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. Debra Kirk

    Greed has ran rampet without a checks and balance system to make those in any position of control and power accountable for too long. Isn't that why we are where we are now? So, I say to President Obama – we have the technology to give this government back to the people, ran by the people. We can vote on any and all issues from our homes; a computer can tabulate the results, we can pass or deny any bill or stimulus package ourselves. We don't need senators or representatives with their partisan, arrogant hardheadedness thinking that their going to have it their way with their agendas any longer. We can represent ourselves. Just think what we can do with all the money saved from not having to pay the wages of senators and representatives and all their staff that work for them. I am sure that there wouldn't be 600,000 people on unemployment then. The monies that our government has is the peoples money – give that money back to us. Not to bank CEO's, not to those who put greed at the top of their list; they had their opportunity and look where it got us. In reality 8,000,000,000 is just pennies difference from 9,000,000,000 in the long run. Go, President Obama – get em!

    February 6, 2009 at 2:13 am |
  2. Bruce

    Bi-partisan? It takes two sides to participate. So far the Republicans have chosen to sit on their hands, and rotate on their thumbs.
    Thats not participation. Thats political stupidity. They are choosing to be irrelevent. Let them.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:03 am |
  3. patriot09

    ************* Please use this to email to ALL REPUBLICANS ***********

    We the American people have spoken by our votes.
    We DO NOT appreciate your party (R) taking the American peoples' well-being hostage in this time of critical importance.
    We will not tolerate this kind of behavior anymore!
    Get off your asses (Republican) and make this work!
    I don't want your damn tax breaks! I want this country back on track! Get to work and make it happen...,or.... your days in office are numbered, we will not forget at the next election.

    Truly pissed at the GOP.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:02 am |
  4. Bruce

    Michael Phelps. Hard to decide who is sillier. Phelps for being involved, or the hypocritical reaction of the swimming community.
    Marijuana is simply no longer a "big deal". It's a major cash crop in Northern Calfornia. It should be legalized, taxed, and distributed just as alcohol is. Marijuana and crime?....take the profit out of it by makeing it legal....same as ending prohibition in the 1930's. Phelps, and all other "tokers" should be told they need a designated driver...and nothing more.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  5. coffee

    it seems ridiculous that Michael Phelps is getting so much flak from this supposed marijuana scandal... Since when have we taken the reporting of trashy tabloids so seriously?

    February 6, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  6. carbar

    Christine, where's the GOP ideas other than tax cuts? Given the tax cuts got us into this mess only a fool travels the same road knowing the outcome.

    I predict in 2010 = 3 GOP on congress. GOP lives in denial, and please know what's in the bill before concluding based on 1/2 wit journalist info. They don't want their overbloated checks stopped either!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  7. america the loser

    shame ,shame,shame on republicians and the bought out democrats,pass the stimulus,what world are you living in i here every day of friends losing their jobs and i see buisness closing thats outrageous.you did nothing in 8 years but help the rich it time to stop turning your back on the everyday american and the poor here we have suffered enough because of the limbaughs and lindseys in the world.whats your problem if it fells it can not be any worse than what you have done turning your back on the problems all this time .support our president and show the world we are strong and yes we want change you have played politics to long .sincerely from a former republican

    February 6, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  8. carbar

    m buzzbee, most Americans know of the bill based on snippets of slanted journalism who lacks much info themselves – think SEC with Madoff.

    Bill not complete, no knowledge of what's trimmed, and folk on TV still spout orig bill.

    Watch Senate hearings or better yet educate yourself with C-span – no journalist parroting what's best for ratings that day!

    AC is best of them all at least. Gergen and Ed Henry a hot mess!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  9. d. griffith

    The Gripe Old Party need to stop acting like sore losers. Since they didn't beat us(Democrats) they need to join us. So we can get the show on the road.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  10. WiL

    These guy(rep) had 8 yrs in the bushes now they want to put us(a) in the dirt . Pres. O is right to stand up for the people . It been a long time coming . Grand Prairie

    February 6, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  11. Tan

    Support the President Obama by passing the Stimulus. People are losing their jobs. The President is working hard to work with the Republicans. However, the Republicans still enjoying playing the politic game with the Amercian People. We can't afford to stand still and hope disappearing. Bring back the American Dreams and Promise.

    San Jose, CA

    February 6, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  12. Gail

    I believe that this bill has fluff in it ... and should be completely and totally centered around job creation and taking America green... nothing else ...

    Republicans are hurting America by playing these sort of games and should be ashamed ...

    This is a bad situation, but I have faith in Obama. He is a smart man and I put my vote and my trust in him.

    It is a shame how corrupt and dirty the republican party and their leaders have become, that allowed this mess in the first place.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:35 am |
  13. Tony Simon

    Stimulus? In principle – yes. In practice – the way Pres Obama has gone about it is surprisingly inept.

    How to spend $900B? Must get started? It's easy. Agree on the first $50B-$100B – whatever receives [almost] unanimous consent, and get started on that portion immediately.

    Trying to package up junk along with good projects has to get people arguing. Don't do it. Debate each $5B as you go along. If you can't get quick agreement on at least the first half of the package, the get a little pushy.

    Right now, there are all kinds of things that are in there that shouldn't be. Take them out!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  14. Tom HOUSTON

    Dear Mr. Cooper,
    I have some questions that I think that should be answered.
    1. Please explain in laymen terms "Tax cuts". Who is to recive them? They are sponsored by the GOP.2.
    Why did the whole republican party vote together to go against the bill? I sounds like we do not like your play, so we will take our toys and go home.
    3. How come they never take any responsibility for the mess they created in 8 years?
    4.Why do they not get on the ball and help the bill by supporting it, but if there are some things you don't like, get out of the way and let the new man make or brake right away.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  15. carbar

    Linda, put on your thinking cap AFTER you read the bill thats completed. Stop relying on overpaid talking heads with an agenda on either side to tell you whats in the bill. Better yet watch and listen for yourself on C-span before jumping to conclusions based on 1/2 guided info. good idea, huh?

    February 6, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  16. carbar


    What's wrong w/ delayed compensation once they perform to merit a bonus. That's capitalism at its finest, and have no problems with what they do as long as its not on my dime! Kapish?

    February 6, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  17. James A. Williams

    It's amazing that the republicans are thanking or are they thanking. They are not talking to the people without jobs. The so call principles (conservative) that have people homeless and without food.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:31 am |
  18. Susan

    I really loved hearing our President being presidential and standing up for us, the American people. I keep feeling like the Republicans are truly the GOP (Grand Obstructionist Party), or perhaps the dog in the manger. They keep singing the same tune, lead by John McCain, of tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. For heaven's sakes, didn't we vote him off the island? People are losing jobs, homes, and even where I live in Western Colorado we are feeling the burn. There are choices to made. Economic stimulus is a must, or we will be bust.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  19. Gregory B

    The Stimulus Package:

    It is time for the package to be passed and signed. The debates should be over, we are losing jobs and it must stop. Let's compromise and move forward. The republicans have had 8 years and this is where we are. We need something new and we need it now. The President is right for telling it like it is. This is why I voted for President Obama!!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  20. Barb Capehart

    NONE of these fools get, its about bread, milk, electric,the phone bill, the house payment! How much longer is it going to take for them to figure out that if this doesn't get straightened out children are not going to have roofs over their heads!
    No junk, clean the junk out but get something done!
    remember we're only 9 meals away from a revolution- when your kids go hungry for three days people will be in the streets instead of calling and e-mailing their elected "representatives"
    When are the rank and file going to get enough of this stupid stuff? The movers and shakers, these masters of the universe, can't even comprehend what working like a dog for 40k a year means. Scratching out the best living you can, just to kind of hold it together and having to stay in that crappy job for the health insurance with the glimmer of hope that you may, if your really good get to retire a couple of years before you die and make it with the SS and your 401k.
    This sytem is such a joke, the haves have got obscene wealth while the have-nots have nothing and unless these fools do something they can't even count on their govt. to keep them from being in the street.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  21. deb in az

    i would have thought that obama would have written this bill himself rather than put it in the hand of pelosi.....this bill is a mess of pork spending....just to think that warren buffet goes out yesterday and invests in harley davidson and the police get new harleys in this bill....this is spending bill and has very little benefit to the average american trying to keep a job and pay their bills....i would hope that cnn would let us all know just how many new jobs will be created this year with this spending bill....

    February 6, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  22. carbar

    1. Marcus, retreat $$ is out of pocket or campaign funds. Know of which you speak. GOP retreat last week samefinancing.

    2. Tired of cable talking heads riding Obama's back for their over bloated paychecks. Never seen such a 2 faced method to keep ratings going, Gergen and Henry specifically.

    3. Asked President Obama to start speaking 1st to public via youtube or print. Did you see TV folk whine when he went to print for 2nd oath? Tired of daily briefing journalist with fangs out. Shows us the viewer how dumb some of them really are and venomous. Okay to ask questions, but some are straight out dumb for camera time or pay justication?

    4. Cable heads cry – oh he's not being bi-partisan anymore. How many slap does Pres. Obama take to cuddle the opposers – he don't need. Believe cable heads have split personalities and neither personality make sense.

    5. Failure to recognize street in Pres Obama will lead to less GOP in the next election.

    6. Why is Pres Obama compared to Reagan ways of doing things, Kevin. He's not a dead man nor is his name Ronald.

    7. Folks w/ jobs better start making room for their unemployed family members.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  23. WiL

    AC , we are in serious time , so why not ask serious question of these power chasers

    February 6, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  24. Gail

    I think a real problem not being properly addressed are the banks ... they will not loan to anyone ... even those completely qualified and capable ... they were given money to get things flowing and they shut down instead ... I am a small business owner who has managed to do well, even in this economy, and I am trying to expand my business to make more jobs, pay my existing employees better, buy property, pay more taxes from making more money ... and it is bleak out there right now, I have great credit, and solid numbers and no love from the banks... also many many many others are in the same boat, I heard Donald Trump say last night that even HE was having these same problems as well! Crazy... they need to get the banks flowing as I believe it is at the heart of the problem in many levels. No one really seems to be talking about that ... and it effects everything.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  25. Amanda

    I truly believe in President Obama and he wants the best for us. In his speech I feel that he was putting both the Republicans and Democrats in check. He's the president, he's the boss. Congress needs to stop screwing around and pay attention to the nation!!!! We need to get this thing going. The American people don't know anything about the bill so I don't understand how the bill could be unpopular. Like President Obama said what do they suggest? If they have something better please share!!!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  26. gboyega

    i don't know why the Republicans don't see any good of the stimulus package, it's true that the package has it's own flaws, but what the American people expect from the congressmen is to come to a conclusion and stop the game of who is the man and who is not, because this recession is going worse day by day, people are loosing their jobs.They should understand that life is all about give and take.

    Gboyega F.
    Grand prairie, TX

    February 6, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  27. Leslie

    Pass the stimulus NOW! They are moving too slowly with this and the Republicans are stalling trying to play political games because they know if the plan works they will continue to lose political capital. So basically, they want the country to go down the tubes because their own re-election is more important than the American people are.

    The Republican opposition makes me sick to my stomach. I have to say that I went personally to my congressional representatives office with another concerned friend and the representative's surrogate gave us a song and dance about bipartisanship and how they weren't going to be partisan and would consider voting for the stimulus plan on its merits. But then of course he voted against it in the House. And Mitch McConnell is my senator, unfortunately. So I doubt calling him would have any positive effect.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  28. Chi, Hayward, California

    Hi Anderson,
    We are hurting so badly because of these foreclosures and economy down turn especially here in california. Please let the politicians let this change happen because we have reached our elastic limits

    February 6, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  29. WiL

    Can any GOP tell us what is wrong with helpin the backbone(the people) of this country ?

    February 6, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  30. Wayne

    President Obama has been reaching out to the Republicans, but they seem to insist on many of the same policies that got us to where we are now. So why is the President now not for bi-partisanship by insisting that doing the same things are not acceptable? It seems to me that the Republicans... still don't "get it".

    February 6, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  31. Warren

    I encourage everyone to contact there Senators, and ask them to stand strong on the Stimulos Bill to get the pork out. Don.t fall for the President scare tactics. This is not a game. Lets get the bill right.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  32. patriot09

    *******************PLEASE AMERICAN PATRIOTS!*************************
    Use this list of emails and send our message to republicans tonight, tomorrow and the next day. They are not listening even though we have spoken with our votes. Let's raise our collective voice louder and be heard!!!


    If you cut and paste remove asterisks (duh) lol

    February 6, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  33. WiL

    I mean GOB – good old bush to give the ok . will we ever be in the hands of grown man .

    February 6, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  34. Lynne

    I want a reasonable stimulus bill that won't burden my children's future. This bill should not contain pork.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  35. Don

    I think what needs to be overhauled is the tit for tat congress we now are burdened with. The republican party went unchecked for so long, and I feel the ones who got us into this mess, and now argue argue like they're the saviors of our country, and what the democrats did by throwing the " pork products" is in-excusable. I for one will not fot for any incumbet in our next elections. Quit whinning and get something done.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  36. Al

    The stimulus package is off base. This will not produce jobs or substantial relief in 2009. The base of the crisis and the resolution to the majority of the problem is Mortgage relief. This relief is not to the banks but rather to individual mortgage holders. All the other issues addressed in the package can be handled later in the year. Foreclosures must be stopped, permenant relief for people. Lower thier interest rates, lock in for 30 years and remove the negative equity from thier loans. The banks can then write off thier portion of loss this year in full (tax relief). In addition any taxpayer who benefits from this will forfiet any tax refund they would otherwise recieve for the next 5 years. As the market then grows the equity gained is theres. This should not be available to investment properties but only primary residences.Finally by lowering individuals costs , they will be able to spend more, thereby creating stimulus and consumption in the economy.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  37. Stanley

    the republicans dont know anything about economics they led us down this destructive path, the dems are better at taking care of Americas middle class, please pass Democartic President Obamas stimulus, the Dems have shown to be smarter about the econmy and the republicans dont know squat, they are still reeling from their stunning loss last november and dont care a hoot about the average American family....them trying to block this bill is pay back to to the millions who voted for change, lets kick the republicans out!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  38. WiL

    Are the GOP waitin on the special interest or lobbyist for instruction

    February 6, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  39. Parker

    You have to think that if Mr. Obama is addressing a bunch of House Democrats that he would be more partisan. That is politics, after all. Bipartisanship doesn't mean that one should deny his/her roots.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  40. Moore

    The republicans are yet to get over election defeat. Again, when did Mcain became an economics professor? After he lost the election?

    February 6, 2009 at 1:16 am |
  41. James

    People need to read the proposed stimulus package and study it. One trillion is a lot of money...what is the country going to do when the Chinese want their money back. Our American politicians are selling our country away.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:16 am |
  42. Fran T.

    P.S. America – don't mistake his kindness for weakness. President Obama is strong and tonight he flexed his muscles for ya.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:16 am |
  43. dayna

    I don't care how many tantrums President Barry throws. Look at the polls...the American people are getting wise to this ridiculous spending.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  44. Tired of This American

    How long can you reach across bipartisan lines and the othere side refuses to budge....not on principles but on sheer politics. If this package does not reach the Ameican people, it on the backs of the republicans and their leadership.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  45. Janet

    After giving themselves big raises this year you would think these "lawmakers" would make some attempt to earn their wages while their constituents keep losing theirs.They should demand all the jobs that were shipped to India, China and Pakistan be returned to the US immediately. Personally I hate being called by someone in New Delhi, on behalf of Citibank, who just got billions of US tax dollars to pay them $0.60 per day when an American needs that job.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  46. Debra

    Why can't a portion of the stimulus package be implemented based on what both the Democrats and Republicans agree on? I hope they agree on something; the entire bill cannot be considered ill-conceived.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  47. John C.

    Ayn Rand called this in Atlas Shrugged. I sure hope she is wrong.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:14 am |
  48. Marshallking

    The president has every right to be angry. A man whose house is on fire does not chase the rats, rather would do every thing possible to bring his family out from the burning house. The republicans are talking about the pork in the bill, while jobs are being lost everyday. Let rats stay and let the family be save, Basta

    February 6, 2009 at 12:53 am |
  49. Tammy Vibbert

    It only took the Republicans 2 weeks to get a stimulus package thru when Bush said we needed it.What's the hold up now? not enough money in it for their banking buddies to get this time?They throw money around Washington like its toilet paper, billion here a billion there.get off the john and get this stimulus package thru!!

    February 6, 2009 at 12:52 am |
  50. Ron , West Coast

    President Obama has finally taken off the gloves! Those obsructionist republicans have met their match. President Obama has done far more than Geo. W. ever did to compromise with the opposition. He tried to bring them into the 21st century, but they continue to stonewall and nitt-pick at every turn. So, he has come to the realization that time`s a wastin`....... Our jobs and economy are sinking fast , and all the repubs want to do is follow the credeance of the likes of Rush " the druggie "Limbaugh and do nothing but let our country fall by the wayside. The GOP wants Barack Obama to fail, which means that our country will fail.
    The repubs lost the election, and now feel by blocking Obama at every turn, they will be able to regain seats in the senate and house in 2010`...... That is a terrible strategy for them, and our country.
    Every citizen should be outraged, and should contact their representatives and tell those " Un-American " A – Holes to get it in gear, and pass this recovery act, " Post Haste " !!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 12:40 am |
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