In case you weren’t paying attention, Wednesday was infrastructure day at the White House.
Tales from the Trail
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.
After a day of foreign policy, attention returns to the economy on Friday.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to talk about the economy. They will also hold a budget meeting and Obama will meet with Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Giethner who won backing from the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.
Everybody is waiting for Joe Biden, U.S. President Barack Obama’s genial but gaffe-prone vice president, to trip up and put his foot in his mouth. But in the end, the gaffe that everybody was talking about on Wednesday was not his, but the verbal fumble by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts accidentally switched the word order when he administered the presidential oath of office to Obama on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday. Obama had appeared to jump the gun in cutting off Roberts as he administered the first part of the oath. Perhaps, momentarily confused by that, Roberts then asked Obama to recite, “I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully,” instead of, “I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.” While Obama later sought to play it down, Biden appeared to delight in the gaffe.”My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts’,” he joked during a swearing-in ceremony of senior White House staff on Wednesday, drawing laughter and mock boos from the audience. Obama was more charitable, telling ABC television in an interview that both he and Roberts had had a lot on their mind during the swearing-in. “He actually helped me out on a couple of stanzas there. So over all, I think it went relatively smoothly and I’m very grateful to him.”Click here for more Reuters political coverage. – Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama sworn in as president by Roberts on Jan. 20)
Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery Sunday before heading off to church with his family.
The Obamas attended services at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, which in the mysterious ways of Washington is located on 16th Street about 4 miles north of the White House.
Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden started their day with a visit to the Tomb of the Unknowns. Streets near Blair House, where the Obamas are staying, and near the cemetery were lined with waving people.
In a blustery chill under gray skies, Obama and Biden, dressed in long black coats, placed the wreath in front of the tomb and then listened in silence, hands over hearts, as “Taps” was played.
Obama, his wife Michelle, two daughters and mother-in-law attended services at the Nineteenth Street church.
Parishioners seemed to be aware the president-elect would be attending. The sanctuary, which members said is usually only a third full, was packed.
The church was singing an opening song when the Obama family walked in. The congregation stood and applauded as they proceeded down the aisle behind the Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, shaking hands and waving to people as they went.
The Obama family sat in the second row near the altar. Daughter Sasha produced a camera and apparently got off a snap of sister Malia before their grandmother, Marian Robinson, confiscated the device.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden expects that his oldest son Beau, who has been on a tour of Iraq with his Army National Guard unit, will be in Washington for Inauguration Day next Tuesday.
It’s a busy old day on Capitol Hill.
President-elect Barack Obama’s picks to head the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Homeland Security and his nominees for attorney general and ambassador to the United Nations will be on Capitol Hill for their Senate nomination hearings.