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« Reid Statement On New Treasury Plan | Blog Home Page | House Republicans Readying Budget Alternative »

Strategy Memo: Prime-Time Obama

President Obama will hold his second prime-time news conference tonight at 8:01 ET, placing himself directly into American households to discuss the nation's economic situation and path forward. He starts his day talking to astronauts at the Space Station during a morning phone call.

Obama will also hold a one-on-one meeting with Australia Prime Minister Paul Rudd as he continues to keep an eye on the coming G-20 Summit. The White House released an op-ed written by the President on the global economy, which is being published in newspapers across the globe today.

Vice President Biden begins his day hosting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for breakfast at the Naval Observatory, followed by daily briefings at the White House and conference calls with mayors and governors to discuss implementing the economic stimulus.

The House will vote on a number of suspension bills, while the Senate takes up the House-passed National Service bill, a.k.a. the GIVE Act, which encourages volunteering and triples the size of AmeriCorps.

**President Obama
*"The White House received a big boost on Monday as stock markets and the financial community rallied at news of a $1 trillion plan to buy up toxic assets weighing down the nation's banks," The Hill reports.

*WSJ reports that "weeks of searing criticism by politicians and the public had left bankers leery of working with the government. After brainstorming about what to do about that problem, the White House resolved to try to take control of the debate

*Budget Battle: "President Obama will go to Capitol Hill this week to try to persuade skeptical Senate Democrats to support the administration's first budget request after an analysis showed that the spending plan would drive the nation deeply into debt over the next decade," WaPo reports.

*Cutting Through the Corps: Politico's Martin writes on the White House's effort to get their message beyond the Washington press corps, reaching out to local, liberal and ethnic news sources. "In many ways, Obama's effort is simply the latest expression of a familiar phenomenon. It is the perennial hope of presidents -- especially early in their administrations -- that they can escape the filter of an often-skeptical Washington press corps and communicate directly with a target audience," writes Martin.

*An Obama-written op-ed calling for global action on economic challenges appeared in 31 newspapers around the world this morning, from the Middle East to Australia, Southeast Asia and Western Europe, as well as Africa, South America and Pakistan. "My message is clear: The United States is ready to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose. Much good work has been done, but much more remains.," Obama writes.

*Americans aren't happy with the way AIG management, Congress or Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner have handled the AIG bonus mess, though Obama gets a passing grade, according to a new Gallup poll.

**Prime-Time Press Conference
*Chris Cillizza on what to watch for: "Tone will matter for Obama tonight. He has drawn some criticism for his somewhat jovial manner when discussing the state of the economy during his interview with '60 Minutes' and must avoid coming off as dismissive or not overly concerned about an economy that has Average Americans on edge. And, watch to see how aggressive the reporters in the room are when it comes to AIG, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the economy writ large. The tone has grown more combative of late in White House press secretary Robert Gibbs's daily briefings. Will it carry over to the questions asked of the chief executive?"

*Perhaps trying to head off some criticism before tonight's press conference, Obama announced some candidates for other top posts at Treasury. "In recent days, in spite of public furor over huge bonuses paid at American International Group Inc., the administration has concluded that it needs the private sector to play a central role in fixing the economy. So over the weekend, the White House worked to tone down its Wall Street bashing and to win support from top bankers for the bailout plan announced Monday, which will rely on public-private investments to soak up toxic assets."

**Congress
*With the comment from Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) yesterday that Obama's budget would be a "tough sell" to centrist Members, The Hill reports that "Senate Republican leaders are trying to drive a wedge between the Obama administration and centrist Democratic senators who could be key to his budget's approval."

*Senate Pausing AIG Bonus Tax Bill: "Jarred by a cool reception from the White House and fears of unintended consequences across the financial world, Senate leaders are likely to delay until late next month legislation to punitively tax bonuses at banks and investment firms that receive federal aid," the Washington Post reports.

*A third of the bonus money is coming back anyway.

*The National Service bill the Senate is considering this week has brought Sen. Ted Kennedy back to Washington.

**Campaign Stuff
*"In the Republican graveyard of the Northeast, the region where the party all but ceased to compete over the past decade, there are signs of GOP life in places that as recently as November seemed to have none," Politico reports.

*The New York Observer reports that RNC chair Michael Steele will come to New York on April 1 to appear with Republican-turned-independent Michael Bloomberg. "Bloomberg is currently courting local G.O.P. officials because he is hoping to be allowed to run in the Republican primary."

*Don't look now - but someone is asking questions about Sarah Palin in Iowa. The Iowa Independent cautions though that it's an automated survey. "Touch-tone phone polls are cheap and not considered very reliable. Whoever commissioned this poll must still be in the very early stages of a campaign. Once the live calls start, the race will have actually begun."

Exxon Valdez: "Today marks the **20th anniversary of one of the worst environmental disasters in history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill. After two decades, the memory of the spill persists for the commercial fishermen and Alaska natives whose livelihoods were destroyed by Exxon's recklessness. Sadly, the oil persists, too: A 2007 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study showed that 26,600 gallons of crude oil from the spill are still lingering below the surface of Alaska's beaches."

**Random Headline: In L.A., even the gangsters got style.

--Kyle Trygstad and Mike Memoli