First Draft: Obama focuses on foreign affairs
President Barack Obama is expected to focus on foreign policy and issue an order to close Guantanamo prison within a year.
But the state of the economy remains a top concern with Wall Street poised to open lower after the government reported the number of workers filing for new jobless claims rose more than expected last week. House starts and permits fell to a record low.
Congress is busy pulling together a huge economic stimulus plans and House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said the House was expected to vote next week on the $825 billion plan. Hoyer also said the White House would host a bipartisan meeting on the plan on Friday. Republicans had sought more input into the package.
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary. Experts believe he will win approval despite his failure to pay some self-employment taxes. It unclear when the full Senate will take up the nomination but many experts saying Obama needs his Treasury Secretary approved quickly to help him deal with the worsening economy.
Morning talk shows focus on Obama retaking the oath of office after a small flub during the official swearing in ceremony. Also talks and major newspapers focus on Caroline Kennedy ending her bid to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacant New York Senate seat. She is citing personal reasons.
Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, will hold his first official White House press briefing today at 12:45.
REUTERS/pool (Guantanamo Bay prison)