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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Democratic Chatter 1-29-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

President Barack Obama will meet with Cabinet members today - back to business after members of Congress for cocktails last night at the White House. The President is expected to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and also Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.


Not one House Republican votes in favor of Stimulus bill - Eleven Democrats joined the Republicans in voting against the bill which passed with a 244-188 vote. Included in the Democrats who voted against the bill was first term Maryland Congressman, Frank Kratovil. A trip to the Hill by the president did not help as more and more questions are being asked as to what has been included in this massive 819 Billion plan. Originally sold to the public as a major infrastructure repair bill that would put Americans back to work, it now seems less than 5% of the funding goes toward infrastructure spending. The NY Times has a good read on how effective and how quickly this stimulus plan will be. You can read it here.

Expect even more scrutiny to be applied by members of the senate and expect more changes. However, in the end, the bill will pass. The House vote by the Republicans also sets up a possible major issue come the 2010 mid term Congressional elections. If this massive spending bill does not help in putting the U.S. economy back on track by the 2010 elections, the Republicans will be saying "we told you so". Politicians should remember it did not take one action or one bill to get the U.S. in this economic mess and it is extremely doubtful, it will take only one bill to get the U.S. out of the mess we are in. Politico has a good read here.


RNC Chair to be selected tomorrow - more than a handful of candidates exist for the chair of the Republican National Committee who meet tomorrow in Washington D.C. to have a final vote on the choice. The early favorite was current chair, Mike Duncan. Other contenders include African-Americans Michael Steele who was a former Lt. Governor of Maryland and Ken Blackwell who was a former Secretary of State in Ohio. Another notable contender for the chair is Chip Saltsman, former campaign manager for the Mike Huckabee, who sent the CD entitled "Barack, the Magic Negro" out to friends over the holiday season. Let's see what direction the RNC intends to take with their choice for chair tomorrow. has more here.


Ethics questions surround new White House deputy counsel for economic affairs - just yesterday, the President announced Neal Wolin in this new position. Already, he is coming under scrutiny with concerns pertaining to his recent position as executive of The Hartford Financial Services Group. Seems, after some maneuvering, Hartford qualified for some of the bailout bill funds. It is being said Mr. Wolin would need to recuse himself from future actions pertaining to his former employer. has more here.


"Blago Watch" Update - Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will appear at his impeachment proceedings in the state senate. His appearance come after the senate president, John Cullerton asked him to speak. He will be given ninety minutes beginning at 12:00 PM ET with no questions being allowed. The prosecutor will then have thirty minutes, followed with a vote. You can count on Lt. Governor Quinn to be nearby following the vote. The Chicago Tribune has more here.


Obama's choice for national intelligence confirmed by senate - In a unanimous voice vote, retired admiral Dennis Blair was confirmed last night. he replaces former director Michael McConnell who resigned shortly before Blair was confirmed. has more here.


On the foreign policy front, newly appointed Middle East envoy is on the job and busy - wasting no time after being appointed by President Obama, George Mitchell arrived yesterday in Israel and after meeting with officials will be in the West bank today. He will meet with Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. This is part of a seven day tour of the region. So far, no meetings with Hamas have been scheduled. The Washington Post has more here.


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