Tales from the Trail

Treasury’s guide on how to spend 12 zeros after the 1

February 10, 2009

A trillion dollars is a million million dollars or 12 zeros after the one.

And that’s how much apparently every program costs to save the U.S. economy these days.

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.

First draft: Back on the trail again

February 9, 2009

Just three weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama heads back out on the campaign trail today. This time he’s going to a hard-hit part of Indiana where unemployment has soared, to try to build support for an $800 billion economic stimulus package.USA-OBAMA/

With less than 70 minutes to spare…

February 8, 2009

U.S. Senate Democrats had less than 70 minutes to spare when they finally filed the paperwork on Saturday for the compromise they reached with a handful of Republicans for the $827 billion economic stimulus package, setting up a vote for early next week.

‘Restless soul’ Obama feeling cooped up at White House

February 6, 2009

He’s lived in the place for less than three weeks, but U.S. President Barack Obama is already feeling the constraints of the White House.
 
USA-OBAMA/After announcing a busy travel schedule for the president next week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked if Obama was feeling cooped up at the executive mansion.
 
“It’s safe to say,” Gibbs said.
 
“Look, you know, some of you have covered him and some of you haven’t, but he’s a bit of a restless soul.  His idea of a crazy day is to take a long walk.”
 
Asked where Obama liked to walk, Gibbs said “in solitude and isolation.”
 
The president may get a little solitude and isolation on Saturday. He’s headed to the Camp David presidential retreat with his family.
 
After that he hits the road to push Congress to pass an economic stimulus package. He’s in Indiana on Monday, Florida on Tuesday and Illinois on Thursday.
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

First Draft: no break

February 6, 2009

It’s Friday, but no break from dismal economic news.

The employment report showed a whopping 598,000 decline in jobs in January, the most severe slashing in 34 years. The unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 percent to its highest level in more than 16 years.

Impatient Obama sharpens tone on ‘failed’ Republican tax ideas

February 5, 2009

Bipartisanship may be about to take a back seat to political reality in Washington.
 
President Barack Obama sharpened his rhetoric Thursday as he pushed the U.S. Senate to pass his nearly $900 billion economic stimulus bill, hammering Republican complaints that the measure doesn’t have enough tax cuts.
OBAMA/ 
The Republican push is “rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems, that government doesn’t have a role to play, that half-measures and tinkering are somehow enough, that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges,” Obama told an audience of Energy Department staffers.
 
“So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They’ve taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over $1 trillion. And they’ve brought our economy to a halt,” he said.
 
“Time for talk is over,” Obama said. “The time for action is now.”
 
The president’s shift in rhetorical tone came amid press criticism that the White House has let Republicans win the communications battle over his stimulus plan by characterizing it as wasteful and excessive.
 
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs rejected the notion that Obama was backing away from his pledge of bipartisanship, noting the president hosted moderate Republicans Wednesday at the White House.
 
But asked if it was unfair to characterize Obama’s remarks as showing signs of impatience, Gibbs said: “I mean, I think when he said the time to talk is over, I think it’s fair to read impatience into that.”
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

The First Draft: roller coasters

February 5, 2009

JAPAN/All eyes will be on Capitol Hill today as the Senate moves closer to a vote on the massive $900 billion stimulus bill. Lawmakers added expanded help for home buyers late last night in a bid to attract much-needed Republican support, but it’s still unclear whether Democrats have enough votes to pass the measure.

First Draft: rough patch

February 4, 2009

The first presidential apology — “I screwed up”  — making the rounds today.

Obama: 4 years to improve economy until voters judge

February 2, 2009

President Barack Obama says he’s got four years to re-energize the U.S. economy before voters pass judgment and decide whether his will be a one-term presidency or a re-election.