WASHINGTON, Jan. 6
If the White House has its way, this weekend -- as tens of millions of Americans get ready for the NFL playoffs, watch their Tivo'ed "Washington Week," and check out re-runs of Tom Edsall's gripping colloquy with Brian Lamb -- the Nation will say to itself in one giant collective voice, "President Bush does indeed have a strategy to grow the economy and raise household incomes!!!"
Of course, presidential strategists know that if this group shout-out occurs, it will be because of the wide reach of Matthew McDonald, rather than any significant Friday night network coverage (and Saturday newspaper coverage) of all of today's focus-like-a-laser-beam efforts by the Administration to highlight the growing economy and the plans to keep it booming. Because the President's vision has nothing to do with Sharon, miners, Jon Stewart hosting the Academy Awards, or deaths in Iraq.
Nonetheless, as Republicans on the Hill sort through the leadership, message, and policy ramifications of the swirling controversy that is L'affair Abramoff, their partisan brethren at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue are getting out of Dodge.
It's Economy Day for the Bush Administration.
"The Labor Department says the economy added 108,000 jobs in December; the unemployment rate dips to 4.9 percent," reports the AP, heralding numbers that can be spun in any direction one wishes (good trend; weaker than expected; etc.).
President Bush will no doubt be touting those numbers his way after he tours the Chicago Board of Trade today during his 1:00 pm ET remarks at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, IL.
Per ABC News' Karen Travers, Scott McClellan said the President will focus his remarks on three areas:
1. Importance of increasing opportunity by keeping the economy growing (read: making taxing cuts permanent and reining in spending).
2. Job skills and training in a changing economy.
3. Increasing opportunity by expanding trade and the importance of opening markets abroad to American products and workers.
Per the Wall Street Journal's John Harwood, the steelworkers plan to protest in Chicago today as Bush visits to tout better education for 21st century workers. The steelworkers were "rebuffed" by Bush on Dec. 30 in their bid for trade protection. The steelworkers union is seeking congressional help in competing with imports of Chinese-made steel pipe.
Vice President Cheney is expected to do some economic cheerleading today as well. He'll have the more muscular photo opportunity with a tour of a Harley-Davidson factory in Kansas City, MO. Mr. Cheney will make his remarks at 12:20 pm ET from that factory before heading off to Fort Leavenworth, KS to rally the troops.
(ABC's Karen Travers reminds us, "Cheney visited a Harley Davidson store in Gainesville, FL on Oct 4, 2004 for a campaign event. He delivered his standard campaign stump speech there and checked out the bikes but did not take one for a test ride.)
The Secretary of the Treasury John Snow visits the New York Stock Exchange at 11:00 am ET and the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor, and Energy (and many of their deputies) are all out and about today as well.
And your one must-read on the Bush/Cheney/Evans economy:
The Los Angeles Times asks if the problem for Mr. Bush is that he just has a tough act to follow – the boom of the '90s. LINK
And your three must-reads on the (soon to be?) end of the DeLay era in the House: