Obama Takes Stimulus Campaign to Indiana President Obama holds his first prime-time news conference at the White House Monday. He will spend the day in Elkhart, Ind., pressing for his economic stimulus package, which the Senate debates on Monday.
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Obama Takes Stimulus Campaign to Indiana

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Obama Takes Stimulus Campaign to Indiana

Obama Takes Stimulus Campaign to Indiana

Obama Takes Stimulus Campaign to Indiana

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President Obama holds his first prime-time news conference at the White House Monday. He will spend the day in Elkhart, Ind., pressing for his economic stimulus package, which the Senate debates on Monday.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

The president's direct appeal comes ahead of what's likely to be a difficult week in Congress. Joining us now to set the stage is NPR News analyst Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, just for the news, the Senate is expected to vote on the stimulus bill tomorrow and it appears to have enough votes to pass.

ROBERTS: And the president's also getting a little tough on the Republicans, saying these are the failed programs of the past that got us to this point in the first place. So I think that it will pass. It's an enormous piece of legislation. It's been a tougher slog than the president expected. It might not pass exactly by the Presidents Day recess, and it probably will not have the Republican support that President Obama wanted, but I think he will get this enormous piece of legislation through.

MONTAGNE: Well, the president has quite publicly reached out to Republicans, but most of them are basically saying: like him, don't like the stimulus package.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: You know, these are serious times, but is there some gamesmanship here?

ROBERTS: So Republicans really don't see the need to sign on. They say that they're going to stick with their small government principles, and they also think the Democrats have left them out, regardless of the outreach from the president.

MONTAGNE: Well, where to put the blame for this lack of bipartisanship?

ROBERTS: So you know, he's had his problems there.

MONTAGNE: So that bit of damage that's been done in his first, well, gee, couple of weeks of the presidency, any chance that'll be permanent?

ROBERTS: I don't think so. Look, he didn't need these problems of his appointees not paying taxes, and people are angry over the sense of entitlement that, you know, we pay taxes, why aren't these people paying taxes? But you know, I look at the late night comedians here and they're joking about Pelosi and Daschle, but they still haven't gone after Obama. So I think he's probably still all right.

MONTAGNE: Cokie, thanks. NPR's Cokie Roberts.

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