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February 17th, 2009
05:08 PM ET

Obama's permanent campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/17/art.obamabill.gi.jpg]
Amy Holmes l Bio
AC360° Contributor

Viewers can be forgiven for mistaking today's bill signing with a campaign rally. Introduced by the Colorado governor in front of a screaming and adoring crowd (who goes to a bill signing anyway?), President Obama did his best to spin and sell the $787 billion spending stimulus package that was passed along almost entirely partisan lines.

Which brings me to a political observation that has gone overlooked. Typically, a bill signing takes place in the East Room, or in the Rose Garden if the weather is nice. The president is flanked by the bill's co-sponsors who get to share in the glory and bask in the reporters' flash bulbs and television cameras.

Not this time. There was no Congressional procession to the White House. No press conference on the driveway. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Steny Hoyer did not get to stand beeming with pride in the president's reflected glory as he signed into law billions upon billions of dollars of democratic spending. Nope. President Obama stood at a lecturn a thousand miles away from Pennsylvania Avenue, and sopped up the applause and credit alone.

The president may have been trying to de-politicize a most partisan bill, and infuse it with his goodwill and high approvals. But the absence of his Congressional allies at the signing of the biggest spending bill in American, make that world, history was notable. He may have said today that the bailout was for all Americans. But the optics of the event said something different: that the credit was his alone.


Filed under: Amy Holmes • Economy • First 100 Days
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Larry L.

    ---Watch --It's just going to keep getting worse-Big Brother---–

    February 18, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Amy,
    For gods sake give us a break with you partisan comments and sniping rhetoric.
    Republicans lost because they stand on ceremony and outdayed principles which were inadequately communicated to the people and voters who are what really matters.
    grow up and stop being so petty!
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 18, 2009 at 4:31 am |
  3. lorraine

    yes the glory is his and when it work`s i want to see the poeple say it as many time as they said it would`t work so get busy helping it work don`t know what part of that you don`t understand he said it was going to take all, all, all, of us to help and beed saying this in the hold time he has been talking to all of us. not just a few poeple and he also said we was not finish how many time do he have to say this over and over again like we are two year`s old can you really walk in his shoes,big shoe to fill if they could they would but he won help him and yourself to help him is to help yourself he will not fell rush so get over it because we will not fell and that is more than hope that is action thank you

    February 18, 2009 at 1:47 am |
  4. Sam Portland

    When I listen to President Obama he fills me with fear, I hear and see a clear picture of manipulation with his words to meet a pre-determined agenda and I have to wonder where are we really going?

    He is much scarier to me than just a lousy President like Bush. Are we going to be able to stop him as he manipulates the masses into thinking their lives are going to be better all the while he is shoving them further into poverty.

    February 18, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  5. lionne

    I can not understand that when the GOP approved taxpayers money to invade Iraq and the amount of money spent did not matter. Will the goverments that tax payers money be replaced by them. It's time for the people that supported the invasion and those that did not to come together . We are facing a crisis economically that is one of the worst in this countries history. Thank you W and all the people that profited from your policies.

    February 18, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  6. Dee Montgomery

    Miss Lead, if you call having Ms. Pelosi throw a lot of pork in a barrel and call it a Stimulus Package "working his tail to fix the mess"...well, what about the job is worth a $400,000 per year salary plus millions in perks? The difference in this and FDR's spending: This time it is on borrowed money.

    Obama is staying tonight in my Camelback Mountain neighborhood in Phoenix. The resort he is staying at costs $3,500 per night - I'd like to know how many rooms the entourage is using. The budget being what it is, if he just had to get out of DC, he could sleep on Air Force One, or in the Mesa, AZ, neighborhood where he will talk about the housing crisis tomorrow.

    Dee Montgomery
    Phoenix

    February 18, 2009 at 12:03 am |
  7. shaasu

    Many Americans are looking forward to receive a stimulus payment. President Obama should not be criticized because he did not cause our economy to fall. He should be given the opportunity to uplift our economy. Nothing ever happens in a few days if it's going to be beneficial in the end.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  8. Jeanette

    Isn't it time we stopped calling this an economic crisis and call it by its true name-Depression!! Why are we in such denial about this?

    February 17, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  9. Melissa

    President Obama is trying to let people know that if trying to take steps towards helping the American people. He may be criticized now but take note, people are studying him to try and duplicate what he does. Whether they agree with him or not, his approach to things will also make history.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  10. JAN

    Amy Holmes,
    If President Obama found the money or a check in a ditch, put it on a table and called all the people before it, handed it to them on silver platter, people such as yourself will always find fault.
    THE PRESIDENT CAN DO NO RIGHT. IT MATTERS NOT WHAT HE DOES OR HOW HE DOES IT.
    GOD HELP OUR PRESIDENT and keep him safe from idiots and so called journalist. We wonder about you my sister along with Steeles or the tokens in the mids of bigotry and of our hardships.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm |
  11. cj

    Amy, you just don't get it, do you? The signing of the bill outside of the beltway is called TAKING IT TO THE PEOPLE. On November 4, 2008 then President-elect made it clear. "This night is not about me, it is about you" refering to the people. "You may not have voted for me but I will be your president too". You see Amy, he means it and the Republican pundits clearly need to get used to it. He is not campaigning, he is hanging out with his "peeps" . . . you and me. This is unprecedented but to those of us who supported him and attended his events this is no surprise.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  12. lampe

    All he is doing is trying to run again in 4 years. He shows his face on T.V. now, almost as much as he did during The Campaigns.

    February 17, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  13. Miss Lead

    President Obama does not fit the description of your typical politician. For openers, he has brains, sensitivity, and charisma. The country is going through the worst economic crisis after the great depression. The American people need to be reasured that there is a person a the helm who is working his tail to fix the mess that the previous administration left him. We should appreciate the fact that he is up front dealing with this crisis. But then again, there are republicans...

    Miss Lead
    APO AA

    February 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  14. Jeff Anderson Redding,Calif

    I think Obama has the right idea. Get out of Washington and see the people. Screw tradition and the politicians who seek the recognition. The american people are not stupied and know that one man does not formulate every idea in Washington. Obama is trying to change the staus-quo. Give him a shot

    February 17, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  15. John, New Orleans, LA

    I agree with Annie Kate. Well said.

    February 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  16. Sarah

    "Hes soooooooo cool"

    February 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    If Obama had the creators and legislators who passed the bill around him it would have been a predominately Democratic crowd. Perhaps in sitting alone he was trying to keep the message that politics were still as partisan as they have always been out of the message of the bill. We would have complained about an all Democratic crowd around him – with no one we complain he is taking the credit alone. Lets give the man a chance and some time and see what happens. A President should be judged by his full term of 4 years not by 4 weeks.

    February 17, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  18. VickiRae

    Under the Bush administration we were allowed to just sit around and do nothing in all aspects including our jobs and they way we treated each other. Oh what a great example Bush was. Too bad we are all too broke to go off on vacation.

    Now, under the Obama administration we are told we should get up off our butts and help our neighbor. This is the way it should be and should have always been. So why not heed to it? It a sure thing if it is carried out. He is working hard to make things happen. The true change will only come in YOU!

    February 17, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  19. Luis

    and the market took a dump on the bill.

    February 17, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  20. Aliston

    very curious about this investor partnership for tarp? Is socialism the answer? Where do you draw the line? Does anyone really know?

    February 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  21. Day Banks

    700 BILLION vs 787 BILLION
    Are we stupid and in particular Republicans? Bush invested 700 billions in a sector of the economy i.e Wall Street with little controls on how its spent and how much liquidity it was supposed to achieve and now, President Obama introduced an 800 billion stimulus package for the whole country, it is whittled down to 787 billion and people are still moaning about size of package.
    What the f?k are we talking about?
    700 billion for a sector with little whimper from the same republicans who are now crying about 787 billions for the whole country and so far i have not heard any comparison from the so called truth seekers on CNN or from any so called analyst. Sector receives 87 billions less than the whole country and republicans and sympathizers are still crying?
    Now is this racism , politics , stupidity , ignorance or just plain idiocy on a truly American proportions?
    Sheesh !!!

    February 17, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  22. John, New Orleans, LA

    We don't know if the stimulus bill is going to destroy "debt and...democracy and the free market". President Obama doesn't even know that, nobody does. But instead of looking at the signing of the stimulus in a negative light, how about we look at this optimistically. At least President Obama is attempting to do something to save the jobs, homes, education, etc. of some Americans. It may not save all, but who or what can? He's certainly paying a lot more attention to the matter than the last administration did. And it was clearly evident that the last administration stopped working for the American people long before the transition into the current administration. Let's see how that tone sounds when real American problems start hitting a little closer to home and absolutely nothing was done about it.

    We all know that our "rock star" president is certainly different in some of the ways in which he conducts business. Who cares? Is the location of where he signs laws really that important? Matter of fact, is there any LAW saying that the president's congressional allies have to be present and it is MANDATORY to sign bills in certain locations? This administration, like any other administration, brings about changes to the way business is conducted. Let's not be so closed minded to change.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  23. Rita in Orlando

    What a wonderful way to make this about the PEOPLE and not about the POLITICIANS.
    For too long we have let Washington be the way Washington is, because that's just how Washington has always been. Not anymore, now we have change.
    Let the leader of WE THE PEOPLE sign OUR bills amongst WE THE PEOPLE.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  24. Gerardo

    I believe only about 1/3 or less of the people would get help from the stimulus package, $50 Billion out of $787 Billion when the housing market crash and that is where this crisis began sounds to me that they should have giving at least on third of the package to fix the problem and eventually it would get worst before it gets any better i bet. is not fair for the people thats why people needs the money not banks. if we would get some money directly people would start spending money getting the economy start up but since the money is giving to the banks not to the people well everyone pays except the banks.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  25. JC- Los Angeles

    While President Obama inherited a mess and he should be afforded time to clean it up, it appears that he ran on change to get elected and is now running from it once in office.

    No one, regardless of party affiliation, thinks that change starts with a Clinton, a Panetta, an Emanuel, a Holder, a Daschle, a Solis or a Burris.

    President Obama had a golden opportunity to man up and tell Timothy Geithner "thanks but no thanks, things are going to change."

    Rather than set a precedent for his first four years, he caved on Geithner who now seems determined to rebuild Wall Street with his "private" investors who helped crash it the first time around.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  26. Erika in Los Angeles

    I doubt those who are not in support of the stimulus package would have felt better if the President had signed the bill like it's usually done...just one more thing to whine about I guess.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  27. Barbara in Boston

    Permanent campaign? What a headline for a president who has been in office less than a month.

    Permanent campaign is what Bush did - for eight, long years.

    February 17, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  28. janey

    I think he was trying to make a point that he was taking responsibility, not credit, for the bill.
    It is a hugely important bill, and in light of the current state of things, should there really be a lot pomp and circumstance?

    February 17, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  29. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    President Obama deserves our trust in everything that represents. But he assumed the presidency, at a difficult time remaining and one of its biggest challenges is managing expectations and to avoid many frustrations.

    Four falls in office, failure of the dream of bipartisan support, a financial rescue plan and a poorly received economic stimulus plan. Are notices that will be a government difficult in the political and economic. But the most important is anyone wilt (individuals, political and press).

    February 17, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  30. Randal Rosenbaum

    Just goes to show how stupid some people still are in this country. Doesn't matter to any of them that this bill will put little money in their pocket or help them, they still adore their "Messiah", who spent thousands of tax payer money in order to fly to Colorado to sign a bill he could have signed in D.C. He went to the right state, another liberal, out of their mind state, right behind California in their liberal thinking. It won't be long before that state will be crying because it doesn't have the funds to continue it's liberal government agenda. You people in Colorado voted for the bum, I hope you get the "change" that you asked for.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  31. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Yes, it's our rock star president signing his first rock star bill. Aw. Someone put the picture on his Facebook page. Stroke his overinflated ego. And hand me the nausea meds.

    I look at it this way. He's taking the glory now. He can take the fallout later. The disaster of this bill and what it will do to our nation in terms of debt and the destruction of democracy and the free market is something I blame on him and the congressional dimwits who voted for it. You won't hear cheers from this rooftop anytime soon.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm |