February 11th, 2009
11:56 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Fireworks on the Hill

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/10/art.obamalive1.cnn.jpg caption="The President pushed for his economic stimulus package in Florida Tuesday."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Henrietta Hughes made an impact in the town hall meeting that President Barack Obama held in Fort Myers, Florida.

She told the President about the very small room her family lives in, adding “the housing authority has two years waiting list and we need something more than parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help.” The President said he’ll do what he can to help her, “there are a lot of people like you out there.”

The mayor of Fort Myers told CNN this morning that Ms. Hughes was offered a temporary home for her family as she awaits a permanent one. We’ll have more details on this for you tonight, as many of you wrote in after the show asking what happened following President Obama’s response that his staff would contact her.

Today, the President visits Springfield, Virginia on his “stimulus selling” road trip. He’ll visit a construction site to highlight new jobs that could be created by the stimulus, known formally as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Geithner outlined the second installment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, aka TARP, and shortly thereafter markets took a nosedive and the dow dropped 381 points yesterday, the biggest drop so far this year.

Investors weren’t very impressed given what they saw as lack of detail in the plan, to which President Obama responded “Essentially, what you've got are a set a banks that have not been as transparent as we need to be in terms of what their books look like...And we're going to have to pull off the Band-Aid.”

That Band-Aid could very well get ripped off today as bank CEO’S present themselves before Barney Frank's committee on the Hill, and that session is likely to be Hot Hot Hot. They represent companies who have received hundreds of billions in TARP funds. You just KNOW they are going to be fireworks as they receive a grilling from Congress about their use of bailout money thus far. Tom Foreman will have the latest.

If you hear a pounding in another corner of Capitol Hill today, it’s because the House and Senate are hammering out a stimulus package which would reconcile differences between their 2 respective versions in order to create one bill which could then become law. Dana Bash will follow this story for us tonight.

Ms. Hughes is one voice which represents many of your own concerns during these turbulent times. That’s why we asked Suze Orman to join us for 2 segments tonight, so she can answer your questions about how to manage finances during these tough times. See u tonight!!

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Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    I felt so sorry for this lady when I saw her on 360 last night. I can't imagine how Obama felt standing there with her crying. I'm glad the Obama admin is going to help her out but what about all the others in a similar predicament? There is a lot of pain out here right now.

    February 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm |

    I would like the President to know that Kaiser Permanente Hospital of San Jose CA is violating peoples rights.. FMLA is just one. I was Termanated for my attendance on 1-8-09. Now I have no healthcare for my family or I..and no job. I HAVE WORKED AT KAISER FOR 11 YEARS. I have a serious health condition which requires me to be on alot of medication. I filed a complaint with the State of CA fair employment. They are looking into the matter..KAISER HAS JOBS. I was treated unfairly being terminated. My rights have been violated. This is still happening now as i write this.. My UNION (SCIU-SUHW) is so over whelmed they cant deal with managment . Its like the UNION DOESN"T exsist to them..WE NEED HELP, OUR UNIONS NEED HELP.

    February 11, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  3. Eugenia - San Francisco

    Earthquake.......Indonesia..........Hello, anyone there at CNN. Maybe once the stimulus package starts (the 200 million for the volcanoes) you guys might give this stuff the attention it needs. It's all connected.

    Across the board, lots of problems with electrical today!

    look forward to tonight

    February 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  4. Mike Whitehouse

    With all the flak about Geithner's presentation, has anybody looked at Bernanke's speech on Feb 10th?The Federal Reserve is a major action agent and he provides much more specific info.

    February 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  5. Glen D White

    Every time Congress gos to talk about stimalus the Phone rings? Gess WHO? Back to the top!

    February 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  6. Glen D White

    Just did it come from A REAL AMERICAN President? Prohibition generated a wave of organized criminal activity in America, and gangsters made huge amounts of money selling THE AMERICANS DREAMS illegally and running clubs that sold HOUSES From US ALL

    February 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  7. Susan

    It was a Republican State Representative Nick Thompson of FL (and his wife) that offered Ms. Hughes a three bedroom home.

    February 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  8. Linda

    I'm so angry and disgusted with the Republicans in Congress I could scream! Instead, as a registered Democrat, I'll be sending a donation to the re-election campaign of Senator Spector. Meanwhile Sen. McConnell should be ashamed of himself and resign for his lack of leadership, ignorance and solutions. On Friday night Diane Sawyer will be hosting a documentary on the poor in Kentucky – in McConnell's own backyard – and he has the nerve to vote against a stimulus package that would assist them!!! A Republican PAC committee is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars making robo calls to the consituents of Sen.'s Snowe, Collins, and Spector telling them to vote against them. Why didn't they use that money to assist the poor in their own states??? Gosh, I guess that would have taken courage, compassion, intelligence, and leadership – something these wealthy Republicans certainly are lacking!!!

    February 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  9. c,ca

    Last night's footage of Mrs. Hughes brought tears to my eyes and a lot of anger, too.

    I cannot believe these Republicans in Congress. What is wrong with these people? Get over losing the election – get off your butts and do something.

    I read an article today, that was published in July of 2008. It said that it will probably cost $120 BILLION DOLLARS TO REBUILD IRAQ. (Sorry for the caps but, after seeing that woman on TV, I am steamed.) That is just the cost of re-building. That doesn't include the billions spent blowing the place up in the first place, for no reason.

    Why are the Repubs perfectly fine with sending billions over to Iraq to re-build their infrastructure but they won't do a damn thing for us? They never batted an eye at shoveling money over there – even though the Iraqis have tons of money in surplus- but now they're so concerned about every dime when we are trying to rebuild the USA.

    Mrs. Hughes is ONE person but there are thousands of people in her shoes. We don't hear about them – because the Republicans give frauds like Joe the Plumber a forum. This shows how out of touch with reality they are.

    OK, sorry, I'm ranting, but that film last night made me furious. A family should not be living in a car! This is a disgrace. Let's see John McCain try giving up one of his thirteen (?) houses and try living in a car for awhile. Let's see how long Boehner could survive in a shelter.

    I am completely disgusted with this. Maybe Pres. Obama could get Mrs. Hughes an apartment, and a job, in Baghdad. We're sending plenty of cash over there.

    February 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  10. earle,florida

    I personally was affected by the ,"triumph's of humanity" at breakfast this morning. In walks an old gent with an open envelope in hand,head held high, humbling ordering up a black coffee. Our eyes met,as I momemtarily glanced at his demeanor. He drew a seat next to mine,an shortly after we started to converse. His name was Art,and he lost his wife of 58 years, two years ago. Arthur was 89 years young, a 34th Degree Mason from his hometown of ? Pa.,but moved to Florida several months ago for a change of scenery,and the warmer weather. His vehicle was modest ,and towed a small" Mobile Home Trailor"which he previously rented a spot in a Mobile Park to stay. Unfortunately, while in town,ready to settle into his mobile home park,a lady runs a "Red Light" and pretty much destroys his car,and mobile home. Bingo,89 years old ,with no vehicle, and no home,and no where to go. But, what he says next," watered my eyes"! A young couple in the area, from which he was supposed to have moved too ,opened the doors to their house as if he were an immediate family member,with no restrictions,just brotherly love, til he gets his compensation money from the (no strings attached) accident,and can afford to move back to ?Pa.He was walking to the bank involved in the settlement,about 1 1/2 miles one way,and stopped for a coffee,I couldn't help but impose upon him ,offering a ride to an from the bank,but he was more than grateful to just get a ride one way! Because of the public transit lines services being cut ,there's no transportation! This is just one example of the inequalities in our democratic society,and mind you, Art was a "business owner" for 54 years, and "Yes" I believed him,...

    February 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  11. jarrod

    @Roy i like that idea ..........only thing is I don't have a job anymore so i already cut them off.......No More Allowance from ME..........

    Ps did anyone see the cnn reality tv thing FRESHMAN .........WHY are we paying this guy's rent......GIVES me an idea i'll see if can get job @ McDonald's maybe they will let me camp out in the broom closet .............YOU KNOW SO I CAN SAVE MONEY I DON"T EVEN HAVE

    February 11, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  12. Rainey

    We've all been brought up to "save for a rainy day"...well, we're in a flood and families are sinking because they chose to turn a deaf ear for years to the advice. Too may families don't encourage their kids to make something of themselves so they can climb out of the cycle of poverty and now they are going down the tubes wanting the government to bail them out. What is happening is horrible...but I fear it's going to get lots worse. This country needed a serious wake-up call, unfortunately it's coming at a high price to families. I pray it's not too late.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  13. TRichardson

    Why is the Stimulus Bill so costly – if we create 4 million jobs and pay the full year salary of $40,000 (which is really good) that would only cost about $160 Billion – what is the extra $679 Billion in the Stimulus Bill for? OR does it just cost the government 5 times as much to do anything that the private sector can do. With the current Bill at $839 Billion that is an average of over $207,000 for each job – WHY?


    February 11, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  14. roy graves

    Is there enough of us out here that desire a stable economy and that will stand together and say this:

    I refuse to continue to give my tax money to bail out instituitions that continue to pay themselves millions of dollars in salaries and perks!

    I refuse to continue to give my tax money to politicians who spend countless hours, countless meetings and countless finances that only produce division and no solidarity!

    I will do my part, but I refuse to continue to do the finanacing for men or women that are so self-centered!

    February 11, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  15. Terry

    I agree with Joanne....
    To add something about this story...it doesn't pass the smell test..didn't anyone else hear her first words.

    February 11, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  16. Ray Hurt

    Why is it that stimulis detractors constantly decry the cost of helping millions of American taxpayers survive the economic crisis but you rarely heard about the Trillion plus that they authorized to destroy and rebuild Iraq?

    February 11, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  17. Teresa, OH

    Very touching story and Mr. Obama seemed truly compassionate about wanting to fix it for her.

    Of course my cynical side thought this: Mrs. Hughes looks to be a very "mature" in age woman. She seems like she might have adult children, perhaps into their 30s. Why is she living like she is? Is there no family member to open their home to her? I am sure she has done more than her share in helping others.

    There are so many Mrs. Hughes's ... I pray we can help them all.

    re: Treasury Secretary Geithner : the dude sends off bad vibes. Something aint right there.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  18. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Since only 15% of the money in this stimulus package will be spent this fiscal year (prior to Oct. 1st), good luck in helping anyone. The economy will more than likely start recovering on it's own before government action helps. Then we will be faced with all the extra debt for nothing. Now Geitner announces anoth $2 trillion is needed. It took Bush 8 years to double the debt, and Obama will do it again in 4 or less.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  19. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    How about my story? Maybe not so tragic, maybe typical of many, but no one is going to interview me, give me instant star-status and solve my problems....so the deal is, get news coverage of your woes, and someone will bail you out.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  20. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    The troubling economy is cutting where it hurts the most--the poor-and words now are not going to resolve the issue-–we need action-and the stimulus package--more words to drown and more fear to be felt-–everyone has the answer-–but really no one has the solution--it is all about those who have and those who have not-–and we know who will suffer the most.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  21. Michelle Fonthill,Ont

    Good Morning Penny

    The story on Mrs Hughes was truly a heartbreaking one .This is what the ploticans and corupt poeple on wall street have done to the average American homeowner .The greed fo money and the lavish spending has forced poeple to have thier lives torn apart .It's time for action With the money they use to buy copwerate jets and other lavish toys r the fat cats on wall street they can use to buy homes for poeple who have lost thiers .please continue to keep them honest where the money that these companies have gottn from thier bailouts where is it really going .
    Thank 360 team !
    Michelle D.

    February 11, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  22. jarrod

    I think this whole stimulas is joke all i keep hearing is it is going to take time to work through the system....But i hear we need swift immediate action...SO define swift..............then california releasing imates if they release 50,000 inmates on the same day/week as we lose 30,000 jobs in a day/week what a day then we will have say 20,000 homless at least that quick

    February 11, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  23. Cindy

    Mrs. Hughes' story was so touching. I felt extremely bad for her as she told Obama all of those things about her family! I am glad to hear that something was done to help her. But Obama is right...she isn't the only one having to live like she was. At least she had somewhere to live! A lot of families have found themselves out on the street with no where to go.

    Geithner's news conference was a joke. It seems to me that the man has no plan at all! He just threw out a few suggestions that he thought we would want to hear and hoped that it would appease us so he would look good. Well..it failed. He looks incompetent to me! Just sayin...


    February 11, 2009 at 9:20 am |