By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
President Barack Obama went to Capitol Hill today to push Republicans to back his $825 billion stimulus plan. While they probably won't, he won points for reaching out to the minority, making good on campaign promises. What's more, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel plans to fete more Republicans tonight. At the meeting today, Obama's comments were to be off the record, but we've got some notes on how it went down. Here's what we were told and E-mailed from various sources:
- "Obama is speaking now. He is talking about how bad the economy is and that it is deteriorating rapidly."
- "Mentioned Caterpillar and Microsoft having to layoff workers."
- "The president said that the stimulus is 'just one leg in multi leg stool to get economy going.'
- "He wants to deal with the housing market more aggressively."
- "This is just the first step."
- "Obama said the he would 'like not to have to spend the stimulus money.'"
- "He also said that he has 'no interest in increasing government just to increase the size of government.'"
- On taxes, "Obama says tax relief for some working families must come from payroll so even families who don't pay income taxes get relief and they will spend it."
- On GOP complaints, "he said that 'there will be time to beat him up and a time for politics. He said I understand that and I will watch you on Fox News and feel bad about myself.'"
- "Obama said if we can do more small business tax relief, 'we should do it, but I am just as concerned about the long term impact of tax cuts as I am about spending.'"
- "He also issued concern about the debt. 'I will be judged by the legacy I have left behind. I don't want to leave our children with a legacy of debt. I am inheriting an annual yearly debt of over $1 trillion.'"
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