Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Friday, Jan. 9

January 9, 2009

FINANCIAL/

Who gets the billions?

The incoming Obama administration is preparing a major overhaul of the $700 billion financial bailout amid rising complaints in Congress that the payouts are not going to the right people.

The First Draft, Thursday, Jan 8

January 8, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama will use a speech on the economy Thursday to try to build support for a massive stimulus bill aimed at lifting the United States out of a deep recession. 
 
BUSH/Obama is warning Congress that unless it acts quickly and boldly to pass his stimulus plan, with its estimated $775 billion price tag, the country could be mired for years in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
 
The president-elect delivers his remarks at 11 a.m. at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, with less than two weeks to go before his inauguration.
 
The speech comes as some lawmakers and financial experts are beginning to raise doubts about elements of the stimulus plan.
 
The Washington Post quoted lawmakers, tax experts and economists as saying some of the tax cuts in the Obama plan are likely to be too expensive and ineffective.
 
Obama’s choice to lead the administration’s charge on health care reform goes before a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday.
 
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is expected to receive a cordial welcome from his ex-colleagues and Democratic leaders on the panel predict a smooth confirmation.
 
President George W. Bush travels to Philadelphia Thursday for an event touting the success of his No Child Left Behind education reform program.
 
The House of Representatives and the Senate hold a joint session to formally count the electoral votes from the November election, in which Obama defeated Republican rival John McCain.
 
The action will formally declare Obama as winner of the U.S. presidential vote.
 
The morning television news shows reported on Obama’s economic speech and new violence in the Middle East, where rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel.
 
The attacks raised concerns about a possible second front in Israel’s two-week war against Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip.
 
U.S. stock futures dropped early Thursday on disappionting December sales by Wal-Mart, pointing to a lower open on Wall Street.
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

The First Draft: Wednesday, Jan. 7

January 7, 2009

USA-OBAMABarack Obama can expect questions about his plans to stimulate the flagging economy, his controversial choice of Leon Panetta for CIA chief and the war in Gaza at a mid-morning news conference.

The First Draft: Tuesday, Jan. 6

January 6, 2009

MALAYSIA

On a dark and drippy Washington morning, President-elect Barack Obama meets with his economic advisers to discuss the 2010 budget.

The First Draft, Monday, Jan. 5

January 5, 2009

USA-OBAMA

President-elect Barack Obama woke up today in the tony Hay-Adams Hotel, across Lafayette Park from the White House.

The First Draft, Friday Jan. 2

January 2, 2009

The new year begins on a quiet note in Washington, but lawmakers are preparing to hit the ground running next week when the 111th Congress will be seated.

The First Draft, Wednesday Dec. 31

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year. It was a great political year. But most folks with a 401K retirement account and a mortgage will be glad to bid farewell to 2008 and ring in 2009 with a feeling of optimism that is natural with the start of a new year. 

The First Draft, Tuesday Dec. 30

December 30, 2008

Israel’s military operations in Gaza continue to dominate front pages of major newspapers and morning talk shows. Wall Street is looking for a positive start as oil and gold prices ease back from the price spikes that followed the onset of the Israeli strikes against Hamas.USA-OBAMA/

The First Draft, Monday Dec. 29

December 29, 2008

WASHINGTON – Israeli air attacks in Gaza dominate morning talk shows and front pages of major U.S. newspapers. The attacks pushed up oil prices by more than $3 a barrel to over $40. Gold prices also moved higher. Nevertheless, U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street in what is expected to be a light trading.tanks2

The First Draft, Friday, Dec. 26

December 26, 2008

President George W. Bush heads to his Texas ranch for a holiday break Friday.
 
President-elect Barack Obama is already on vacation in Hawaii, where he paid a USA-OBAMA/visit to Marines on Christmas Day.
 
Congress is in recess until after Jan. 1.
 
With the politicians away from Washington, the morning TV shows focused on other news, including the ailing economy’s performance during the holiday shopping season.
 
Retail sales, minus gasoline, were down 2 percent from the previous year in November and 4 percent in the Dec. 1-Dec. 24 period, MasterCard Advisor’s SpendingPulse reported.
 
Some retailers generate up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holiday period, which typically runs from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.
 
Retailer hopes are now pinned on the post-Christmas sales, which began Friday. USA/