TPMDC Morning Roundup

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Obama’s Day Ahead: The First Speech To Congress
President Obama is meeting at 10:30 a.m. ET with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, the first foreign leader to come to the United States to meet with Obama. At 4:30 p.m., Obama and Vice President Biden are meeting with Robert Gates. And then at 9 p.m. Obama will address a joint session of Congress to lay out his budget — effectively his first State of the Union Address.

Biden Meeting With Hillary This Morning
Vice President Biden is meeting with Hillary Clinton for breakfast at the Naval Observatory, probably to discuss Hillary’s recent overseas trip to Asia. He will then head to the White House to attend Obama’s morning meetings with advisors, and will be at the Capitol tonight for Obama’s speech.

Polls Show Continued High Approval Before Speech
The new CBS/New York Times poll gives President Obama a 63% approval rating and 22% disapproval, going into his first speech to Congress, and the new ABC/Washington Post poll put his approval at 68%-25%.

Poll: Public Expects Good Speech
A new CNN poll says that 28% of Americans expect Obama’s speech tonight to be excellent, 44% expect it to be good, 19% say it will be okay and only 8% believe it will be poor or terrible. These high expectation are down slightly from where they were for his inauguration speech — and like his approval ratings themselves, the decline seems to be fueled by Republicans dropping off as the honeymoon effect wears off.

Jindal Giving GOP Response
Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who has rejected a small portion of the stimulus money that was headed for his state, has been tapped to give the Republican response to Obama’s address. As the Washington Post points out: “In picking a governor to deliver tonight’s speech, GOP leaders are acknowledging that without a majority in Congress, the big ideas necessary to rebuild their party are likely to come from state capitols.”

Ted Kennedy To Be Absent From Obama’s Speech
Ted Kennedy will not be attending Obama’s speech to Congress tonight. A spokesperson told The Hill that Kennedy is staying involved in with health care policy, and is in “constant” contact with the White House and Congressional leaders and holding regular meeting on health reform.

NRCC To Members: We’ll Help Those Who Help Themselves
Roll Call reports that the NRCC is seriously retooling its program for endangered incumbents, with the message that members will have to actively raise money for themselves if they expect the national party to also help out. An NRCC source told the paper: “If we are serious about winning elections, then there needs to be a commitment to increasing the level of accountability and putting an end to political bailouts.”

Utah GOP Governor: Republican Leadership In D.C. “Inconsequential”
In an interview with the Washington Times, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) ridiculed the Republican leadership in Washington: “I have not met them. I don’t listen or read whatever it is they say because it is inconsequential – completely.”

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