe.

As we've been telling you, President Robert Mugabe is literally starving 7 million citizens to death and has made a mockery out of a power sharing agreement that was crafted in the wake of the election last year –  an election Mugabe lost. Anyway, a key opposition leader was thrown in jail by Mugabe cronies almost two weeks ago. Roy Bennett had a court hearing yesterday and was told he can leave jail on bond. However, the court is keeping him in jail for at least another seven days so prosecutors can argue an appeal.  It's a frustrating situation and we will have an update.

Also, this is Wednesday which means on 1600 it's "Mythbuster Wednesday with Daniel Gross" Our friend and Newsweek senior editor will break down some of the myths about "bank nationalization."

Finally, there was a lot of twittering last night by lawmakers in the House chamber.  We will go through what the lawmakers were saying and throw some of your Twitter questions to our panel.  

Our "Quote of the Day" is from Sam Rayburn, a longtime speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives:

"Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations."

Thanks in advance for watching tonight's show.  "1600" airs at 6 p.m. in Washington D.C.; 5 p.m. in Memphis; 4 p.m. in Santa Fe; and 3 p.m. in Oakland.



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