Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for March 16, 2009. Our briefing today was put together by our intern Hui Wang. Thanks Hui!
The 6 p.m. show should be a fun one tonight. The pressure on American International Group Inc. (AIG) continues to mount. The insurance giant has received $173 billion in bailout money. On Sunday, AIG disclosed that it has paid $75 billion to its trading partners, including some foreign banks. The outrage today, though, is over the $400 million in bonuses AIG paid to executives last year as the company was running up a $60 billion quarterly loss President Obama has ordered Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to try to block A.I.G. bonuses. Tonight, we will get the reaction on Capitol Hill.
Among other things, Cheney claimed the administration's interrogation policies were constitutional. And he said the interrogations had produced valuable information that thwarted terror attacks. The problem is that those who were interrogated have bragged about giving "false information" that sent U.S. investigators on wild goose chases around the world. We will talk about the Cheney interview with Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff.
In "Hypocrisy Watch," we will take a closer look at House Republican Whip Eric Cantor and his claim that he and his GOP leagues are presenting an "honest" opposition. It was a bit striking to hear that in the same interview that he made claims about the stimulus bill that were patently false. Furthermore, while Cantor was criticizing the administration's budget and claiming that Republicans would offer an alternative, Republican senators were saying on a different Sunday show that the GOP would not be producing an alternative budget.
Also tonight, we will look at the high octane rhetoric that the Republican right is embracing these days. Several Republicans appeared on a Fox News program over the weekend and alleged that President Obama is worse than Bernie Madoff.
Another Fox News program features a guest who keeps claiming President Obama will take our nation towards totalitarianism and that FEMA camps are the start of "concentration camps."
Our panel today is going to be a bit different from previous shows. Rather than feature three guests, we are going to make room just for two. They will both be on the set with me and they will debate some of the top issues of the day. Today our panel will consist of Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis and Republican strategist Brad Blakeman. They are terrific sparring partners and debate as well as any guest on MSNBC. I'm confident that tonight's debate will be intelligent, energetic, aggressive, and informative.
Do you have questions for Chris or Brad? Send them to us via Twitter.
"Quote of the Day" comes from William James:
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind. "
Thanks in advance for watching tonight's show. "1600" airs at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in Des Moines; 4 p.m. in Great Falls; and 3 p.m. in Portland.
Hui Wang (and Shuster)