February 13th, 2009
09:50 PM ET

President Obama look ahead

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/13/obama.missteps/art.obamapic.gi.jpg]
Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Fresh off an apparent victory on President Obama's signature $787 billion economic recovery plan, several top White House aides say they're planning an ambitious agenda for the rest of February focused on addressing the housing crisis, cleaning up the banking mess and laying the groundwork for reform of the health care system and entitlement programs like Medicare.

Mister Obama's economic stimulus plan, which top aides say will be signed into law as early as Monday at the White House, received no Republican votes in the House and just three in the Senate despite his heavy emphasis on drawing bipartisan support. There have also been several Cabinet miscues in the early days, but top White House aides are confident the President has gotten off to a strong start.

"Does the road to change have some bumps? Sure," said one senior White House aide. "But we're feeling good."

Several White House aides noted that in addition to the stimulus win, the President has signed into law an equal pay act and legislation expanding a childrens' health insurance program for an extra four million kids.

"There's an enormity to what's happened so far," said one of the White House aides. "It's hard work, but it's worth it. We're sprinting."

Aides say they plan to pick up the pace next week with a stimulus signing ceremony as early as Monday, though it could slide to Tuesday morning depending on how quickly Congressional leaders wrap up the legislative details.

Then Obama starts his first trip out West as President because White House aides say they believe Obama himself is their best salesman on the big agenda items coming. He will hold an economic event in Denver Tuesday followed by the long-awaited unveiling of his plan to deal with the foreclosure crisis in Phoenix on Wednesday.

White House aides are holding back on details of the housing plan as top officials continue to weigh the best approach. Top Democrats like House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank have been pressing the White House for details, but White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday the goal is to get it right rather than rushing it out.

"It's not intended to be measured by one day's market scorekeeping, but instead to ensure that the 10,000 Americans each day that have their homes foreclosed on, and the millions more that are barely getting by, are protected," said Gibbs.

Several White House say it is unlikely the President will reveal his choice for either Commerce Secretary or Health and Human Services Secretary next week. As for which pick will be unveiled first, one aide said it depends on "whenever the next cake is baked" - as in the White House is so eager to get both nominations behind them that they will move forward on either one when the President makes up his mind on the picks.

The following week, the President will host what the White House is billing as a "fiscal responsibility" summit on Monday February 23. The goal of the summit is to begin weighing the impact of massive federal programs like Social Security and Medicare just days before the President plans to unveil his first annual budget to Congressional leaders.

Then on Tuesday February 24 the President will deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress. Top aides say that while other topics like foreign policy could be addressed briefly, the speech will be heavily focused on the economy and the domestic agenda.

As part of his speech to Congress and travels around the country, the President is expected to start taking on a role in selling the administration's plans for fixing the financial regulatory system, according to top aides. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner began rolling out a plan to bail out more banks and bring more accountability to the existing government bailout program known as TARP, but that unveiling received harsh reviews on Capitol Hill and on Wall Street.

Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Larry L.

    If Obama is really looking ahead ,he will realize his daughters children (his grandchildren)will still be paying taxes on this bill.That's his legacy.

    February 16, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  2. John

    Recent sentiment regarding the current Wall Street executive's behavoir sets a new low relative to corporate America's greed and thirst for power at the expense of the health and future of the US economy. However, recent comments made by GOP leaders continues to make it clear that they are no better (or even worse) than the corporate execs. who may have gotten us in this situation in the first place (with the help of wholesale deregulation). I wish the GOP would come to their senses and accept the fact that thet had the "checks" for the past 8 years and now it is time for the "balances" to engage in efforts to "right the ship". Come on, GOP, stop crying over sour grapes and get to work doing what the American people elected you to do. You are starting to make the Wall Street executives look like saints.

    February 16, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  3. Michael C. Mchugh

    Why don't we just let the Federal Reserve transfer money directly into the Social Security Trust Fund? If it can give trillions to banks and corporations, the least we could do for the common people is have it help us out with the entitlement programs. With funding from the central bank, the Baby Boomers could retire and we would not have to raise payroll taxes to backbreaking levels or reduce benefits to sub-poverty level. This funding of the Trust Fund could be done with the push of a button, no fuss, no muss, no brutal battles in Congress.

    Also, we could use it to expand the Medicare program beyond retirees. As a social democrat, I have always thought that the best way to expand health care to people who don't have it is to expand Medicare. Forget about all this subsidizing of private health insurance policies. That would be a subsidy to these big insurance companies and they would milk it like they do mandatory auto insurance.

    With the Federal Reserve subsidizing the system, we could finally expand Medicare, or at least offer it as an option to people who want more that private health insurance.

    I also wonder whether the Federal Reserve can be directly to transfer money directly to state and local governments now facing budget shortfalls or bankruptcy. This would be the fastest way to fund education and other vital services, infrastructure projects, unemployment insurance, and so on. It would also help the states pay for these unfunded mandates they are always complaining about.

    To people who argue that all this would be inflationary, I would argue that our main worry in the years ahead is going to be deflation and falling living standards. Anyway, it would be no more inflationary than pumping trillions into big banks and corporations, and it would actually put money into the pockets of real consumers.

    February 16, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  4. Ron from Illinois

    Here in Illinois many jobs have been lost, or are scheduled to be cut in the coming months. These people are looking for jobs in a job market that is already flooded. Many will find it necessary to be on unemployment for many months, struggling to pay their mortgage and car payments. For some, they will use funds from their 401k to try to get by until they can secure another job. Not only will they have to pay taxes on these funds, they will have to pay a penalty for using their own money to try and survive. This comes after having lost a large portion of their 401k money in a severely crippled stock market. So the Government bails out Wall Street, and penalizes the victims.

    February 16, 2009 at 6:28 am |
  5. Mary

    Yes Mr. President the American People are Willing to Work with you to get this Country Back on Track. Lead the Way.

    February 16, 2009 at 3:07 am |
  6. Luis

    Am looking ahead into the distant future, i see my gold doubling or even tripling by the time Obama leaves office (Hopefully in 4 years).

    Good look to anybody still holding the Federal Reserve Note.

    February 15, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  7. Norma Koonce

    According to David Axelrod Obama plans to sign the stimulus in Denver and then will visit different US cities each week to keep in touch with the American public. The cost of flying Air Force One and traveling with his entourage is not cheap. So much for being an energy conservative President. He and the Congress need to practice what they are preaching.

    February 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  8. vicki

    Seems to me like the republicans are sore losers, and just want to pee in everybody's wheaties.

    February 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  9. Bill from FL

    President Obama needs to stay on track and not be pushed off by the Republicans. After all it was the Republicans that created this Disater that we are in today. President Obama is doing really well and we must support our President at all costs. As for the "Bonus" side of Corporate America they must be limited as to what they can receive. They must not be permitted to increase salary to compensate for Bomus Cuts either. Bring Industry and Factories back to the United States and we will have jobs again. Support "Buy American"

    February 15, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  10. dawn

    As I speak with many from varied walks of life the consensus is the REPUBLICANS are not ANTI- stimulus, they are ANTI- Obama. Their posturing on the stimulus bill was in preparation for the next election. REP can say if it succeeds, we trimed it or modeled it for success. If the stimulus is not successful they can say , from the beginning we were against it. They feel that statement worked for Pres Obama and the Iraq war so they want it to work for them. Also take note potenetial REP presidential candidates are extremely vocal hoping to push aside Sarah Palin. The public in the long run still supports PRES OBAMA.
    Tell the REP to look at CNN and view the economic situation of the world . Many countries are facing these similar issues and most countries are trying to move swiftly.
    REP get on board the BUS and bipartisanship says you don't have to sit in the back..and the election says you wont be driving it either.

    February 15, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  11. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    The very first step toward ensuring the stability of our Nation and WE
    The People has been taken. Next up It's time for the Made in U.S.A. label to start appearing once again on everything from appliances and cklothes to new and Innovative technologies. G W Bush's and his neo-con GREED MONGERING base did absolutely nothing to promote this and in fact actually actively worked to undermne it to COMMUNIST China and SOCIALIST India.

    The neo-con 'Global Ecomony' be DAMNED it's time for Made in America to re-assert itself world wide !!!!

    February 15, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    The Economic and stimulus/recovery plan has passed like it or not.
    Geithner has proposed his plan for TARP balance and other ideas re mortgages bad loans buy back by government and the various gripes media and bloggers have made re those plans. Say the alternative please, and stop griping.
    We are in a mess and a crisis and these measures may not be perfect but I believe political Ideology has to be put aside and all take a view of whether this unique problem can have just a more than 50/50 chance to succeeed, even 51/49. One thing is for sure it better be different to the last 8 years of republican ideology. Then Obama and the administration take the risk that we vote him out cause it failed, or you force him to a better solution?? ala Recovery plan.
    The only current criticism I see as valid is wall streets claim that the hedge funds and wall street regulatory changes are not yet to be seen anywhere but are essential.
    If you think bank bonuses were huge look at Hedge fund investment managers bonuses and worse still the tax relief they get on that by being able to classify salary/bonus as Interest income and paying roughly half the tax they should on such what is in reality salary/ bonus or profit income. Personal fortune aggrandisement at the expense of paying proper tax levels on Income or profits!!Problem here is that it needs international similar legislation, otherwise the money runs to the safe haven and screws international currency values.

    February 15, 2009 at 4:08 am |
  13. Rosie

    My Readers,
    This is a new Leader, and a brand new beginning for the American people. So I say to the American people, we had much patience with those who dug the ditch; so why can't we now, have patience with those who now has to refill that ditch?
    Let us keep in rememberance, that it was, "We the People" who supported him and voted him into the Oval Office. So now let, "We the People" not lose hope but instead, now that we are no longer voting for him, but have become the heavy load he must, now carry upon his shoulders, and in his heart; turn our murmuring and complaining into united words of prayer on his behalf.
    Also my fellow Americans, fear not, for all is well. The Stimulus package will be turned into a five loaves of bread and a two little fish miracle, and joy will, at last, come to America! To God be the Glory for the work he will do, on behalf of this new Leader!!! For not many days hence, these walls of Jericho which now stands on the hill, will come tumbling down, and joy bells will begin to ring out across the land!!!

    February 15, 2009 at 3:49 am |
  14. Ruth

    Had a "stimulus" package pass here in Australia too. It is small compared with the US but people will receive thousands. The PM here is doing the right thing. Keeping people in jobs need to be the focus though. Taxes are too high, the costs need to come down, they are over-inflated and I somehow feel that the Govt here needs to move in that area. People will only pay for the necessities, and that is more than likely going to be what they are already owe. They should have allowed people to keep their property and worked out another contract over a longer period of time. That was mistake number one.. Jobs! Jobs, and some kind of employment security doesn't go astray either?

    February 15, 2009 at 1:47 am |
  15. Chris

    Anyone who says Obama has started well or the transition has been smooth or this bill is the right direction for the company in a total fraud. Even the obviously biased media is starting to scratch there heads at what they have seen and heard so far. As a true independant I can honestly say I want the stimulis to work but do not want the higher federal baseline spending that we will now continue forever due to all the new government programs, which mostly cater to poeple who have no desire to get out there and actually work for a living.

    February 15, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  16. Randy Hill-Texas

    So Senator Gregg decided not to become Secretary Gregg:


    I realize some will see this as another mistake by the Obama administration. But I blame Senator Judd Gregg. As a three-term senator who is well-versed on the issues, why is he just now discovering how bad the stimulus plan is? If only he had been reading my blog the last few weeks, he would have known! It’s absurd for Gregg to use the stimulus as the reason he no longer wants to be Commerce Secretary. The stimulus plan was just as bad a few days ago when he first signed on to join the Obama cabinet.

    Here is what Gregg said in withdrawing his name from consideration:

    “The bottom line is this was simply a bridge too far for me….The president asked me to do it. I said yes. That was my mistake, not his….I should have focused sooner…on the implications of being in the cabinet.”

    In other words, Gregg wanted to be a cabinet secretary so bad that he didn’t bother to think about the philosophical differences he might have with a liberal president. That’s ridiculous.

    But then, so is the number of Obama nominee’s who haven’t figured out how to pay taxes!

    February 14, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  17. silupesgram

    The Hawaain Islands' economy can be stimulated right now by simply reporting their weather report on the daily CNN weather report,

    February 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  18. M Schiffer

    I would like to know why the Republicans, like McCain, support the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure with our money but don't support the rebuilding of our own infrastructure.

    February 14, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  19. Larry L.

    Why isn't the president paying any attention to the financial advisers,or the business community ?Ultimately that is who is going to be hiring , spending,and paying the taxes to get us out of this mess.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner began rolling out a plan to bail out more banks and bring more accountability to the existing government bailout program known as TARP, but that unveiling received' harsh reviews' on Capitol Hill and on Wall Street,if the presidents plans were 'good' the reviews would be positive,nothing is going 'good' so far.

    February 14, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  20. Anderson Jordan

    Hi AC,
    I live in Barbados,W.I but I follow the American politics in a big way. I support what the President is trying to do to get the economy back on track.I would like the Republicans, to give him some support on this heavy-lifting national effort.

    February 14, 2009 at 5:14 am |
  21. Bob Gordon


    President Obama's stimulus plan will not work in a time frame that can provide much needed relief.

    I am a Certified Financial Planner and own my own money management firm. I have been giving much thought to the economic situation we are in and I believe I have a solution that will stop foreclosures immediately and give new life to our financial system – all without the need of a government-induced spending stimulus plan. I would like to share my idea with you and your staff ASAP. Thank You!

    February 14, 2009 at 3:38 am |
  22. Landon

    Atlanta talk-radio host, Clark Howard finally pointed out a problem that I've been dealing with for years. Banks are continuing to distroy the economy with the latest tactics, rocketing interest rates! As a small business owner, I shovel out about $2,400 per month to credit card debt, with $2000 going directly toward interest payments alone.

    How can a "stimulous plan" be effective if American consumers are expected to pay 25-34% APR interest on existing debt. As more Americans are losing their jobs, banks are getting bailed out, while continuing to financially cripple stuggling Americans. Two thumbs up for Clark Howard. Those who have the power to make a difference (those involved in media) should try to make a real difference. What's in your wallet?

    February 14, 2009 at 3:01 am |
  23. big Blogger

    Who cares about bipartisanship. Obama needs to move forward with the public mandate and forget about pleasing the Repubs. Get this nation out of this fix!

    February 14, 2009 at 2:47 am |
  24. Eric From BC

    It does appear that the President is starting well on his way to deliver what he was elected to do. Whether he will be allowed to continue the full press on his agenda remains to be seen. At the very least he is accomplishing a dialogue where the issues are discussed, and to some extent are transparently aired. It will be up to the media in the days, weeks and months ahead to ensure that the tough issues are researched thoroughly and presented with balance. It is tough work for everyone but totally worth it. Keep up the energy, the future depends on it.

    February 14, 2009 at 12:52 am |
  25. Charlee

    Obama is doing great! He must stay on task and focused and not be taken off course by the Republican Party. He should not expect them to make it easy for him, they are only showing the country that politics are more important than the country. Obviously they did not hear us when they got voted out, maybe they will hear us the four years from now when they lose the White House!

    February 14, 2009 at 12:26 am |
  26. shawn

    there is an old adage that states "don't bite the hand that feeds you" that being said why would wall street complain about the white house' next plan to bail them out. take your bloated salaries and pay back the little guys. you know the ones who's money you lost backing garbage loans in order to turn a quick buck at the cost of every american you are asking to bail you out

    February 14, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  27. Mimi Ladipo

    Anderson, you're a hoot! Your crack about Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers at the Emmy's still has me in sititches!! Now to the serious stuff. With Congress just having voted for the Stimulus Bill I feel I can voice what to me, and many others I'm sure, has been blindingly obvious from the beginning. Democrats and Republicans could never have reached agreement on spending v tax cuts until, as Stevie Wonder sings, "..the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea" . (And, the economists are in a blind muddle so cannot adjudicate.) Why then did Congress not just agree, up front, on a fixed bill amount of say $800 billion, with 50% reserved for spending and 50% reserved for tax cuts? Then, recognizing that the Democrats are, for the moment at least, the people's choice tweak this to 60% spending and 40% tax cuts? All the political posturing that we've had to endure could then have been reserved for making sure there were no conflicts between the spending side and the tax cuts side AND the American people could have got a transparent, explainable, bill so much earlier........

    February 13, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  28. KIm

    He's moving right along and good job Obama ! Woosh,didn't even touch the net ! We gotta a razzle,dazzle President !

    February 13, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  29. Lorna barnett

    Mondy is only a concept that represents the value of something real. Banks and Wall Street have been trading money as if it has value of its own. I hope the recovery package includes oversight to prevent this from continuing.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  30. shalin

    The reason the government feels it needsto pump money into the economy is a product of exhorbitant prices on nearly ever commodity and service we have in the USA. Labor costs are high, because one cannot live in an acceptable way because prices are so high for nearly everything we need or want.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  31. Becky

    I am so glad I will have more money to spend because I foresee a very sharp increase in INFLATION over the next few years.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  32. penelope, philadelphia,pa

    People making amendments with markers?(Rolling my eyes) I agree that before the money is distributed, the programs should have pre-set goals so that if the marks aren't met the programs can be shut down quickly. I'm excited to see how this stimulus package effects the economy.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  33. Jennifer Owen

    “To create jobs,…the crisis in our financial sector…approach our budget in a responsible way… to once again live within our means.”
    Blurbs from the President’s speech today (2/13). How do we justify flying to and from DC all week pushing this? Flying a Senator in and out, from his mother’s funeral no less, for a 30 second vote (which could have waited); to flying to ORD for the weekend………all on our money, the extra manpower needed and the like?
    How is this helping to show the average American that the government is being responsible and living within their means? Or is it more that they are living within the combined taxpayers’ means?
    What about the economic crisis? Apparently it doesn’t exist, not really, in Washington and the White House.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  34. Tom - Dallas

    Why the 'government plane' for the senator from Ohio – why couldn't he go commercial?

    February 13, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  35. Stan

    I think it's very disrespectfull and non professional as a Republican, not to have read President Obamas stimulas plan to stimulate our economy. This makes it crystal clear that Republicans hold a serious gurge aganist the President and really want things to get worse.

    February 13, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  36. hilda

    The president has given the GOP boys ample play and the time has come to "leave them alone and let them come home wagging their tails behind them" – they sat back and presided over the country coming unglued at the seams so let them sit back and whine while we get it together again

    February 13, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  37. sean brizendine

    we had no choice but to go ahead with this stimulus.
    "sean in santa rosa"

    February 13, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  38. Annie Kate

    Sounds like a lot of work ahead and the Obama administration is sure not letting the grass grow beneath their feet – they have moved quickly on the economy and seem to be ready to move quickly on the other issues we have. President Obama may make government seem almost responsive if he keeps on like this. That would be a nice change.

    One thing though – its not Mister Obama; its President Obama. Please give the office of the Presidency the respect it deserves by addressing President Obama with his correct title. Thank you.

    February 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm |

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