January 25th, 2009
05:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama looks to cash in some political capital

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/25/obama.economy/art.obamajobs.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama is trying to get Republicans on board his plan to stimulate the economy."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama, who arguably won a large chunk of political capital in the 2008 election, is now looking to cash in as he urges Congress to pass a massive economic stimulus package.

But questions about how to spend the money and concerns about the last stimulus package under former President Bush, may create a roadblock.

It's something the newly minted president is hoping to avoid. But like most things in Washington, cooperation doesn't come easy.

And that may be why Obama painted an extremely grim portrait of the nation's economy on Saturday - just hours before he met with his economic team, and days before he meets with Republicans leaders on Capitol Hill.

"We begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action," he said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last 26 years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits."

Obama pleaded for quick action, warning, "a bad situation could become dramatically worse." Watch Obama's weekly address

The president urged congressional members to quickly pass an $825 billion economic stimulus package, which he hopes will create up to 4 million jobs over the next two years.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Congress
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Al, California

    Sure, Obama should go ahead. And hopefully democrats will have character to push through.
    If republicans cannot handle it, then I'd be pleased to see stimulus package cleared from anything that was put there to please republicans.
    They should be happy enough that their top shots like Cheney and Rumsfeld are not in prison and that they are not obliged to return our TAX money funneled to their contractors through war in Iraq.

    January 25, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Robert Wooller Bradford England UK

    There is indeed a lot of pressure on Obama at the moment and for many months into the future, but that doesn't mean to say that he won't be victorious in the end. He has many great people in his team and an excellent opportunity to make the Democrats even more popular, especially with those that lean or are Republican. I wish him the best of luck. Very good article.

    January 25, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Allen

    We are in the economic mess we are in because our society spends (and borrows) too much. Why do we keep thinking we can solve the problem by simply doing the same thing, only at an accelerated rate? We are like an alcoholic trying to break his addiction by drinking EVEN MORE, thinking that if he just drinks the RIGHT KIND of booze, he'll get better. When are we going to realize there are no quick and painless solutions to this problem? We are just digging ourselves in deeper. (Step one to fixing the problem is adding a BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT to the constitution.)

    January 25, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Gary

    The federal government, state governments and local governments borrowed too much. The banks borrowed too much, the car companies borrowed too much. We bought houses we couldn't afford and stuff on credit cards we couldn't afford. Even the students going to college are willing to borrow too much but not work part time. Otherwise healthy adult retire at 55 or 60 or 65? This is all crazy. Borrowing more money to bail people out will not help. We all need to work more hours per week and more years of our lives, we need to save more and invest more. We need to stop buying things on credit that we can't afford. No one wants to hear this but it is the only way to get out of this situation. An $800 billion stimulus package is a symbol of our nation being in denial of what our real problem is.

    January 25, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Jean

    Your left wing point of view.

    January 25, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Simmy

    The Bush Republicans have already shown that they plan to be disagreeable. I hope for the sakes of their party and their reelections, they'll get on the good foot and do the right thing. Change is truly hard isn't it?

    Go Mr. President Go, you will overcome them with God's help! Vous etes tres magnifique!

    January 25, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Gail

    The Republicans ask for more tax cuts. What they fail to realize is tax cuts are no good if you don't have a job. Obama's thinking is much more forward.

    January 25, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Matt

    Good luck with that. People are starting to wonder what the first $150 billion in stimulus bought us and where the second $700 billion wound up.... and now you're trying to send through $825 billion more that even the governments own accountants say won't provide jobs in the near future?

    Good luck. Americans may be Hopeful and wanting of Change, but that doesn't mean they want the change that you envision. In fact, 58 definitely don't... and that number is likely to grow when people realize you're just a man doing a difficult job.

    This is what happens when you get so wrapped up in any political ideology that you can't face reality. Democrats: redistributing wealth, regardless of what you call it, does not create prosperity. Republicans: free trade only works when both parties play fair... and the rest of the world isn't really playing very fair on very many fronts.

    January 25, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. jared

    the republicans are belly aching about closing the prison in cuba. they should just tell the truth its dick cheneys. cash cow he's a heavy investor in private prisons. and i'll bet some of this g. bay money is recycling back to these croks pockets this is why they don't want it to close right mccain you ol good ol boy...........

    January 25, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Outspoken

    Stimulus packages are the economic equivalent of cocaine. Sure, they perk up the economy and makes us feel good in the short term, but after the economic high wears off, we find ourselves right back where we started–just a little poorer or deeper in debt.

    January 25, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. In Moderation in GA

    Republicans do not like Obama's plan because it does not give enough money back to the rich. The rich need the extra money so they can buy cheap stocks and feed the Wall Street machine. Everyone knows that if you give money to the poor they will only spend it on food and shelter.

    January 25, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. John G

    I don't want a website telling me how taxpayers money has already been spent. I want President Obama to get on national TV before the bill goes to Congress and I want him to tell me how every penny of taxpayers money WILL be spent before it is authorized to do so. At that point we should hold a special election where the people decide whether or not we are going to bail out any more failing businesses.

    If enough people vote yes in the election then Congress can vote on it with the provision that no pork may be added to the bill. It will have to be voted on as is.

    January 25, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. rich halleck

    on subject of dogs, my famliy has had had a breed called. WHITE HIGHLAND TERRIOR small breed, white in color, does not shed, rarely barks, and very intelligent. and a attractive little guy, at least. thank you.

    January 25, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Ken

    I don't want to see Obama give free hand outs to people and Companies looking to cash in. Our country was built on hard work and misfortune, not handouts or I think you as a Goverment owe me. 1 take care of the United States and its Citizens not illegals, not people with work visa's(if your Country is going in the toilet lets not help the others out) take care of the people that put you there? We as Americans haven't seen that in a long time!

    January 25, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Stephon (New Mexico)

    The article's author negatively states that the President "arguably won a large chunk of political capital in the 2008 election." If he didn't win that degree of political capital, then to what degree did he win, Mr. Hornick? This article is exemplifies articles, peppered with negativity and the like, parading around as sound journalism. I'm not suggesting the President is above criticism. However, we should abandon the nonsense of the past and engage in straightforward criticism.

    "Yes....we did!"

    January 25, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. bk

    Obama reminds me of Bush. When all else fails use the fear factor and scare them into it.

    January 25, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  17. Texas Republic

    This is the second time he has said double digits. I guess I missed something it is presently 6 digits and has been so for almost a year.

    But they want to keep illegal aliens taken care of (Amnesty and welfare) and other foriegn workers (VISAS). When and were does the Legal American worker get his help. It appears not in America.

    Not one shot has been fired and they have taken our Country away from us for the desire of cheap labor and erase the American way.

    January 25, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. 30m-PA-Democrat-voted Clinton then McCain

    Political capital? He won ~63 million votes while McCain won ~56 million. Nearly half of the country voted AGAINST Obama. The love affair continues....

    January 25, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Weak plan. Creating 4million jobs won't move the country an inch. He is intelligent let him think. Thats what he is paid for. People want to see HOPE. But how can there be hope when people see little change in the so called stimulus package. Has to come up with something better than just reminding the people of the dramatic situation already forecasted before he was to become the first African American president. What part do African Americans do not get when it comes to wealth?

    January 25, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. EBC

    GREAT, it's so wonderful to see a President so "hands on and intelligent" I can't believe Americans have dealt with an incompetent President for eight long years!!!

    You know what was WORSE? NO one complained or BASHED Bush or DEMAND JUSTICE when both Bush and Cheney were clearly indignant and incompetent as President and Vice President. These two men ran the White House into the ground and behaved as if they were above the law.

    AND now we have a President willing to GET TO WORK and CLEAN UP THE MESS. We need to STOP bashing and hating and START stepping up to help clean up this mess. President Obama didn't create this mess all by himself!!! Americans could truly make HISTORY by changing how we think and how we do business~!

    January 25, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. hello

    the only thing the republicans can do is "just say no", they have no idea how to spend the taxpayers money, they already proved that, let Obama and his administration handle the stimulus money, its the only thing that makes any sense.

    January 25, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |



    January 25, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Lynn in NM

    More of the "change" he is making.

    January 25, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Political capital ALL GONE

    Mr President You had some political capital when you got elected, but you squandered it all on dumb things already.

    1. You bought a tax cheat to head the Treasury and the IRS

    2. You bought a Raytheon lobbyist to work in DOD

    3. You bought $250 million in condoms in your stimulus bill

    4. You gave Nancy Pelosi an open checkbook and she speant the rest of your political capital on PORK

    I voted for you Mr President, but I think now that both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were correct -- you are too inexperienced for this job -- and the scary thing is that the hard part has not yet started

    January 25, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  25. Gordon Shumway

    I was rather disappointed that the Obamas didn't feel any obligation at all to attend the Hero's Ball celebrating the Congressional Medal of Honor winners and sponsored by the American Legion and others. Here's how the Cleveland Leader had it in their paper.

    "Obama Snubs Nation's Heroes, Becomes the First President to Skip Ball Honoring Medal of Honor Recipients in Over 50 Years
    Submitted by Julie on January 21, 2009 – 10:13pm. Elections Elections 2008 News Politics U.S. Government U.S. Politics World Politics
    Barack Obama may have stumbled over his words briefly during his inauguration, but he made an even bigger blunder later Tuesday evening. The newly sworn-in President opted not to appear at what should have been one of the most important Balls on his agenda that evening – The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball.

    The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball was begun in 1953 for President Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration. The event recognized recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. There were 48 Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, who were undoubtedly disappointed by the Commander-in-Chief's failure to show. Over the past 56 years and 14 inaugurations, no President has skipped this event – until now.

    The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball is sponsored by the American Legion, and co-sponsored by 13 other veteran's service organizations, including those such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

    Instead of attending this ball honoring our nation's heroes, Obama was busy making stops at 10 other official balls. Obama and his wife's first stop was at the Neighborhood Ball. From there they went to the Home State Ball for Illinois and Hawaii, the Commander-in-Chief Ball, the Youth Inaugural Ball, and the Home State Ball for Delaware and Pennsylvania. They finished off the night with brief appearances at the Mid-Atlantic, Western, Midwest, Eastern, and Southern regional Balls.

    Celebrities were a plenty at the balls, with Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Mary. J. Blige, Faith Hill, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, will.i.am, Sting, Mariah Carey, and Leonardo DiCaprio in attendance at the Neighborhood Ball. In addition, the other nine balls also featured a star-studded lineup including Kanye West and Kid Rock at the Youth Ball, Marc Anthony at the Western Ball, and Cheryl Crow at the Western Ball.

    It was the party without all of the celebrities that Obama skipped. The very people who he sought to have support him during his candidacy and campaign, who have fought to protect this country, were snubbed in favor of publicity and the opportunity to rub shoulders – yet again – with the out-of-touch Hollywood elite."

    This was shameful and a disgrace to real American Heroes.

    January 25, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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