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Morning Bulletin – Thursday, March 12, 2009

A roundup of news, schedules, and key stories from CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris:

4855950President Obama and Vice President Biden will take part in the White House's "Recovery Act Implementation Conference" where they'll hear how states plan to use their share of the $787 billion economic stimulus package. State officials will meet with the president and vice president as well as with cabinet secretaries this morning.

As they discuss the stimulus package, there are rumblings on Capitol Hill of a second stimulus package coming up soon after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week that she's open to the idea. While many members are running away from the idea – Democrats and Republicans alike – one House GOP leader might be on board, reports Politico's Alexander Burns.

"House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) didn't rule out the the idea of a second stimulus package and said Wednesday he would be willing to sit down with the White House and congressional Democrats to discuss any new emergency spending proposals," reports Burns.

(AP)
"Citing the current economic crisis, Cantor acknowledged: 'You have to.' The Richmond congressman said, though, that he would only support a bill that differed from the first stimulus and included additional tax cuts for small businesses. 'It depends what it would include. It really does,' Cantor said. 'Number one request is: help small business people. Give them some tax relief.' Pushing the GOP's message of the day, Cantor also argued that any discussion of a second stimulus represented an implicit concession that the first stimulus hadn't worked."

"But reaction on Capitol Hill has been almost uniformly negative — and much of the blowback is coming from Democrats," adds the Politico's Lisa Lerer and Manu Raju.

"'If there's appetite, there's not in my office,' said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). 'Enough for now. No mas. No mas.' 'It is too soon,' said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.). 'No sensible person is trying to guess what will be appropriate policy six months from now.' 'It sounds to me that would be a monumental lift,' said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). 'Somebody's going to have to convince me how they're going to pay for it.'"

(AP)
MICHAEL STEELE: GQ interviewed RNC Chairman Michael Steele who ruffled some feathers within his party with his comments on abortion and homosexuality. On a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion: "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice."

On whether homosexuality is a choice: "Oh, no. I don't think I've ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there's a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can't simply say, oh, like, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being gay.' It's like saying, 'Tomorrow morning I'm gonna stop being black.'"

Politico's Ben Smith reports that Steele backed off the "choice" remarks this morning: "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be. I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a "choice" before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life."

ALSO TODAY: President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in the Oval Office at 2:30pm ET. Later, Mr. Obama speaks at the Business Roundtable.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner heads back to Capitol Hill to sell the president's FY 2010 budget blueprint. A Treasury official says we can "expect to hear from Secretary Geithner on the Administration's proposals to get the economy working on all cylinders, put us back on a path toward fiscal discipline and break the back of this recession."

Later today, Geithner attends a meeting of the Business Roundtable "where he will walk through the details of the Administration's comprehensive plan to stabilize the financial system and get lending flowing again – by ensuring banks have the confidence to lend, jumpstarting securitization markets, stemming the foreclosure crisis and providing financing to help the private sector purchase the distressed assets weighing down balance sheets," according to a Treasury official.

First Lady Michelle Obama visits Fort Bragg, N.C. today where she'll meet with military spouses. Later today, in Fayetteville, N.C., she'll speak to community groups that provide support for members of the military and their families.

BUDGET / EARMARKS

Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman and Greg Hitt, "Obama Outlines Plan to Curb Earmarks"

Politico's David Rogers, "Obama tiptoes into battle on earmarks"

Washington Post's Paul Kane and Scott Wilson, "Obama Signs Spending Bill, Vowing to Battle Earmarks"

Washington Post's Lori Montgomery, "Workers' Health Benefits Eyed for Taxation"

STIMULUS / FINANCIAL BAILOUT

Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta, "Geithner Calls for Global Stimulus Efforts, Bigger IMF War Chest"

LA Times' Sebastian Rotella, "Obama and Europe are having their first spat, over money"

Associated Press' Jim Kuhnhenn, "Treasury official: US shouldn't micromanage banks"

Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray, "GOP Governors Face Fights on Stimulus"

NY Times' Jennifer Steinhauer, "Cities' Plans to Swap Cash for Stimulus Are Stopped"

FOREIGN POLICY / TRADE

Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, "Clinton Reiterates U.S. Commitment to 'Robust' Rights Agenda"

McClatchy Newspapers' Maria Recio, "Obama: Troop movement to Mexican border under consideration"

Politico's Jen DeMascio, "Mexico emerges as concern for U.S."

UNIONS

Politico's Patrick O'Connor and Manu Raju, "Centrist Dems dodge labor bill"

The Hill's Reid Wilson, "Freshman Democrats walk EFCA tightrope"

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Washington Post's Carrie Johnson and Amy Goldstein, "Choice of Drug Czar Indicates Focus on Treatment, Not Jail"

NY Times' Gardiner Harris, "Ex-New York Health Commissioner Is F.D.A. Pick"

NY Times' William Glaberson and Mark Landler, "Top Diplomat to Be Named Special Envoy on Guantanamo"

Washington Post's Walter Pincus, "Intelligence Pick Blames 'Israel Lobby' for Withdrawal"

Associated Press' Brendan Farrington, "Obama's FEMA pick offers calm after the storm"

REPUBLICAN PARTY

4843002Wall Street Journal's Karl Rove, "The White House Misfired on Limbaugh": "For one thing, it gave the lie to Barack Obama's talk about ending "the political strategy that's been all about division" and "the score-keeping and the name-calling." The West Wing looked populated by petulant teenagers intent on taking down a popular rival. Such talk also shortens the president's honeymoon by making him look like a street-fighting Chicago pol instead of an inspirational, unifying figure. The upward spike in ratings for Rush and other conservative radio commentators shows how the White House's attempt at a smackdown instead energized the opposition."

MINNESOTA SENATE RECOUNT

LA Times' P.J. Huffstutter, "Coleman vs. Franken Senate contest drags on in Minnesota"

Minneapolis Star Tribune's Pat Doyle and Kevin Duchschere, "Coleman's case shrinks to 1,360 ballots"

FUTURE RACES

2009 NY Mayor: NY Times' Michael Barbaro, "Weiner Steps Back, for Now, From Mayoral Race"

2009 NJ Governor: Associated Press, "Poll: Corzine losing ground to Christie in governor's race"

2009 VA Governor: Richmond Times-Dispatch's Tyler Whitley, "McAuliffe reveals business plan for Va."

2010 IA Governor: Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont, "Failor ponders bid for governor in '10"

2010 LA Senate: New Orleans Times-Picayune, "Sen. David Vitter says airport gate incident overstated"

2010 NY Senate: Politico's Patrick O'Connor and Manu Raju, "Questions about Gillibrand linger"

2010 PA Senate: Philadelphia Bulletin's Chris Friend, "Luksik To Challenge Specter In Primary"

2012 President: Anchorage Daily News' Sean Cockerham, "Palin plans outside political trips"

ALSO:

Wall Street Journal's Ian Talley and Stephen Power, "Democrats Tangle on Climate Change"

Washington Post's Ben Pershing, "Illinois Scandal Spawns a Debate – Amendment Would End Appointments"

Associated Press' Rachel D'Oro, "Alaska Gov. Palin's daughter, fiancé break up"

Sports Illustrated's Bill Donahue, "The 'First Dude' in his element – Todd Palin's quest through Alaska's Tesoro Iron Dog race"

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