Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for February 17, 2009. Did any of you catch the Alex Rodriguez news conference?
Good grief! I'm not going to say what I think about A-Roid, because it would be inappropriate to start a family friendly briefing with that kind of language. But, it’s hard to feel sorry for a guy who says he was "young and stupid" and notes he has had a "rough two weeks." Give me a break or give back some of that $100 million salary you got after cheating. Then we can talk. You can see I'm fired up over this story. We will get to it tonight with our panel.
The big story in the world of news/politics came out of Denver, Colorado this afternoon. President Obama was in the mile high city and signed that $789 billion economic recovery plan. It had all the feel of a "campaign event."
Off the bat tonight, we are going to talk with white house reporter Jennifer Loven about the politics, strategy, and message. Then, we are going to do a live interview with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Secretary Duncan faces some crucial questions on how his department is going to disburse the $54 billion in education funds contained in this recovery bill.
In our second block, we will chat with Jane Hamsher from the highly influential web site/blog firedoglake.com.
Jane has an intriguing critique on the mainstream media's list of winners/losers in the stimulus plan debate. I often think the "conventional wisdom" among inside the beltway pundits is way off the mark. Jane gets to that quite effectively and it will be fun to have her on the show.
In our third block, a couple of stories are on our radar for this evening. Illinois Sen. Roland Burris has given yet another version of his story about his efforts to raise money for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
There is every indication that Burris misled the Illinois legislature during the Blago impeachment proceedings. Some lawmakers, including a few Democrats, worry that Burris could now face perjury charges for "lying under oath." What a mess.
Also, we are keeping track of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is in the midst of a fascinating trip to Asia. And her travels come in the wake of some interesting news about how the global economic meltdown is affecting Japan and China.
In "Hypocrisy Watch," we are going to talk about the wasteful spending in Iraq and how that seems to have been forgotten by so many members of Congress, including those who are churning out press releases decrying the "wasteful spending" in the economic recovery plan. There is a new report about an investigation by the inspector General for Iraq reconstruction it appears that the U.S. has lost track of as much as $125 billion.
Where's the outrage in Congress? Nowhere. And that's hypocrisy.
In our back half, we have a terrific panel for tonight: Republican strategist Kevin Madden, Democratic strategist Jennifer Palmieri, and Roll Call reporter Emily Heil. They will follow a live interview with the feisty mayor of Lansing, Michigan. His community is keeping a close eye on a crucial round of talks between the Big 3 automakers and the UAW. Those talks will help guide some decisions by the Obama administration on whether to keep pouring money into the Big 3.
Plus, the debate over "bipartisanship" has been an intriguing one in D.C. – even more so following the release of white house pictures showing GOP members of Congress clamoring for a photograph with President Obama.
Finally, as promised, we will get to A-Roid.
Our "Quote of the Day" comes from Thomas Jefferson on the topic of education:
"I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource most to be relied on for ameliorating the conditions, promoting the virtue and advancing the happiness of man."
And thanks to all of you for watching tonight's show. "1600" airs each weeknight at 6 p.m. in Washington, D.C.; 5 p.m. in St. Louis; 4 p.m. in Denver; 3 p.m. in Long Beach.