Obama hits towns for stimulus support
The shuttered Elco Theater welcomes President Obama to Elkhart, Ind. on February 8, 2009. The Elkhart-Goshen area of Indiana had the highest jobless rate increase in the U.S. over the past 12 months.
TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: For President Obama today, it is politics taken straight to the people to a town hit hard by the economic fallout. And the debate centers square on a behemoth economic stimulus package that's before the Senate. A vote is expected soon.
Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson joins us now to talk about the trip. Jeremy, where's everyone headed today?
Jeremy Hobson: Well Steve, they're going to Elkhart, Indiana, the "Washington of the West," at least for today. The president is going there to sell his stimulus plan directly to the American people. A little bit about Elkhart: It has a much higher unemployment rate than the rest of the U.S., the mayor there saying it could be as high as 20 percent. The president's going to arrive there for a town hall meeting at noon, the tickets I'm told sold out in about an hour on Saturday. Tomorrow, the president is going to Fort Myers, Florida, which is one of the home foreclosure capitals of the country. And of course all of this is to build support and show those politicians in Washington what he's able to do with his bully pulpit in terms of getting this stimulus passed.
Chiotakis: Hmmm, so we have stimulus package before the Senate, of course. Where does it stand right now there?
Hobson: Well, there's going to be a key vote on the Senate version tonight. Now that Senate version is pretty close at this point to the House version, about $827 billion. And it looks like with three Republicans signing on that it will be able to pass the Senate, the key vote this afternoon and then the final vote on the Senate package tomorrow.
Chiotakis: Now Jeremy, if I'm not mistaken we were supposed to hear about the bank bailout, the second half of those TARP funds from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. What happened with all of that?
Hobson: Well, it's difficult ot focus on more than one multihundred-billion-dollar plan at one time, and so that has been delayed so that the focus can remain on the stimulus package. That announcement by Mr. Geithner has been put off until tomorrow. The word is that there will be more capital injections into banks and no final word on the idea of that bad bank that would take on the troubled assets, but we'll find out tomorrow at 11 0'clock.
Chiotakis: Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson, joining us from New York. Jeremy, thanks.
Hobson: Thank you, Steve.