TPMDC Morning Roundup

Obama Making First Presidential Visit To New Orleans
President Obama is making his first trip as President to New Orleans today, to review the continued reconstruction process from Hurricane Katrina. While this is the first trip by Obama himself, there have also been 17 other trips by administration officials to the city, and a total of 35 trips to the Gulf Coast region overall since March.

Obama’s Day Ahead
President Obama will depart from the White House at 9:25 a.m. ET, arriving in New Orleans, at 12:25 a.m. ET. He will visit with students at the Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School at 1 p.m. ET, and he will hold a 2:15 p.m. ET town hall at the University of New Orleans. He will depart from New Orleans at 4:10 p.m. ET, arriving in San Francisco at 8:20 p.m. ET, speaking at a 10:20 p.m. ET DNC fundraising dinner and a 10:35 p.m. ET reception.Biden’s Day Ahead
Vice President Biden will travel this morning to St. Louis, to promote the stimulus program. He will be joined by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D). In the afternoon, he will attend an event for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who is also the Democratic candidate for Missouri’s open GOP-held Senate seat in 2010. He will then travel to Minneapolis, attending a reception for the Democratic National Committee. He will spend the night in Reno, Nevada.

Obama: Ted Kennedy ‘Sorely Missed’ In Health Care Debate
President Obama spoke last night at a reception honoring the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), calling him “indisputably one of the finest senators of this or any age.” “He has been so sorely missed in this debate, especially now that we’re closer than we’ve ever been to passing health care reform,” said Obama.

WaPo: Medicare Advantage Benefits ‘Not Exactly Free’
The Washington Post reports that Medicare Advantage — the program that Republicans are defending against proposed Obama administration cuts, arguing that it provides seniors with valued benefits through private insurers — isn’t so simple as its defenders make it out to be: “The trouble is, the extra benefits are not exactly free; they are subsidized by the government. And some of the plans pass their costs on to seniors, who pay higher co-pays and additional fees to get care.”

No COLA Increase In Social Security This Year
The Social Security Administration is set to officially declare that there will be no cost-of-living-adjustment increase in payments, for the first time since the formulas were adopted in 1975, due to a lack of inflation. President Obama has called upon Congress to approve a new round of $250 payments to seniors: “This additional assistance will be especially important in the coming months, as countless seniors and others have seen their retirement accounts and home values decline as a result of this economic crisis.”

Durbin On Fox News: ‘Delegitimize Them As Political Propaganda’
The Hill reports that Congressional Democrats are defending the Obama Administration’s near-total snubbing of Fox News. “The point is this, and it really needs to be made: Fox is not just another television network,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Fox has become the official/semi-official voice for the Republican Party, in opposition to the president. And I think calling them out is the only way to delegitimize them as political propaganda.”