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Obama agenda: Battling over unemployment benefits

“President Barack Obama can finally chalk up a win when he signs financial reform legislation into law this week. The trick now is to spin that victory into electoral gains this November, and both the White House and Democratic leaders are coordinating on a strategy they hope will make that happen,” Roll Call writes.

In fact, The Hill reports, “President Obama will take to the White House Rose Garden on Monday morning to excoriate Republicans for blocking unemployment insurance, a White House official said.”

An administration official emails: “The President will call on Congress to extend unemployment insurance in a Rose Garden statement Monday morning. Republicans have blocked the extension of emergency relief for the unemployed three times in the last few weeks, denying millions of people who are out work and trying to find a job the needed relief. The president will tell the stories of Americans in need of the extension and he will have strong words for Republicans who have previously supported unemployment extensions under Republican presidents but refuse to offer relief to middle class families today. And he will point out that they are calling for hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while telling working families that we can’t afford to help them when they need it most.”

“The Tea Party movement is not racist, Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday, though he believes that some Tea Partiers have expressed racist views,” AP writes. Biden on ABC: “Very conservative, very different views on government and a whole lot of things. But it is not a racist organization.”

(Also: “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People approved a resolution last week calling on Tea Party activists and others to ‘repudiate the racist element and activities’ within the political movement. In defending the National Tea Party Federation, spokesman David Webb said yesterday [on CBS] the coalition of local and regional Tea Party groups has expelled the Tea Party Express from its ranks for refusing to remove its spokesman, conservative talk radio host Mark Williams, after he posted a blog that satirized the NAACP and referred to its president, Benjamin Jealous, as ‘Tom’s nephew and NAACP head colored person.’ The blog post was ‘clearly offensive,’ Webb said.”)

Biden also said: "I don't think the [Democratic] losses are going to be bad at all. I think we're going to shock the heck out of everybody.”

“After promising for a year and a half to take the witness stand, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is likely to testify at his federal corruption trial this week,” AP writes and points out: “Unlike in his TV interviews, Blagojevich is going to be under oath.”