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KORVA COLEMAN, host:

I'm Korva Coleman, and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, a new poll of African-Americans in Southern states covers everything from race relations to expectations of President Barack Obama. Coming up, we'll take a closer look. We turn first to our weekly political chat with NPR Political Junkie, Ken Rudin. Hi, Ken.

KEN RUDIN: Hi, Korva.

COLEMAN: Well, Mr. Obama released his proposed spending plan yesterday, and it's worth more than three and half trillion dollars, and so, you add this to an expensive plan to stop foreclosures and the last year's bank bailout, and it's really, really expensive. Has anything like this ever happened this fast in a new presidency?

RUDIN: Well, you could say that going back to the New Deal, or the Great Depression, I should say, nothing has been this dramatically bad with the economy. I mean, given what other presidents have faced, even when Ronald Reagan was elected on the economy, when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 on the economy, this is major. And if you believe the rhetoric that we heard during the campaign, that this is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, then what you need is radical departure from the past, and President Obama's proposed budget is a radical departure.

COLEMAN: So, can Congress keep up with him?

RUDIN: Well, there are a lot of special interests that may upset a lot of people in Congress, and even though Democrats are - see, what's interesting is when President Bush was reelected 2004, he says, I have political capital and I intend to use it. Now, Barack Obama has far more political capital; if you look at the polls, if you look at where the Republicans are in the polls, President Obama is in a very, very good position. But as you say in your opening question, there's - so much of this is at once. And when you add the record tax increases, the record deficit, the worst deficit since World War II, and the cut backs from charitable giving, from what farmers are getting, when other interest groups are getting, you will see opposition rise in Congress. The question is whether President Obama's popularity and his ability to reach out to the American people will win out.

COLEMAN: Well, Ken, hang on for a minute. We're going to talk more politics in a minute.

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