President Obama plans to fly today to Elkhart, Ind., to promote his economic stimulus bill. The unemployment rate in the Elkhart-Goshen area had the highest jobless rate increase in the United States over the past 12 months, up over 10 percent to 15.3 percent — about twice the national average. Obama also plans a prime-time news conference to urge congressional leaders to quickly reconcile the House and Senate versions of the economic stimulus bill. On Tuesday, Obama plans to travel to Florida to pitch his economic stimulus plan in Fort Myers.
At news museum, no reporters allowed
A quick White House pool report to update the world on Washington's irony factor: On Wednesday, President Obama's motorcade headed for the Newseum, a brand-new Washington edifice paying tribute to this democracy's news industry, once deemed so important it got its own constitutional protection. It seems Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Senate Democratic colleagues were meeting there. And, according to Ken Herman, the pool reporter from Cox Newspapers, the accompanying media were barred.
Sebelius a top choice for HHS, official says
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is near the top of President Obama's list of candidates to head the Health and Human Services Department, at least partially on the strength of her long and close working relationship with the president, a senior administration official said.
Sebelius, 60, signed on early with the Obama campaign, backing his candidacy over that of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination and now secretary of state. Sebelius worked tirelessly for Obama's bid and was a top surrogate to women's groups, especially after Republicans picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as their vice presidential nominee.
Other candidates remain in the mix and no decision is imminent, a senior administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Sebelius would be Obama's second choice. Former Sen. Tom Daschle had to withdraw his name amid an admission that he had not paid all his taxes since leaving Congress.