The New York Times says Obama "branded Wall Street bankers 'shameful' on Thursday for giving themselves nearly $20 billion in bonuses as the economy was deteriorating and the government was spending billions to bail out some of the nation's most prominent financial institutions… It was a pointed -- if calculated -- flash of anger from the president, who frequently railed against excesses in executive compensation on the campaign trail. He struck his populist tone as he confronted the possibility of having to ask Congress for additional large sums of money, beyond the $700 billion already authorized, to prop up the financial system, even as he pushes Congress to move quickly on a separate economic stimulus package that could cost taxpayers as much as $900 billion."
The New York Daily News adds, "Obama was particularly peeved at the news coming as he's working to push his massive economic rescue plan."
But the Washington Post writes that Obama passed up an opportunity to scold Wall Street bonuses and executive pay when he met with CEOs earlier this week. "The president stood with 13 CEOs in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday to push for congressional passage of his $816 billion stimulus package. He talked broadly about personal responsibility but did not specifically refer to excessive pay, even though several of the executives have made many millions of dollars a year."
New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R) for Commerce secretary? That could set off a string of events that would lead to Democrats with 60 in the Senate. If Gregg vacates his seat, the state's governor would appoint a senator. New Hampshire's governor is a Democrat. That would give Democrats 59, and if Al Franken holds in Minnesota, that would give them 60.
Joe Biden gets his first task: running a middle class task force. In a USA Today op-ed, Biden writes, "For years, we had a White House that failed to put the middle class front and center in its economic policies. President Obama has made it clear that is going to change. And it's why he has asked me to lead a task force on the middle class."
Per NBC's Ken Strickland, Eric Holder's final confirmation vote will take place on Monday. There will be three hours of debate starting at 3:15 pm ET. Then final vote will occur around 6:15 pm ET.
The Lilly Ledbetter Act signing yesterday was also Michelle Obama's first public speaking appearance as first lady.