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« House GOP Leaders Denounce Stem Cell Order | Blog Home Page | Vogel Named DCCC Executive Director »

Still Walking And Chewing Gum ...

President Obama is set to speak about education tomorrow, after an executive order signing today on stem cell research. The White House has said a president must be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but questions mounted today about why it is devoting time to so many other policy areas when both Wall Street and Main Street are looking for more reassurance about the economic crisis.

No less an authority on the economy than Warren Buffet hinted at the unease during an interview with CNBC, when he said consumers are still holding back on spending in part because of a "muddled" message from Washington. Robert Gibbs defended the administration's broad policy agenda at the daily press briefing.

"[Obama] would love the opportunity to only have to focus on one of those challenges at a time. I think given the many challenges that we face, that's a little bit of a flight of fancy," he said. "Washington has for many, many years, postponed or put off dealing with the problems that we're now facing."

He later justified the science and education events specifically, saying today's students need to be better trained to "meet the jobs of the future."

"Tell me which business is going to borrow money to expand, to add jobs, to do stem cell research, that can't find the people either coming out of college today or graduate school to do those jobs," he asked.

He ended the discussion with a somewhat tortured extrapolation of a reporter's analogy about a house on fire.

"Which room are you going to put out first? Or are you going to call the fire department and ask them to put all of it out? Or are you going to say, you know what, we love the living room; start over there," he said. "We could do that. And maybe by the time they get to the kitchen or the den the whole house is in ashes."