First draft: From singing to stem cells
After making a surprise appearance on stage to lead a star-studded cast and audience in the Kennedy Center in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Senator Edward Kennedy on Sunday night, President Barack Obama returns to his day job on Monday.
The main item of the day — stem cells.
Obama will fulfill a campaign vow and reverse another Bush decision at 1145 a.m. (1545 GMT) when he lifts a restriction on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. He will also give the National Institutes of Health four months to come up with new rules. The NIH will decide when it is ethical and legal to pay for stem cell research.
He will also be stressing the need to put science above ideology. Former President George W. Bush was accused by scientists and politicians of injecting politics and sometimes religion into scientific decisions.
The economy will also be on Obama’s mind today as stocks appear poised to drop again to new 12-year lows at the open amid a lack of confidence and declines overseas.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said in an interview on CNBC that confidence in the U.S. banking system had to come from Obama.
While he called the current environment and “economic Pearl Harbor” and said the U.S. economy had “fallen off a cliff”, Buffett said he believed it would eventually recover and said the government did the right things to bail out the financial system in September.
Photo credits: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama leads Bill Cosby and James Taylor in song on March 8); Reuters/Mario Anzuoni (Buffet speaks at an October conference in Long Beach, California)