Welcome to the “Daily Briefing” for January 16, 2009! It was around this time yesterday when I hit “send” on the Daily Briefing and then went downstairs to grab a late sandwich. Suddenly, on the TV, I saw on one of the monitors in our cafeteria that MSNBC had gone to “Breaking News” and was showing pictures of a commercial jetliner in the Hudson River next to Manhattan.
The drama for the passengers was over by the time we went on the air at 6 p.m. but it was still such a compelling story that we stayed with it and scrapped everything related to politics.
So, my apologies if there was something in the briefing that you were counting on seeing last night in our show. I’m hoping you will agree that we made the right choice in our coverage decision. But, we always welcome your feedback. just go to http://www.shuster.msnbc.com.
Tonight, we believe we are going to start the show with some new information about the pilot who guided the U..S Airways jet down safely. A pilots’ union official says Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III is in good spirits and showing no outward signs of stress from the ordeal. His wife, in an interview outside their California home, called him “a pilot’s pilot” and said talk of him being a national hero was “a little weird.”
President Bush called Sullenberger this morning to thank him for his skills.
As for the president-elect, Barack Obama spent part of the day in Ohio. Obama is trying to ratchet up the support for his $825 billion dollar economic stimulus plan.
We will get into that more on the show. As I mentioned in yesterday’s briefing, the amount in the plan dedicated to infrastructure construction is a lot smaller than many lawmakers had expected. Part of that is due to the limited number of “shovel ready” projects. Still, we will bounce it around with our panel. Tonight we’ve got my office-mate Pat Buchanan, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, and from the Independent Women Forum, Michelle Bernard.
Later in the show we are going to talk with former Reagan Chief-of-Staff Ken Dubertsein.
He has some amazing anecdotes about the final days of the Reagan administration and what it was like on the Tuesday morning Reagan’s presidency ended and George H. W. Bush was inaugurated. Here’s a hint. Imagine going into your office for a meeting and finding no furniture and no place to sit. Yes, that was the case on the last day for Ronald Reagan, National Security Advisor Colin Powell, and Duberstein.
This evening we will bring you the latest edition of one of our favorite segments. The segment name is “Hypocrisy Watch.” The issue tonight is Bank of America and the bank’s lingering silence on the government funds it continues to receive.
Also, we are now down to 4 days until inauguration. The air in Washington is thick with anticipation and excitement.
But, fears are growing over a rather embarrassing issue – Port-A-potties. An expert on the number of potties per person says that the inauguration number is way too small. Apparently, for an event that lasts several hours, there should be at least one Port-A-Potty for every 100 people. Inauguration planners have placed 5,000 port-o-potties on the mall.
That’s fine if there are only 500,000 people on the mall. If there are 2 million, as some analysts are predicting, the math is such that you are talking about one potty for every 400 people. We’ve got some calls in today to inauguration planners. I’ll keep you posted.
We’ve compared it to previous Presidential farewell speeches. When you see the clips side by side, it will underscore just how different the environment is for President Bush.
Our “Muckraker of the Day” has a sharp take on the Bush speech. We will talk with him and introduce you to his blog/web site. It’s a site I check every day.
Oh, and before I forget! We learned today that President-elect Barack Obama and his kids had a hilarious exchange at the Lincoln Memorial the other night. Obama described it to the Washington Post. We have the audio and will run his description of the exchange.
Our quote of the day comes courtesy of Abraham Lincoln:
“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”
A special shout-out today to my cousins Judith, Joe, and Sophie in New Jersey. To all of you who are watching the show or reading this briefing because of them, “thank you.”
“1600” airs each weeknight at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, 4 p.m. in Casper, Wyoming, 3 .pm. in San Diego, California.