Tales from the Trail

First draft: Spin after the news conference

February 10, 2009

OBAMA/White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds of the morning television talk shows today to reiterate what his boss said last night in his first presidential news conference: Congress must pass an economic stimulus package to help avoid dire consequences.

Gibbs said on NBC’s “Today Show” that Obama was willing to “do whatever it takes, with Democrats or Republicans to make sure that he gets something on his desk quickly that gets help to the hands of the American people.”

Obama continues his road show today, traveling to Florida where he is expected to focus heavily on the home foreclosure crisis that’s hit the United States — particularly hard in Ft. Myers, Florida .

While he travels the Senate is due to hold a final vote on the $838 billion stimulus bill around noon. If the bill passes, as expected, the House and the Senate will start negotiating a final compromise deal.

While Obama’s away his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner will lay out the administration’s new plan to stabilize the financial sector.

Gibbs refused to give any details of the plan, deferring to Geithner who will speak at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).

But many details of the plan have already leaked out. Sources have said Geithner will lay out a rescue plan that will rely on public and private funds to take $500 billion of bad assets off banks’ books. The plan would also expand a Federal Reserve program that aims to ease credit to consumers and small businesses to $1 trillion.

BASEBALL/Baseball’s Alex Rodriguez made the front page of many newspapers — including a big photo in the Wall Street Journal — for admitting he took banned drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003.

The first fan was asked about A-Rod’s admission last night and he called it “depressing” and said the news tarnishes an entire era in baseball.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at a White House briefing)  REUTERS/Fred Thornhill (Alex Rodrigeuz during a game against Torotno in August)

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