updated 3/11/2009 12:59:17 PM ET 2009-03-11T16:59:17

Happy Tuesday!

Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for March 10, 2009. 

I am writing to you from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. I'm hosting Countdown tonight at 8 p.m. since Keith has the night off.  My friend Ed Schultz will be handling "1600" at 6 p.m. "1600" will stay mostly true to format for much of the hour. Plus, Ed is a terrific broadcaster with a great journalistic eye. So, please show him as much support as you show me each night.

Here's a quick rundown on the big stories today. President Obama focused on education reform this morning and highlighted his support for teacher merit pay. That's a big problem for the teachers unions.   

As always, "1600"  will start with a live report from the White House on what the President said today and why. 

The President is getting a lot of criticism from Republicans for focusing on things like education, health care, and alternative energy in the midst of the economic crisis. The GOP keeps blaming President Obama for the drop of the stock market. Today, however, the market rallied in a big way. Citigroup reported that it has been turning a profit. And it gave a huge boost across the Dow.

One of the more intriguing figures in Washington, D.C. these days is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. There is a lot of snickering in Democratic circles about his inability to keep some Democratic members in line. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., for example, was one of the senators that forced Reid to extend the omnibus spending bill for a few days. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi would never tolerate such dissent or would exact a huge price for any member who stepped out of line. Reid runs things a bit differently in the Senate Democratic Caucus. Ed has an interesting interview with Reid that will air in tonight's show.

In Iraq, fears are growing about a potential new wave of violence. We haven't talked about Iraq much lately. But, it's a story we are all watching pretty closely these days in the newsroom as U.S. forces prepare to draw down the level of American troops.  

Back on Capitol Hill, there was an intriguing article today about House Republican Whip Eric Cantor. We had noticed the number of Democratic organizations and supporters mentioning him and trying to "negatively define him" in recent weeks.  Politico noticed it too and wrote a terrific piece on that today.

Today's "Quote of the Day" comes from the great marathon runner Frank Shorter and it underscores why I tivo/record "1600"  each night and watch the show before going to bed.

"A good athlete always mentally replays a competition over and over, even in victory, to see what might be done to improve the performance the next time."

Thanks in advance for watching tonight's shows.  "Countdown" airs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in New York; 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. in Chicago; 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Denver; and 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Los Angeles.  "1600" airs at 6 p.m. in Washington; 5 p.m. in Milwaukee; 4 p.m. in Santa Fe, and 3 p.m. in San Francisco.

Shuster

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