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Shuster Daily Briefing

January 22, 2009: One of my favorite Chris Matthews phrases is "elections matter."  That couldn't have been more clear than today.  President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will close down the Guantanamo Bay prison and change military regulations for interrogations.

Happy Thursday, everybody!

Welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for January 22, 2009.  One of my favorite Chris Matthews phrases is "elections matter." That couldn't have been more clear than today.  President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will close down the Guantanamo Bay prison and change military regulations for interrogations.  Here's the historic write through moments after the President made the announcement.

And here's the write through that came later today once all of us in the media had a chance to digest the story.

This is a momentous day in the world of U.S. foreign policy, both in terms of the policy itself and the symbolism around the world.   I'm delighted that we will get a chance again today to start our show by talking about it all with Chris Matthews.

In our 2nd block, we are going to interview former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich.
He wrote a provocative op-ed today, criticizing parts of President Obama's inaugural address.

The inaugural address has gotten a ton of attention on the net, and it's prompted a lot of analysis by journalists, historians, and political pundits. I'm a bit surprised by some of Ehrlich's criticism. But, we will ask him about it tonight.

By the way, did you hear what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her hometown newspaper about President Bush leaving town?  Pelosi said, "It felt like a 10 pound anvil was lifted off my head."

Later in our show, we have another edition of "Hypocrisy Watch,"this time featuring Sarah Palin. She has hired a D.C. super lawyer to help her get a book deal and potential TV gig.  It's a bit ironic given Palin's criticism of some of the attention on her and her family.

One of the things we are doing in the 6 p.m. hour that seems to be well received by many of you is the look at Obama's day.  There are a lot of pictures and sound from him to sort through. We will organize them for you kicking off our "D block segment,"which comes around 6:35 p.m. eastern.

Also in the back half, we will look at the growing Republican opposition to President Obama's economic stimulus plan.  One of the leading voices of the opposition belongs to Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.  We will interview him and try to get a sense as to where the battle lines will be drawn.  Also, Cantor is supposed to meet with President Obama tomorrow.  After the Cantor, we will turn to one of my favorite guests—GOP strategist Mike Murphy.  He has a great sense of when lawmakers have a political opportunity and when they don't.  He has never been afraid to say when Republicans are overreaching or doing something stupid.  So, we will get his take on the approach now by Congressional Republicans.

In our fun E block, we have an amazing story about former French President Jacques Chirac.  His dog, a maltese poodle, just mauled him, sending Chirac to the hospital.  Chirac is fine.  But we were struck by the reporting that the dog is "clinically depressed."  Really?  Does the vet also have a psychology degree?  Good grief.

Finally, we will end our show with a very happy story. In the midst of the inauguration on Tuesday, on the middle of the mall, a young D.C. couple got engaged.  You will meet them on our show and hear their story.

By the way, there was a Cosmo survey three or four years ago that found nearly 80% of married women were "disappointed"in how their husbands had proposed. Only 20% or so were happy with the actual proposal.  I saw that survey before my own proposal three years ago this week so, I went overboard to make sure I was in the correct category.  I sent Julianna on a 3 hour scavenger hunt in D.C. with her sisters.  There were 8 different stops/clues leading to the next. The final clue took Julianna to the place where we met.  The sisters peeled off, I got down on one knee, and proposed.  It was a success.  Anyway, I always find proposal stories interesting and fun.  And I can't wait to hear from the couple tonight.

Our quote of the day from Dr. Ruth Westheimer, talking about human relationships and love:

"Our way is not soft grass, it's a mountain path with lots of rocks.  But it goes upward, forward, toward the sun."

Thanks in advance for watching "1600."  Our show airs at 6 p.m. in Bethesda, Maryland; 5 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa.  4 p.m. in Billings, Montana; and 3 p.m. in Eugene, Oregon.