February 5th, 2009
09:22 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Stimulus Showdown

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/05/stimulus/art.staff.congress.jpg caption="Aides to the senators wait in the hall as Thursday's meeting takes place."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We're covering breaking news on Capitol Hill tonight. The Senate still has to vote on Pres. Obama's stimulus plan. There was talk of an all-nighter. But we're told that's no longer the plan. So, what's the hang-up? We'll have the new details from CNN's Dana Bash and Ed Henry.

Just moments ago, Pres. Obama spoke at a retreat for House Democrats in Virginia.  He called on the Senate to pass the stimulus plan.  It felt like a campaign speech, a campaign to get the deal done.  We'll play the passionate plea for you.

There's also new fallout over Michael Phelps' bong hit seen around the world.   One endorsement deal has gone up in smoke. And, the Olympic hero has been  suspended from competitive swimming for three months.

Do you agree with the punishment?

And, could there be a change soon at the Supreme Court? Justice Ruth Bader Gisburg is hospitalized tonight after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer. Will she step down? And, if so, who might be her replacement.

We'll have these stories and more tonight on AC 360°.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. Jon

    I agree with the President get it done now!

    February 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  2. Valerie Emerson

    The republicans need to get off their Ivory towers, this mess we are in started with republicans....Will they all be happy when there is no Middle class...Just the rich and the poor. Will this make them proud to be an American?...We need to back the man in charge, we need drastic action to recover...

    February 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  3. Marie

    I am shocked at the Republicans and their rhetoric. Bipartisanship is not about one side getting everything it wants - it is about compromise and they are not willing to give an inch.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  4. Robert

    It's absolutely ridiculous that the people we vote in office can not pass a bill to assist the American people. Yet they scuabble about nickle and dimes instead of getting this bill passed and helping the American people. President Obama is right let's fix it instead of complaining about the same things.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Ira

    President Obama is right! Are the republicans forgetting that they are the ones that was in office for 8 yrs. This crisis did not happen over nite. There are many people out of jobs and more to come. I'm sure that all of those Republicans have a nice salary, bank acct, several homes and cars.

    This is reality now!

    February 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  6. Linda

    Where are the economists who support this bill? The only supporters I have heard are politicians who are clueless about economics and business. This bill stinks and will further damage the economy.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  7. Mario

    Stimulus Bill = Crap Sandwich times 2.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  8. Regina Griego

    The Senate is dragging their feet. The spin on the stimulus is all wrong. Companies are not going to hire if they don't see something that will last more than a few months. Tax rebates do not work very well. Get off the mark!!!! I guess I should write my senators. We need change!!!

    February 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  9. Janet

    I thin this is foolishness what is going on. Imagine this president wants to do something for the middle class and the republicans trying to give him a hard time.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  10. Lia

    I for one am very disappointed in the republicans. Now is not the time to play partisan politics. I am frankly, ashamed of them. We need this stimulus. My children have small businesses. My son-in-law had to lay off all of his employees. I have not received a pay check because in my state the governor, also a republican, has issued IOUs. I may lose my home. I know that this economic crisis happened on Bush's watch, but what the heck are the republicans trying to prove? That they are manly-men? They need to get off their high horses and get with the program and quickly!!

    February 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  11. Anil S

    The economy is so bad , people loosing jobs why dont the legislators notice this . they just bicker about their own priorities and pulling each other legs.

    and also why there was no such debates when we went to war and spent trilions of dollars for the WAR.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  12. m buzbee

    There is a lack of support for the stimulus bill for two reasons. First , the last stimulus bill had little or no effect on the economy and there is no indication that further bail outs will result in a different outcome. Second, the American public does not support this bill. Many Americans do not believe that Incurring more public debt is advantageous to stengthen a failing economy.
    Obama's campaign promise to stop bipartisanship in Washington has not survived three weeks. His speech tonight was possibly the MOST bipartisan I have heard. Very sad for our country.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  13. Vinquetta

    Please, just pass the bill already! Yesterday, I have official joined America in the unemployment line.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  14. Mark

    If it's a good bill, pass it. Why wait for GOP support? Have the guts to take the credit or the blame.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  15. BJ

    I support the President. Republicans in Washington need to stop acting like sore loosers and work with the man. If Republicans think that their partisan politics is going to make the President look bad, think again.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  16. R Diamond

    The president has bent over backwards to reach out to the republican party. However, they have rejected all of his attempts for bipartisanship and compromise. It is time for the republicans to stop acting like selfish children and start putting the American people first. As a single, unemployed mom I am tired of hearing the ridiculous bickering of the repuclican party. Why are they not staying through the night to figure out a way to pass this stimulus bill. Are we not worth the effort it would take to put our country back to work? Or is it just better to complain about the democrats while the rest of us go hungry……..

    February 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  17. Dave

    Here's my idea of a stimulus package: Since a trillion dollars apparently isn't squat anymore, let's divide up a couple trillion and give every tax paying citizen in the US, $10,000, or more, each! Now that's a bailout! It's not much for some but for many, it will pay their house payments for a half year. Let the banks crumble, they aren't lending any money anyway!

    February 5, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  18. Joe in MD

    Is President Obama beginning to sound Machiavellian? Do the ends justify the means for this bill?

    Doesn't losing the hope of bipartisanship mean we have all lost? It will certainly be MUCH harder to restore once it is lost. Getting a bill passed is one goal, but getting the country together...now that's when we'll be able to really get something done. It's turning into the Blue and Red Civil War again.

    I hope President Obama seriously considers vetoing the bill if it receives less than 25% Republican support . That would rock their world. And, honestly, the percentage of bipartisanshhip should be even higher.. These bills will determine the future of our nation. The events of the last few days are extremely discouraging when we are all hoping for a smarter, stronger, and more inclusive government.

    For either party to use their status as the majority to rollover the minority to the point that they don't have any or almost no minority support for what will likely be the cornerstone legislation for the next half century is frankly an embarrassment not only for us, but to this grand experiment the Founding Fathers hoped we could accomplish.

    When I voted for President Obama, I was voting for the hope that we can come together. This is not feeling or looking like a coming together.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  19. omar

    so the republicans dug us into a hole by doubling our deficit to 1 trillion dollars and what did the media say?? nothing! so the republicans rammed iraq down our throats with over 800 billion in spending in IRAQ!!! and what did the media say? nothing!!! and cnn and campbell and anderson still have jobs?? they let the republicans spew all their garbage unchallenged? no wonder this country is going to hell, thanks cnn! thanks media!! you are hurting america!!!! what the f are you doing cnn? call out those republicans for all the crap they did the last 8 years!!!! will you? will you? instead of piling up on obama??? what the f is wrong with you???

    February 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  20. Shirley Thomason

    I wish the lawmakers could think of the people suffering from this deep recession and worry less about their political status. This is not the time for politics as usual. Pass the Stimulus Package ASAP. To me this would be the patriotic thing to do.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  21. anne cotton, fairhaven, mass

    the president has been thrown into the battle before he has learned what kind of president he wants to be or can be. He speaks still as if he is campaigning which, in a way he is, but his audience is not citizens, it is politicians who have had more time to develop opinions and many of whom may think they know more than president and they may be right. after all he has been busy campaigning for two or more years while many of them may have seen the troubles coming though not at this level.

    at times, he speaks as a parent pleeding with his children to see why he sets the rules he does; at times, he forgets and speaks to the government asif they don't know what is going; although he says his door is always, i think the government doesn't see the need to go through that door; he needs them to come and they know it; he brings out spirituality as his reason for being president; but, that is personal and has nothing to do with the politics of today. he is trying to bring everyone under his wing when many are not convinced that there lies the safety he promises. like the citizen, they are afraid to stick out their necks for him less they lose their head and the confidence of their constituency.

    i am concerned for this good man who has had to move more quickly than any president should, or would. it is not surprising he is reaching out to hands, that are not there, to be saved from the rapids; he may have only some branches which he hopes will be strong enough; at another time it would not have been necessary.

    this is why i criticize him as i do.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  22. susan dunshee

    This needs to pass even though to late for my family. We are lost our home and we are being evicted. Thanks citi mortgage for trying to work with us. Glad citi got a bailout.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  23. Mary L. Keeney

    I love you Mr. Presdent don't want more of the past 8 year- so why are we ready to continue the same failed Bush plan of building more and more houses at prices that working people cannot afford, in areas where the house market is glutted with For Sale and Forclosure homes. Those bad, no-doc, ARM, interest only loans were created to off -load the excessive overpriced housing the banks had carelessly financed building in the fist place .
    And the qualified people that and bought their home 5 years ago, have seen the value fall by approximately $100,000 but in those 5 years at 4% interest they have only paid $32,685.07 on the principal. They owe more than the house is worth and can't compete with the governmet enticements to buy new homes only. Shame on us.

    What happens to these home owners as we plan to build more house

    February 5, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  24. Alice

    What is their problem...don't they understand, if people don't have jobs they have no money to stimulate the economy, whether it be build a rode,a bridge or whatever as long as it is work. Even my 11 year old great granddaughter knows if you don't work you have no money to spend. Give the President a chance, like he said he walked into this mess. Guess who made it !!

    February 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  25. Dan

    This foolishness needs to end. We need this bill to pass now, there is no time for debate. I know that this will mean an end to the American Dream for the next generation, but I don't have kids. We need to get this money out there so we can start the STD counseling, oh and don't forget the research on global warming, so we won't get too hot while we are playing on those new tennis courts they are building.

    Tonight the President himself said that this is a spending bill. If you want true stimulus give the money to the people. It's my money give it to me to spend.

    I just can't understand how people think that more government could be good?

    February 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  26. vette

    president obama doing a very good job. REPUBS NEED TO GET OVER THEIR SELF

    February 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  27. l

    Its not about the issues The President has address the republician party, with good manners and has tried and tried what are they trying to hide, they really dont want us to know what the IRS files are. The President says yea, they will continue to say nay Mr. President please get us off the race card and out of this mess.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  28. Peg

    The republicans are so predictable. If it is for the people forget it. If it is in their best interest ort heir corporate friends "you betcha"
    Let the people without jobs, homes, healthcare, heat, and food pay for the banks, CEOs, parties, and million dollar homes for the next century but don't help them.
    Whenever I've applied for a loan I've had to be credit worthy and pay it back. Why aren't these bank and Wall Street CEOs held to the same standards? I think they as well as the past administration should be in jail for what they have done. They are criminals all.
    We trusted Obama and these politicians need to stop playing Russian Roulette with the everyday hard working taxpayers. After all we are the lenders and we are demanding they pass the stimulus bill.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  29. Kimberly Sanford

    President Obama did not create this mess for eight years America has been going down, and now President Obama is trying to rectify this mess and bring stability back to a very unstable situation. I live in a city in Ohio that has been hit hard by this very unstable economy. January 20, 2009 millions of people gathered for this monumental event and we still need to stay in the spirit of unity, and support a President who has shown time and time again that his concern is to restore America. The million of Americans that are out of a job, without health insurance, without food, and shelter do not have time to wait for help or wait around while Republicans take President Obama through hoops. Come on everyone it is obvious that President Obama is a man of integrity, compassion, and a love for the American people. I am going to pray that God gives President Obama wisdom, strength, and peace to stand despite all his haters. President Obama is an anointed, appointed President that is going to succeed with or without the support of the Republicans.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  30. Torrance Lauderhill, FL

    President Obama was so passionate, because he has the heart of the people and not that of a hireling.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  31. James

    I loved the speech he gave, because it underscored the importance of action and how dire the situation has become. He has reminded us and I hope republicans as well, that this does not need to be politics as usual!!! His speech may have been a slap in Republican's faces, but it may be what was needed for them to stop the endless bickering that they've been doing. We the people spoke load and clear on election day about who's ideas we thought were best for this country and it was not the old worn out Republican ideology. Republicans must remember that the problems that we now face record deficits, failing infrastructure, and recession were created by their leaders and their ideology.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  32. joanne

    I urge people to support the stimulus–this economy won't be saved by tax cuts. As a small business owner, I feel the impact of the worsening economy every day. Like other business owners, we need customers who have jobs and can actually buy our products. A tax cut is not going to keep me in business.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  33. Teresa, MI

    The Senate must get this bill passed, Dem and Rep, have to work together to get it done, if they have to negotiate all night and the next, and the next, so be it. America is in a crisis and the time for action is now, americans can not afford for the Senate to be relaxed on this issue.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  34. Tracy

    President Obama's comments seemed to be for everyone, Democrats and Republicans. I think he turned up the heat on them all. Media, let's not make this about him attacking Republicans. There is partisanship from both sides, the President is trying to get congress to serve the American people, rather than their own personal agendas. The stimulus needs to work for all Americans, so that this entire nation can return to stability.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  35. christine

    concerning michael phelps,
    his large number of fans could return the favor to the endorsement company who dropped him by not purchasing their products, so there.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  36. Leslie

    That is the kind of President we need. Mr Preasident we have witness how much you have tried. .....He has tried to get support from the Republicans, but apparently they only listen to Limbaugh. They will have to face the people they represent if nothing gets done.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  37. Todd

    Don't spend $900 Billion more when you still have $350 Billion in unspent TARP money. Maybe find out where all that money went before your spend our kids future's away.
    Don't tell us its a new Washington when you try to stick in other unrelated agends in stimulus plan. Volcano monitors, STD education, Arts Endowment, global climate monitors. I don't see a huge growth potential in the volcano monitoring market ?
    Allow drilling in US for natural gas and oil. Thousands of jobs, Billions of dollars to be made and not borrowed, less need for foreign oil, and no cost to hardworking Americans to pay for it.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  38. Denise

    It is a huge mistake to push through this stimulus. The American people deserve more than a few days of long hours to put through a stimulus package that has clearly not been thought through. The housing market bust and construction brought down the economy lead by the greed of bankers, realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers and the investor looking to flip real estate for "easy money". Regain America's confidence by prosecuting the guilty and take the time to put together a pacakge that is well thought out and has the support of majority of The America People, both Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Let's be serious a few more weeks to come up with a real plan without the pork and wasteful spending currently proposed would be best for America. Shame on President Obama for campaigning "crossing party lines" and being united as one America and then speaking out tonight clearly as Bipartisan.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  39. LK (USA)

    Call your Senators and ask them to NOT Pass the so called stimulas plan. The Senate should create a new Bill, that actually creates Jobs. The current Bill is full of pet projects and pork, call it a Pork bill and stick a fork in it.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  40. Mari in NW Indiana

    Hi All.....today, the headline of our paper reads as follows.....this is in the NW Indiana TIMES Newspaper...


    I was stunned to read this......we could lose everything the way things are going here.....my husband and I are giving, giving, giving to the charities food, money, etc. but they can't save everyone.....

    I think the headline says it all. Today, Lindsey Graham was throwing around the proposed stimulus package......this headline should be thrown in the face of every roadblocker......it's not that hard to make up a package.....if they checked with all the people out of work, and the local mayors of the towns, they would know what we all need and they could write the package from there.

    It's so sad to see a head line like that, and even sadder to see the arguments between both parties which are slowing down the progress of this most important project of the "Stimulus Package".

    My heart goes out to everyone suffering......not just those in Indiana, but nationwide. I'm sure many headlines read like the one above.....let's hope they get done what they said they'd get done. Lord knows we need it – now !!!

    February 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  41. Luella

    Pass the stimulus plan already!I I emailed both of my senators to tell them that I support it. What more can I do?

    Would love it if the senators would just get over themselves and their self-importance and loyalty to their party, and just started being loyal to the people who elected them who need some leadership in getting our economy back on track.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  42. Stuart from Toronto

    President Obama has been sweet talking the Republicans to try and get some support for his stimulus plan and it hasn't been working. When you're the minority party it's pretty easy to shoot canon balls at the president to score political points. well maybe the time for sweet talk is over. If you listen to the points of the Presidents speech, he has made a lot of good and thoughtful points. A stimulus package IS about spending money after all. We see what tax cuts alone have done for us over the last eight years. Maybe we should get behind the president and give the plan a try. we've got an awful lot to loose if we don't.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  43. Sharon R Deibero

    This package is not good for America. It needs more consideration.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  44. Scott

    President Obama said people are hurting.I've been working for twenty years and I've never been more afraid of loosing my job than I am right now.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  45. Shelly

    We need a stimulus right now. The republicans are going to run with cutting taxes because they have nothing else. They created this problem and now the only option they have is to create more problems for this president. What happen to all of those ideas when the ball was in their court?

    February 5, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  46. Tanya

    Congress gave them selves another raise again, they can afford to play politics. We the tax payers are loosing our jobs, homes, 401K, IRS's, mutual funds, retirements, everything. It no longer looks like socialism, America welcome to feudalism because that is where our "popular" capable Congress is leading us to.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  47. Stephen from SF CA

    I couldn't have been more excited watching Obama win the election this past Fall and getting the Bush cronies out of office. But since then, we've learned that several of his chosen team "forgot" to pay their taxes. Now he pays lip service to facilitating bipartisan support in Congress by trying to ram a stimulus bill that's more pork than perk. Whatever happened to Change? It's just business as usual for Congress and the President.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  48. Luella

    I am so tired of listening to the reports of our senators who we elected to represent us, arguing and disagreeing about our economic future. I guess they don't have to worry about paying their bills or having their heat turned off!
    How about them stepping up to their responsibilites to their constituents and coming to an agreement that will let our country start to turn its economy around and start building, instead of tearing each other apart?

    February 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  49. San Levin

    Last week Pres. Obama was criticised for being too bi-partisan, too apologetic so this week he is sending a strong message about passing the stimulus plan and he is still being criticised, this time for being too partisan. I like the strong message he is sending this week. This is the guy I voted for and I have confidence in him. It is a pleasure to listen to a person who has a strong command of the English language and knows what he is talking about.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  50. Catherine

    This republican rebellion is getting out of hand. It seems that the republicans want to play hardball for the sake of playing hardball. Apparently none of them are at risk of losing their income. Things are getting tough on Mainstreet. Republicans grow up... and work with the President – not against him.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
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