Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for February 9, 2009. "I was stupid." Those were the words today from baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez to ESPN about his use of performance enhancing drugs. At this hour, I'm still trying to get used to the idea that another one of baseball's greatest was "juiced."
Do we now refer to him as A-Roid? Sad story all around.
Anyway, we are going to begin our 6 p.m. tonight with a crucial procedural vote in the U.S. Senate over the President's economic recovery plan. The Democrats need 60 votes to invoke "cloture" and end debate. That's the way of stopping a filibuster. The Democrats appear to have 60, with the help of Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. The formal up/down vote on the President's stimulus is planned for tomorrow, assuming the procedural hurdle get cleared late today.
I just saw an e-mail from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., on the final proposal. He insists that much of the spending is "not stimulative" and he lists things like school construction. I don't get his argument that building schools is "not stimulative." In any case, we will bring up his list with moderate Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
Also, we are working on booking a Democratic senator for the first block. But, things are a bit confusing for the Senators given the unusual schedule and the vote expected at 5:30 p.m.
President Obama hit the road today to campaign for his economic recovery plan.
Elkhart, Indiana is just east of South Bend and the town is home to one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
We will talk about the President's more aggressive approach with Pat Buchanan and Bill Press. The President today said on Saturday that a failure to act quickly on an economic recovery plan would lead to a "national catastrophe." And today, the President said Congress needed to act "immediately" to avoid the prospect of a "deepening disaster."
Some Republicans are beginning to complain about the President's tone. For example, Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., took issue with the President on Saturday. Kyl has earned himself a spot in our "Hypocrisy Watch" I'll explain tonight.
By the way, Politico has a terrific piece on the "political risks" for both Democrats and Republicans in the stimulus plan.
Oh, and before I forget, President Obama has a prime time news conference tonight. Each of the broadcast networks will be carrying the 8 p.m. event "live." So, between the broadcasters and cable, nearly 75 million viewers may see the Q&A. It's a big deal for the President and it's also a big deal for the White House Press Corps. What would you ask? Here are the ten questions for Obama from our friends at politico.
In our "Briefing Room" tonight, we have some video of President Obama bumping his head as he was getting into Marine One this morning. It actually looked more like a "glance," and it didn't slow down the President. We will look back at some of the "bumps" Mr. Obama's presidential predecessors have had while traveling.
Also, we have a very funny political animation to bring you. And, for all of you who noticed our own video "montage" last Friday, thank you. We are going to make it a regular segment. We aren't sure of the name just yet. But it will be something like "the news in 90 seconds." Tonight's version will focus on the President's road show and the debate over the stimulus plan in the Senate.
"Quote of the Day" comes from Babe Ruth: "If I'd just tried for them dinky singles I could've batted around .600"
Thanks in advance for watching tonight. "1600" airs at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in Arlington, Texas; 4 p.m. in Tucson; and 3 p.m. in Los Angeles.