The Washington Post reports on the Obama Administration's attempts to use some of their political tools to help push key agenda items, including health care. "Former senator Thomas A. Daschle, Obama's point person on health care, launched an effort to create political momentum yesterday in a conference call with 1,000 invited supporters culled from 10,000 who had expressed interest in health issues, promising it would be the first of many opportunities for Americans to weigh in. The health-care mobilization taking shape before Obama even takes office will include online videos, blogs and e-mail alerts as well as traditional public forums. Already, several thousand people have posted comments on health on the Obama transition Web site."
"'We'll have some exciting news about town halls, we'll have some outreach efforts in December,' Daschle said during the call. And tomorrow, when he appears at a health-care summit with Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) in Denver, Daschle said, 'we'll be making some announcements there.'"
For what it's worth, Microsoft's Bill Gates is calling on Obama to do more deficit spending.
The New York Times has some details on the green component of the Obama stimulus plan. "The details and cost of the so-called green-jobs program are still unclear, but a senior Obama aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a work in progress, said it would probably include the weatherizing of hundreds of thousands of homes, the installation of 'smart meters' to monitor and reduce home energy use, and billions of dollars in grants to state and local governments for mass transit and infrastructure projects. The green component of the much larger stimulus plan would cost at least $15 billion a year, and perhaps considerably more, depending on how the projects were defined, aides working on the package said."
Bloomberg News reports on something that could be one of Obama's first sticky issues: Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner "is seeking to push Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair out of office. Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has argued Bair isn't a team player and is too focused on protecting her agency rather than the financial system as a whole, according to two congressional officials and a person familiar with his thinking. Bair has battled with Geithner and fellow regulators over aid to Citigroup Inc. and other emergency actions, making her enemies in the Bush administration."
The Wall Street Journal reports on how Obama's team has resisted overtures from the Bush Treasury Department to get involved in some TARP decisions. "Since his election exactly one month ago, Mr. Obama has maintained a campaign-like approach to the economy, speaking in broad terms about the need for intervention, while refusing to engage in specifics. Introducing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his nominee for Commerce secretary on Wednesday, Mr. Obama declared: 'With each passing day, the work our team has begun, developing plans to revive our economy, becomes more urgent.'"
"Some Bush officials feel those plans may not be able to wait until the Jan. 20 transfer of power. As early as next week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will decide whether to seek the second tranche of $350 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help rescue the nation's financial sector. To access that money, Mr. Paulson must present to Congress not only his plan for the money, but also detailed plans from the next administration, which would spend the bulk of it."