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Politics and Media Headlines 2/25/09

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Gibbs: "Danger" if Obama does too little (Politico)
Robert Gibbs just wrapped up an hourlong briefing with about 100 House press aides in Rayburn building, laying out the high points of President Obama's speech -- and handling questions on how to spin the address… When the Q & A began, someone asked Gibbs how to handle the question: "Is the Obama administration trying to do too much at once?" The answer, according to Gibbs: "The danger is trying to do too little, not too much."
Good! That’s the attitude we need. Maybe Obama is finally listening to Krugman. One of my objections to Obama has been that as my senator, he was way too timid.—Caro

Because for the Village, it's a "game" (by Eric Boehlert at County Fair. Media Matters for America)
Note the name of [last night's] Anderson Cooper program at 10 pm, following Obama's address to Congress about the nation's ongoing economic crisis, which features cascading job losses, faltering banks, and a cratered housing market:

Obama's Rx: Innovation (Chicago Tribune)
Promising an overhaul of the nation's policies on education, energy and health care, President Obama vows the present economic crisis "will not determine the destiny of this nation."

Full text of Obama's speech (McClatchy)
Remarks of President Barack Obama to Congress, as prepared for delivery.

Fact check: Obama glosses over some realities (AP)
In delivering his to-do list, the president's assertions deserve scrutiny

Obama Speech: The Applause Lines, The Laughs, The Cool Reactions (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
President Obama's address before Congress on Tuesday night was heavy on optimism, short on numbers, filled with lofty rhetoric and lined with emotion. It also was punctuated by repeated (and repeated, and repeated) interruptions for applause; some from the bipartisan chamber, some strictly from Democrats and one or two by a rowdy group of Republicans. (The final count: Obama was interrupted 65 times for applause, according to Fox News, and received 37 standing ovations, reports the Australia Broadcasting Corporation.)
Click through for Sam’s highlights.—Caro

Polls: Obama Won The Night (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
Instant public surveys on Barack Obama's address before Congress showed, by in large, that the public was incredibly receptive to his speech, regardless of political party.

Bill Clinton Schools Obama, Obama Takes Notes (by masslib at Alegre's Corner)
Everyone who knows anything about the markets and consumers, knows the markets and consumers react poorly to pessimistic leaders. Here was Bill Clinton February 19th via ABC News: “‘I like the fact that he didn't come in and give us a bunch of happy talk. I'm glad he shot straight with us.’ But he added, ‘I just want the American people to know that he's confident that we are gonna get out of this and he feels good about the long run.’ ‘… Here is Obama [on] February 24th: “‘The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation… Tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.’”

I actually believe that *could* be true, provided we make the right investments now, like regional highspeed rail in regions with significant intellectual assets, Medicare for All, and green energy, but I'm not holding my breath.

Embracing the Base (by Steve at The Left Coaster)
Riding high approval ratings from the public, Barack Obama used [Tuesday night’s] speech before the world and a joint congressional audience to forcefully lay out an optimistic vision for the country. Simply put, Obama was bold, ambitious, and confident at a time when such an attitude is critical, and he may have broken through… And there was nothing centrist about it. Any agenda that includes calls for passage of health care reform this year; energy independence measures built on alternative sources and conservation; and education reforms, all funded by reducing the cost of war in Iraq and restoring the Clinton-era tax rates is a progressive agenda.

Obama: Health reform ‘will not wait another year.’ (Think Progress)
During his address [Tuesday night], President Barack Obama … delivered this pledge, eliciting a roar of approval: “I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. Once again, it will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and our conscience long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”
Sounds great. Now let’s see some action.

Thoughts about the speech... (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
Did you notice how tepid the response was when Obama brought up Social Security during his speech? I find hope in that palpable sense of unease…
Despite the populist tone, the fact remains: Obama's bailout plan nationalizes the losses incurred by the banks but privatizes the winnings…
"Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs." Won't happen -- not unless you define "save" broadly…
"I understand that when the last administration asked this Congress to provide assistance for struggling banks, Democrats and Republicans alike were infuriated by the mismanagement and results that followed. So were the American taxpayers. So was I." Then why did he support the bailout? Why didn't he oppose handing so much power to Paulson?...
"The United States of America does not torture." But we'll still outsource torture…
It's easy to recite applause lines. Not so easy to cough up details. His talk of deficit reduction was, under present circumstances, silly.

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Carolyn Kay

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