Jan. 28, 2009
"The most important number here for this recovery plan is how many jobs it produces, not how many votes it gets."
Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, responding to the House's passage of the stimulus bill without a single GOP vote
No matter how the White House tries to frame it, the House vote on the stimulus package is a clear blow to the Obama Administration's quest for bipartisanship. While the legislation passes the House 244 to 188, a step in the right direction for getting the package to the President's desk, not one Republican votes in favor of the bill. In a statement shortly after the vote, Obama praises the action in the House but signals that he expects changes to be made in the legislation to garner more Republican support in the Senate. Determined to appear bipartisan, the President hosts congressional leaders from both parties at the White House for drinks and snacks following the vote.
Despite the fact that the stimulus vote dominates the day, the President plows on with other aspects of his broad agenda, spending almost two hours in "the tank" over at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Obama later tells reporters that the U.S. needs to ease the strain on its military and provide better strategic support.
On a lighter note, the Obama kids get their first snow day since moving into the White House. Obama jokes with reporters that a few inches of snowfall and some ice wouldn't have stopped them from going to school in Chicago, and that he'll have to instill "some flinty Chicago toughness" in Washingtonians.