(CNN) – When Air Force One touches down in Fort Myers, Florida, Tuesday morning, the weather will be different than northern Indiana. Little else will be.
President Barack Obama won't see anyone in earmuffs at the airport or remnants of dirty snow along the motorcade route to the town hall meeting. But like their rust belt compatriots in Elkhart, residents in Lee County are among the hardest hit by the economic downturn.
Fort Myers restaurant manager Debbie Kendall sees it every day.
"People are very nervous," she said of her customers. "Maybe even scared. Everything is so up in the air."
The cold, hard numbers: Unemployment in the Gulf Coast community was 2.3 percent at this time in 2006. By last winter, it was 6 percent. The latest numbers put the jobless rate in Lee County at 10 percent. That translates to 28,396 people looking for work.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is expected to announce Tuesday the Obama administration's long-awaited plans to address the foreclosure crisis.
But how much detail he'll reveal remains to be seen.
This much we know - the Obama administration wants to set aside between $50 billion and $100 billion to address the foreclosure crisis. Loan modifications are expected to be a central part of the plan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's opening statement was around eight minutes in length. The question and answer session lasted another 51 minutes. President Obama took questions from 13 different reporters, including CNN's Ed Henry.
Here's the order of questions:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama said Monday he would examine a leading senator's plan to investigate allegations of wrongdoing against former Bush administration officials, but was "more interested in looking forward."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed a "truth and reconciliation commission" to investigate the Bush administration's approval of warrantless surveillance and "alternative" interrogation techniques, which critics have said amount to the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody.
Obama said "nobody is above the law," and that his administration would leave "no doubt" that the United States does not torture and follows the Geneva Conventions - "But generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than looking backwards."
"I will take a look at Senator Leahy's proposal, but my general orientation is to say, 'Let's get it right moving forward,'" Obama said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama told reporters that pushing for a $800 billion stimulus plan to pump up the ailing economy was not the way he envisioned he would begin his term in the White House.
"Look, I would love not to have to spend money right now. I'd love - you know, this notion that somehow I came in here just ginned up to spend $800 billion... that wasn't how I envisioned my presidency beginning. But we have to adapt to existing circumstances," President Obama told reporters at his prime time news conference at the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The campaign arm of Senate Republicans wasted little time Monday night calling into question President Obama’s commitment to bipartisanship, and took a swipe at him for his stimulus proposal.
Even before Obama’s first primetime news conference came to a close, National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh released this statement:
“President Obama promised change and bipartisanship in Washington, but that’s not what Americans have witnessed in the crafting of this gargantuan spending bill. Despite his rhetoric tonight, President Obama cannot possibly be proud of the final result - a bloated, trillion dollar spending bill crafted in a partisan manner that represents the same wasteful Washington spending and will fall on the shoulders of future generations. Democrats rejected, out of hand, Republican efforts to work together to truly stimulate the economy and address the housing crisis. Unfortunately, this bill is not change, it’s more of the same and Senate Democrats will be held accountable for their growing record of fiscal irresponsibility.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – “How's it playing in Peoria?”
President Obama and faithful readers of the CNN Political Ticker will soon find out. Obama is heading to the prototypical middle American town on Thursday to talk about... you guessed it, the economy.
It will be a homecoming of sorts as Obama heads to his home state for this event, as well as another in the Illinois state capital of Springfield.
Odds are good that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will join the president on this trip. LaHood, who is playing a big role in helping to sell this economic plan, represented Peoria for seven terms as a Republican congressman.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States is looking for opportunities for "face to face" dialogue with Iran after nearly three decades without diplomatic ties, President Barack Obama said Monday, but still has "deep concerns" about Tehran's actions.
"There's been a lot of mistrust built up over the years, so it's not going to happen overnight," Obama said during his first prime-time news conference Monday night.
He said his administration is reviewing existing U.S. policy toward Iran, which supports groups Washington has branded terrorist organizations and has defied U.N. demands to halt its uranium enrichment program.
Despite those concerns, he said his administration wants to use "all the resources at the United States' disposal" to resolve those concerns.
"In the coming months, we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table face to face," Obama said
WASHINGTON (CNN) –- Tax cuts for the middle class. An extension of unemployment benefits and healthcare coverage for people “who have lost their jobs.” And a pledge to “do whatever it takes to put this country back to work.”
President Obama used his first prime-time news conference Monday to sell Americans on his economic recovery plan as well as pressure Congress to act quickly and approve it so that money can start pumping into the ailing economy.
Obama employed perhaps one of the most powerful tools in his arsenal –- the White House bully pulpit. Every major broadcast and cable outlet carried his opening remarks and the news conference.
The president has a lot of work ahead of him as he tries to convince Americans that this proposal is the appropriate jolt the economy needs. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released just hours earlier showed that 54 percent of Americans support the stimulus bill that passed the Senate, while 45 percent oppose it.
Obama is holding his first prime time news conference. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President Obama made the points he needs to make to the American public: If we don’t act now, this economic crisis will become a catastrophe.
He also made the philosophical point that tax cuts alone cannot solve this problem, as some Republicans suggest.
He conceded that we can't depend on government alone to solve the problems, but made the point that only government is large enough to solve the problems of this size.