The Note, 2/20/09: Mayorpalooza — Obama Does Local Angle of Stimulus Package

By Caitlin Taylor

Feb 20, 2009 9:22am

By TEDDY DAVIS It’s Mayorpalooza at the White House. Hoping to drive local coverage of its economic recovery program, the President and Vice President will discuss the implementation of the stimulus bill with 85 mayors from across the country on Friday morning, reports ABC’s Jake Tapper. The mayors will take questions from reporters at the stakeout location at 11:45 am ET. The list of mayors includes possible 2010 California gubernatorial rivals Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles and Gavin Newsom of San Francisco. Also on hand will be Richard Daley of Chicago, Tom Menino of Boston, Shirley Clarke Franklin of Atlanta, Ray Naggin of New Orleans, Manny Diaz of Miami, and former NBA star Kevin Johnson, the newly elected mayor of Sacramento. In addition to meeting with Obama and Biden, the mayors are also expected to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan and various White House senior staffers, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Following their White House meetings, the mayors will gather at the Capitol Hilton to talk about weatherization and community-oriented policing with administration officials. The mayoral gathering comes after the White House has named Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., as director of a new White House Office of Urban Affairs. Carrion tells the Washington Post he is “excited” about his position because Obama is “taking urban America out of the desert it’s been in for eight years.” Guv Club: Guess Who’s (Not) Coming to Dinner?
Most of the nation’s governors are descending on Washington, D.C., this weekend for the NGA’s three-day conference. But Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will not be among her fellow chief executives. Tucked away at the bottom of a Thursday press release discussing a trip she is taking to Western Alaska with the state’s lieutenant governor, Palin’s office announced that her in-state travel “coupled with work on the economic stimulus certification requirements and budget amendments, will prevent her from attending” this weekend’s NGA meeting. Palin was supposed to join Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) in co-chairing a Sunday panel on natural resources but the bolo-tie wearing Schweitzer will now be riding solo. On Saturday, NGA holds a 10:00 am ET press conference with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R). At 3:00 pm ET, Schwarzenegger joins Rendell for a discussion and debate on the “priorities for a new president” sponsored by UVA’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. On Sunday, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will play host to the nation’s governors at a 7:30 pm ET White House dinner. The evening will feature performances by the Marine Corps band and “music legends” Earth Wind and Fire.  On Monday, all of the nation’s governors who are in town will attend a (closed press) meeting with Obama at the White House.  The governors will talk to the press from the stakeout location as they depart the White House. Later that evening, the Republican Governors Association is holding a gala fundraiser which will hear from Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in addition to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who chairs the RGA. Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for governor in the Old Dominion, and U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is running for governor of New Jersey, also will make remarks at the open-press event. Why is Christie the only New Jersey Republican candidate attending? RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf told ABC’s Tahman Bradley: "While we are respectful of the primary process, we want to seize on the momentum Republicans are gaining in New Jersey." The Washington Times reports that Oklahoma, Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire and Washington state are considering “sovereignty resolutions” in the hopes of “warding off demands from Washington on how to spend money or enact policy.” Obama’s Tuesday’s Speech to a Joint Session of Congress:
With Obama’s Tuesday address to a joint session of Congress fast approaching, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs previewed the speech on Thursday while talking to reporters on Air Force One, reports ABC’s Tapper.  Obama has met "a few times" with "the budget guys, the economic team, advisors, speechwriters" on the speech to Congress he will deliver on Tuesday. "And I assume they’ll continue to do that over the weekend," he said. "I think the budget rollout will be one aspect of it," Gibbs said. "But I think — I think the President will speak extensively, not just about the budget, which will be released later that week, but also he’ll talk about the recovery plan; he’ll talk about foreclosures; he’ll talk about financial stability, the need to begin; and one of the things that he talked about with the Prime Minister today, leading up to G20, the re-regulation of the financial industry to ensure we don’t encounter the same problems again. Also, there will be obviously some touching on foreign policy topics.  But I think the speech will be a much broader economically themed speech, not just the budget." Fiscal Responsibility Summit:
In advance of Monday’s fiscal responsibility summit, the non-partisan Peterson Foundation has bought television ad time on this weekend’s Sunday shows to issue a warning about the U.S. reliance on foreign lenders. The ad uses images of an iceberg to warn that below the current economic troubles facing the U.S., the country has “$56 trillion dollars in unfunded retirement and health care obligations”. The ad calls for an “action-oriented” bipartisan commission on entitlements to help the nation chart a more responsible fiscal course. The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery sees Monday’s summit as part of a weeklong effort on the part of Obama to prepare the nation for “some of the ugliest deficit numbers this nation has seen since the end of World War II.” Bill Clinton on GMA: Obama Should Sound More Hopeful
Obama should sound more hopeful on the economy, former President Bill Clinton told ABC’s Chris Cuomo in an interview which aired Friday morning on “Good Morning America.”  "I like trying to educate the American people about the dimensions and scope of this economic crisis," said Clinton. "I just would like him to end by saying that he is hopeful and completely convinced we’re gonna come through this." Clinton reiterated during the interview that he thinks his administration should have moved “a little more aggressively” on regulating derivatives. Clinton gave the interview to promote his foundation’s work on childhood obesity. Economy:
One day after the Dow hit a six-year low, the New York Times reports that the Obama administration hopes to jump-start the securitization markets which make it possible for banks to lend by “effectively subsidizing the profits of big private investment firms in the bond markets.” “The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve plan to spend as much as $1 trillion to provide low-cost loans and guarantees to hedge funds and private equity firms that buy securities backed by consumer and business loans.” Stimulus Fight Continues:
It’s hard to wrap your mind around something as large as $787 billion, the size of the stimulus package which Obama signed into law earlier this week. A television ad being launched on Friday by a conservative group is trying to do it by invoking the birth of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago, reports Politico’s Jonathan Martin. “Suppose you spent $1 million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born — and kept spending through today,” says the announcer as an image of the three wise men flashes on the screen. “A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.” The group, American Issues Project, is spending 1 million to air the 60 second ad on national cable. Watch the ad HERE. The NRCC is stepping up its attacks on the stimulus bill by launching robocalls on Friday targeting 10 House Democrats who voted for the package. The targeted Dems are: Reps. John Adler (N.J.), Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), Allen Boyd (Fla.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), John Boccieri (Ohio), Vic Snyder (Ark.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), and Frank Kratovil (Md.). Hamas Gives Letter to Kerry for Obama:
ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports that while Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was in Gaza on Thursday, UN Relief Agency official Karen Abu Zayd handed him several documents, including a letter from Hamas which was intended for Obama. The decision on whether to hand-off the letter to Obama will be made by the White House. If the letter is not accepted, it would be returned to the UN.

Clintons of Chappaqua:
Human rights violations by China cannot block the possibility of significant cooperation between Washington and Beijing on the global economic crisis, climate change and security threats like North Korea’s nuclear program, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday, per the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler. On Thursday, she warned that North Korea relations with the US will not improve until it engages in dialogue with South Korea and ends its nuclear ambitions.  She also announced that Stephen Bosworth will replace Chris Hill as the Special Envoy for North Korea. Next week the State Department will host leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Obama administration’s first attempt to bring the sides together under its stated regional approach to the instability along their common border, reports ABC’s Kirit Radia. The two countries’ foreign ministers will meet with Secretary Clinton and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, as well as the interagency team headed by Bruce Reidel. 2010: Senate: Roland Burris:
Illinois comptroller Dan Hynes pens a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune saying, “Sadly I believe it is in the best interests of Illinois that Roland Burris resign from his seat in the U.S. Senate.” “If Sen. Roland Burris misled an Illinois House impeachment panel with a false account of his appointment, he did the same thing with the Illinois Supreme Court last month,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times. “In a lawsuit to force Secretary of State Jesse White to certify his appointment to the Senate, Burris submitted the same Jan. 5 affidavit to the state high court that he had earlier sent to the House panel.” Chicago’s black ministers may rethink backing Burris, reports the AP.  The Illinois GOP is continuing to pressure Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to schedule a special election to replace Burris. Party Fundraising Numbers:
Friday is FEC reporting day. ABC’s David Chalian reports that the RNC ended January with $22.83m cash-on-hand and raised $5.77m last month. The RNC also transferred in $7.35m from our joint fundraising committees – but that is money the RNC raised last year.
The DNC has not yet released its numbers. FLOTUS:
First Lady Michelle Obama continues her visit of federal departments with a Friday 1:25 pm ET stop at the Department of Transportation. Secretary LaHood, a former Republican member of Congress, recently told the New York Times that he regretted not being able to help the Obama administration round up GOP votes in the House for its stimulus package. HHS:
With Kathleen Sebelius having been identified by the White House as a contender for HHS secretary, the “Wonk Room” at the liberal Center for American Progress looks at the Kansas governor’s record on health care. The Washington Post’s Al Kamen reports that Sebelius “seems somewhat hesitant about making the move to D.C.” Kamen adds that in addition to Sebelius, the Obama administration is also considering Nancy-Ann DeParle, the former administrator of the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, and Jack Lew, the deputy secretary of state for management, for HHS. Grant Park Update:
Chicago is yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama’s victory celebration in Grant Park — despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions, reports the Chicago Sun-Times in a clip which was quickly circulated by the RNC.

2010: Senate: New York:
NRSC chair John Cornyn met recently with former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) about running against Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, the senator appointed to replace Hillary Clinton.
Republicans would like Pataki to get into the race but are not currently betting on it. The other major Republican looking at the race is Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
HERE is more on Pataki from The Hill. 2012: Republicans: Sanford: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) is in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday to speak to the state’s GOP. Sanford, who is seen as a possible 2012 candidate for president, has been warning that the U.S. is in danger of trading in its "free-market economy" for a "savior-based economy" where businesses rise or fall depending on their influence in Washington, D.C.  2012: Republicans: Crist:
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is burnishing his foreign policy credential on Friday without leaving his home state. The ambitious Florida pol is heading to the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami for a meeting with His Majesty King Juan Carlos I as part of a series of events honoring the 450th anniversary of the Spanish arrival in northwest Florida. The forum will focus on Florida’s trade relationship with Spain. Later in the day, it’s back to routine state business for Crist: he’s holding a 1:30 pm ET presser in Tallahassee to announce his budget and legislative priorities. California:
At 2:30 pm ET in Sacramento, Calif., Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will sign a budget package which closes California’s $42 billion deficit. It’s only been a day since California state Sen. Abel Maldonado (R) voted for higher taxes in exchange for a package of reforms which includes a push for a “top-two” open primary, but anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is already gunning for him. "He caved. He didn’t win a compromise. He raised taxes instead of reining in taxes," Norquist tells the AP. The Courage Campaign, a liberal group based in California, is launching a campaign to change the state’s two-thirds vote requirement to pass a budget or raise taxes. The group is using a video of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow criticizing the state’s budget process to build support. To the consternation of environmental advocates, California’s newly passed budget will weaken air pollution regulations while saving the construction industry millions of dollars, reports the Los Angeles Times. Note that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, two well-funded GOP candidates for governor, criticized the tax increases contained in California’s new budget. Vicki Iseman:
Vicki Iseman, the lobbyist at the center of a controversial 2008 New York Times story looking at Sen. McCain’s actions on behalf of her clients (and his advisers’ reported concerns about the appearance of McCain’s relationship with Iseman), has dropped her lawsuit against the Times and the reporters who wrote the story.  This action comes two days shy of the one-year anniversary of the story running in the Times. In a letter to the Times’ Washington Bureau news staff, Bureau Chief Dean Baquet writes, "We paid no money.  We did not apologize.  We did not retract one word of the story. . . " The Times is running a note to its readers in Friday’s paper. HERE is the NYT’s write-up. Spitzer:
A judge has ruled that documents detailing cell phone calls between the prostitution ring used by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and its clients should be unsealed, though the names of 67 apparent customers of the Emperor’s Club will remain a secret, reports Maddy Sauer of ABC’s Investigative Unit. Sunday shows:
With the NGA conference taking place this weekend, it’s a big weekend for governors on the Sunday shows. Fresh from signing California’s budget, Schwarzenegger will appear Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will join Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Fox News Sunday” has booked Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). CBS’ "Face the Nation" will host New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (R) in addition to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. The Kicker:
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