Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The most pertinent date this week for the White House is tomorrow, Feb. 17 -- first anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which spread $862 billion in federal largesse around the nation. The administration is fanning out coast to coast all week to promote the spending, and the jobs that come with it.

Vice President Biden, fresh from the Olympics in Vancouver, will kick off the week's celebration today with a visit to economically depressed Saginaw, Michigan. Before the week is out, Cabinet members will be in Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Virginia. Obama wraps up the week with events in Colorado and Nevada.

Today, the president will tout the joys of job training at an electrical workers union headquarters in Lanham, Maryland. There he is expected to announce that the government will guarantee more than $8 billion in loans to build the first U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades in Burke, Georgia, according to The Associated Press.

The rest of Obama's day is under wraps -- private meetings at the White House with his HUD, EPA and Defense chiefs. It's becoming more typical for the president to remain in private these days, says The Oval's chum and CBS Radio correspondent Mark Knoller: four days last week he was neither seen nor heard, a record for his presidency.

Whether in public or private, the president should be pleased today: a top Taliban commander has been captured by U.S. and Afghan forces.

On the other hand, Obama's policy of engagement with Iranappears to be disappearing, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that nation is taking on the feel of a military dictatorship.

That's not the feeling here in Washington, where the federal government, fresh from a snow week and Presidents' Day, will brave the Capital's still snow-infested roads and head back to work -- late.

And so we leave you, at least until later this morning, with White House counselor Valerie Jarrett's last Olympics post on the White House blog -- a paean to patriotism. Be safe out there on Fat Tuesday!

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