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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Democratic Chatter 2-25-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

President Barack Obama delivers powerful speech to Congress - Last night, in a "State of the Union" type speech, the President clearly outlined the economic problems facing Americans. He said as always Americans are up to the challenge and it was time for America to lead again. He explained the need for the recently passed 787 billion Stimulus bill and that the reduction of the deficit inherited from the previous administration would be reduced over the next four years.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted after the speech showed 68% of Americans had a very positive reaction, 24% somewhat positive and only 8% had a negative reaction to the president's speech. has more here.

In a wide ranging speech, he spoke of initiatives regarding health care, energy, education and foreign policy. Whether it was his statement saying education begins at home and the responsibility parents have, or his statement that the U.S. does not torture, he had members of Congress from both sides of the aisle standing and applauding. Even when Obama spoke of withdrawing from Iraq, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was standing and clapping. has the full text of his speech here.

The Republican response was delivered by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. While Obama hit a home run with his speech, Jindal clearly struck out. He delivered his speech in a monotone manner and it was obvious he was reading from a teleprompter. It is hard to find anything of substance to write about pertaining to what he said. If you want to read his prepared remarks, has them here.

The three current stars of the Republican party are Governors Jindal and Sarah Palin from Alaska along with Michael Steele as the chair of the Republican National Committee. With these three leading the way, the Republicans can count on being the minority party for some time to come.


President Obama will announce withdrawal plan from Iraq on Friday - yesterday, it was leaked prior to his speech to congress and the nation, the president will be announcing his plan. It is said to cover a period of 19 months and involve a reduction of two-thirds of the present troops in Iraq. After discussing with military advisers this plan differs somewhat from his campaign commitment of a complete withdraw from Iraq within 16 months of when he took office. The NY Times has more here.


Hilda Solis confirmed as Labor Secretary - finally, after a lengthy delay by some Republicans who did not like her pro labor positions. When the President's Cabinet was introduced last night, she was present. The vote yesterday was 80-17 and came after Republicans dropped a demand for a procedural vote which would have required 60 votes, thus ending a filibuster. A big issue for Republicans is the Employees Free Choice Act which allows employees to join unions easier. The bill is expected to be taken up this summer. TheCaucus has more here.


Today, Gary Locke will be announced as Commerce Secretary - as we reported yesterday, the president has to be hoping the third time is the charm. The former two term Governor of Washington has extensive experience with China and has promoted expanding trade. The NY Times has more here.


Stevie Wonder to receive award tonight from President Obama at the White House - the award is the Gershwin prize for popular song. Tomorrow, PBS will show the concert on their show "In Performance at the White House". It will air at 8:00 PM ET. has more here.


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