SPEECHES

President Goes for the Throat on Stimulus

At first Obama took the bipartisan approach to passing his stimulus—cocktail hours with Congressional Republicans, dinner parties with John McCain—then he took a quiet turn while the same Republicans he had wooed went on cable to bash his plan continuously. Last night, Obama finally went to the mattresses for his bill, delivering an impassioned attack on its opponents reminiscent of his most intense campaign speeches. In a mostly improvised speech (he reportedly ignored his teleprompter) to a gathering of House Democrats, Obama said, "We are not going to get relief by turning back to the same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin." Obama chided critics who have attacked the legislation as a "spending bill" rather than "stimulus" as ignorant, pointing out that, as a matter of basic economics, that's exactly what it's supposed to be. "What do you think a stimulus is?" Obama said. "It's spending—that's the whole point! Seriously." The Senate could pass a version of the stimulus plan as early as today if negotiations with moderate legislators to trim its size are successful.