Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Fears of economic stagnation

dowFear returned to global financial markets today, with stocks sinking and the dollar rising sharply on renewed worries about an economic slowdown in China and the United States. President Barack Obama met with senior economic adviser Larry Summers and “talked through some scenarios” on what was playing out around the globe, and how to keep the U.S. recovery on track.

Obama, signing a bill meant to boost U.S. manufacturing, said he was determined to do everything possible to hasten the economic recovery. The problem is – how much more can he do?

Legislation to support small businesses and manufacturing and bolster state finances might be saving jobs, but are unlikely to make much of a difference if American consumers remain reluctant to buy, or if the global economy takes another turn for the worse.

The Federal Reserve may have moved back in the direction of easier monetary policy on Tuesday, but with official interest rates already near zero the central bank fired off its big guns long ago. Nor is the country in the mood politically for another fiscal stimulus through more deficit-spending.

Plenty for the president to ponder, then, as he heads for the Florida Gulf Coast for a brief visit at the weekend, meant to show that the region is ”open for business.” The real vacation comes later, though, with 10 days in Martha’s Vineyard.

Will Gulf getaway be much of a vacation for Obama?

A two-day trip to the Gulf Coast for President Barack Obama and his family will feature some beach time but maybe not a great deal of rest and relaxation.

OIL-SPILL/ANALYSTSPreviewing the first family’s vacation to Panama City, Florida, this weekend, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it would include briefings on the oil spill cleanup, an update on how weather would affect the completion of the relief well and discussions about the spill’s impact on businesses.

Obama will also serve as chief pitchman for the effort to attract tourists back to the region.

Bennet, Buck score wins in Colorado

In a primary drama that might have been subtitled “two presidents and a party,” incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet won the battle for the state’s Democratic Senate nomination on Tuesday.

Bennet’s win was  a welcome victory for President Barack Obama who backed the incumbent who battled both anti-incumbent fever and a challenger, Andrew Romanoff, who had the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton.

On the Republican side, Tea Party-backed candidate Ken Buckbuck narrowly defeated former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton. Buck, a former prosecutor, won despite being caught on tape complaining about Tea Party “dumb-asses” who question whether Obama was born in the United States. He will face Bennet in November.