updated 3/6/2009 4:40:20 PM ET 2009-03-06T21:40:20

Happy Thursday!

Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for March 5, 2009. Today, President Obama kicked off his effort to pass health care reform.

Obama said the health of the U.S. economy depends on containing the skyrocketing costs of health care. He has been meeting with key players in the health care debate all afternoon. We will bring you the latest at the top of our show.

Then, we will turn to Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration. Sixteen years ago, the Clinton administration met largely in secret for several months and then introduced their plan and asked Congress to fund it. This time around, the Obama administration has identified a budget figure already and is collaborating, publicly with key members in Congress to craft a plan that follows the goals Mr. Obama articulated during the presidential campaign. We will ask Shalala about the new effort and what she witnessed today at the White House summit meeting on this issue.

In our second block, we will look at the increasingly loud debate over the Congressional earmarks and pork barrel projects. The House passed a $410 billion spending bill last week that is now being considered by the Senate. The measure has 9,000 earmarks (projects that didn't go through any review process) and will cost nearly $8 billion. We will identify the worst earmark offenders in the Senate as well as those Senators who requested zero earmarks.

In "Hypocrisy Watch," we will focus on Sen. John Kyl,R-Ariz.

He has criticized some of his colleague's earmarks and wants the projects tripped from the spending bill. But Kyl is adamantly opposed to stripping put any of his own earmarks

At the half hour tonight, we will talk with Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman.  He wrote an interesting column today entitled "Why I miss Bill Clinton."

Essentially, Chapman argues that President Obama is rapidly growing the size of government, whereas President Clinton shrank it. It's a bit unusual to have a conservative columnist praise Bill Clinton. But, it's an interesting point of view and criticism of President Obama. I'm not sure I agree with the criticism. But, it will be an interesting discussion. After Chapman, we will talk with our panel about the yearning for the Clinton years. 

The panel tonight is Chris Kofinis, Terry Holt, and Alexander Heffner.

Later in our show, we will chat with Rep. John Spratt. D-S.C., a crucial figure in the House on budget issues. Where will the money come from to pay for health care reform? We will ask Rep. Spratt.

Finally, we will end the show with a new feature; it's called "3 things I thought you should know."  We used to do that segment when I anchored the 4 p.m.  And it's a more logical way to explain the segment than "Radar."  Anyway, there is a great story I want you to know about President Obama's baseball "first pitch" options. Plus, you have an opportunity to weigh in on how you think the President will do.

Speaking of weighing in, we are adding a new dimension to "Twitter time." In addition to taking your questions, we will also run some of the videos you like. If there is something on you-tube, or an animation, or late night item that you think we would like, send us the link via Twitter.  

We will review the videos and run a few of them each night and get the review from our panel. 

"Quote of the Day" from Nolan Ryan:

"Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent"

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 San Francisco.

Shuster

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