A test run for the next session? "Buoyed by a slew of recent polls showing that the economy has boosted Obama (Ill.) and Democrats in the House and Senate, Democratic leaders in Congress are aggressively posturing to steamroll Republicans over the economy in the coming weeks," The Hill's Jared Allen writes. "While they have made it clear that they want Obama in the driver's seat, congressional Democrats are providing the horsepower for a potential $300 billion economic stimulus bill that could be five times the size of the package approved by the House in September."
Next step: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., holds a news conference in Nevada Wednesday to call for the new economic recovery package -- designed to create jobs, fight foreclosures, and cut taxes.
Nancy Pelosi, in a USA Today op-ed (quoting the newest Nobel Prize winner, too): "The need for this package is undeniable. America lost nearly 800,000 jobs in the past nine months and 159,000 jobs last month alone. Families throughout the nation are watching as key services -- education, public safety, health care and child safety -- are dramatically reduced. All families are facing higher energy and food costs."
But will anything work? "In the latest, clearest sign that the economy is driving the presidential election, both Barack Obama and John McCain are pitching costly new proposals to more directly help families and businesses squeezed in the financial storm. But both plans drew quick skepticism from analysts who questioned how the ideas will be paid for and if they would work," per The Boston Globe's Sasha Issenberg and Michael Kranish.
The big thing that's holding back predictions of a race that's just plain over: race.
The New York Times' Adam Nagourney: "Political strategists once assumed that polls might well overstate support for black candidates, since white voters might be reluctant to admit racially tinged sentiments to a pollster. Newer research has cast doubt on that assumption. Either way, the situation is confounding aides on both sides, who like everyone else are waiting to see what role race will play in the privacy of the voting booth."
Says Harold Ickes: "If he were white, this would be a blowout."
But he's not, and it may be a blowout yet: "Across the country, many voters expect that Obama's race will be a factor in the election," ABC's John Berman reports. "But the Bradley effect points to race being a bigger factor. It says voters are misleading pollsters, but some experts said there is simply no reliable evidence to prove that. 'If people wanted to lie to us, it would be much simpler for them simply to decline to participate in the poll in the first place,' said Gary Langer, ABC News' polling director."
Not that there's any pressure or anything: "If Senator McCain doesn't turn out to be so great, well, he is just on a list of presidents that didn't turn out to be so great," Gov. David Paterson, D-N.Y., tells the New York Observer's Jason Horowitz. "If Senator Obama doesn't turn out to be so great, though unfair, it will probably manifest the destiny of others."