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First 100 days: Heading to the Hill

The Hill previews Obama's trip to Capitol Hill today. "President Obama will meet with skeptical House and Senate Republicans on Tuesday as he seeks to prevent partisanship from boiling over on the economic stimulus bill while GOP lawmakers lobby for major changes to the measure that is moving quickly through Congress."

This doesn't bode well for a bipartisan stimulus plan: "But Republicans said Obama will have to do more than flatter them by agreeing to appear at their luncheons today, even as they give him credit for trying to change the overtly partisan tone that has gripped Washington for two decades," Roll Call reports. 'Unless he's prepared to walk over to [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid's [D-Nev.] and [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi's [D-Calif.] offices and tell them to reset their priorities on this stimulus bill, I think the reality of bipartisanship on this bill is going to be hard to achieve,' one Senate GOP leadership aide said."

What does Obama want out of this meeting with the GOP? "The goal is to seek their input. He wants to hear their ideas," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, per the AP. "If there are good ideas -- and I think he assumes there will be -- we will look at those ideas… I think the president is genuinely serious about this."

In one sign of bipartisanship, according to the New York Post, say goodbye to that "contraceptives" line that Minority Leader John Boehner's been peddling. "House Democrats seem likely to drop family-planning funds for Medicaid recipients from the $825 billion economic stimulus bill after an appeal from President Obama, who is trying to woo Republican critics of the legislation."

Live by the CBO, die by it? After the GOP used a CBO analysis to rake Obama's stimulus package over the coals, the Democrats now have the same CBO to use via a new study showing 65% of the $825 billion stimulus will end up in the economy by 2010.

Going into his meeting with Cong. GOPers today, there's nothing like the Democratic president having a Weekly Standard column to point to as proof his stimulus plan isn't old-school Democratic orthodoxy.  "Obama might have it wrong, just as many of his critics say Franklin Roosevelt had it wrong. But nitpicking around the edges of this recovery program won't be enough either to derail or to lay the basis for a "we told you so" campaign in 2010 or 2012. That will take a coherent counter-proposal."

Speaking of FDR, the New York Times writes that FDR's response to the Great Depression in the '30s and '40s offers a cautionary tale for Obama. "Roosevelt had his triumphs. He stemmed panic and stabilized the banking system with a combination of deposit insurance, government investment in banks, restrictions on banking practices and his 'fireside chat' radio addresses, which repeatedly steadied the national mood and bought Roosevelt time to make changes."

"Still, even after the government assistance, the surviving banks were shaken and lending remained anemic -- much as the nation's banks today are reluctant to make loans again, despite receiving more than $300 billion of taxpayers' money in Round 1 of the federal banking bailout. So, throughout the 1930s, economic recovery remained frustratingly elusive and arrived only with the buildup for World War II in the 1940s."

Per the Wall Street Journal, yesterday's White House announcement on fuel standards kicked off "the first round of what promises to be a lengthy fight between major industries and his administration over how to combat global warming. His announcement drew cheers from California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many environmental groups whose members strongly backed Mr. Obama's election. But it also drew condemnation from congressional Republicans, who said it would allow the Golden State effectively to set fuel-efficiency standards for much of the country. And some Rust Belt Democrats also expressed disappointment, saying California's law would fall hardest on domestic auto makers, who sales mix is skewed toward pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles and minivans, which consume a lot of gasoline." 

The Washington Post says yesterday's White House action capped "a week of widespread changes aimed at reversing the legacy of George W. Bush. In his first seven days in office, Obama has banned the use of controversial CIA interrogation tactics, ordered the closure of the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and begun planning for the drawdown of troops in Iraq. He also imposed stringent limits on lobbyists, unveiled an $825 billion stimulus plan, and ordered a halt to any last-minute rules and regulations put in place by his predecessor."