I think the power of President Obama’s presentation tonight speaks for itself if you saw it. (Below I’ve included his answer to the first question on the economy, which was the essence of the press conference.) There’s an important debate about the proper outlines of stimulus bill. But there’s little serious debate over whether a large bill, predominantly focused on spending, is necessary. And yet that’s what the Washington discussion has been about.
Yet the real key to understanding that press conference is in information that came out earlier today: two polls showing the public is overwhelming on Obama’s side in this battle (see Gallup and CNN). According to Gallup, 67% of the public supports Obama on the Stimulus Bill versus 31% for congressional Republicans. 58% of Americans disapprove of the Hill GOP’s stand on this issue.
What’s most striking about these numbers is the continuing disconnect between the mood of the capital and that of the country. For me, a lot of that is a product of how Washington continues to be wired for Republican control. A president, and particularly one like Obama, is the one person who is in a position to cut through that.