Faced with expected Republican obstructionism, Barack Obama is going to use his greatest asset right now, a honeymoon period with soaring approval ratings, as he campaigns for the stimulus.
President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to lead a full-scale marketing blitz to pass the massive new stimulus package that he says is needed to revive the slumping economy and put the nation on the course he laid out during his campaign.
Obama will move to Washington this weekend, checking into a hotel with his family. In the remaining weeks of the transition, and after he is sworn in, he will use the bully pulpit to make the case for passage of a stimulus package of up to $775 billion, an aide said.
Obama, now in Hawaii on vacation, may travel outside Washington after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, while others in the new administration scatter across the country to explain in minute detail the scope and purpose of the stimulus plan, said David Axelrod, a senior advisor to the president-elect.
"We'll fan out, and this will be a public process," Axelrod said in an interview. "We'll make clear to people why we need to do what we're doing, why it's the size it is, what the individual component parts are, and why they are an important part of the equation in terms of short-term recovery."
Obama, he said, "wants the American people involved in this discussion."
Obama's approval ratings, as I said, are very high, and the more districts he visits and the more Senators he targets, the better a chance the stimulus package has of succeeding. Hopefully he will use this time not only to demand that the bill is passed, but to make the argument - to use his rhetorical skills to advocate for fiscal stimulus and discredit the wrongheaded conservative ideas of the past. 81% of the public believes he can "get things done" as President - the stimulus package is a crucial step to see how much his political capital is worth.