White House lauds Rybak's message

  • February 24, 2009 - 10:40 PM


The Obama administration continues to aggressively promote the economic benefits of the $787 billion stimulus bill -- and is using Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as Exhibit A.

On Monday night, the White House's official blog credited the windfall that the city will get as a key for keeping police on the streets, quoting from the budget message Rybak delivered earlier in the day.

According to the blog, Rybak was prepared to "make significant cuts to public works and public safety. Thanks to the [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act], he won't have to."

In his speech Tuesday, Obama said: "Because of this plan, there are teachers who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids. Health care professionals can continue caring for our sick. There are 57 police officers who are still on the streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs their department was about to make."

There's a two-fold political context to the White House's decision to highlight Rybak's message: It simultaneously nicks Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has imposed the budget cuts Rybak referred to, even as he has criticized the stimulus bill, and it boosts Rybak, who was the first big-city mayor to endorse Obama's presidential bid.


Attorney General Eric Holder watched Obama's speech from a secret location for security reasons.

Traditionally, a member of the president's Cabinet, along with designated members of Congress, stay away from such speeches in case disaster strikes the House chamber.

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been publicly announced, said the attorney general spent Tuesday evening at an undisclosed location. The speech comes a day after Holder's Monday inspection tour of the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.


The Senate has confirmed California Congresswoman Hilda Solis as labor secretary.

Solis' confirmation gives the agency a pro-worker tilt after eight years of business-friendly leadership. The 80-17 vote comes after more than a month of delays. Some GOP lawmakers were concerned over her work for a pro-union group that supports legislation easing the process for workers to organize unions. She also had to answer questions about tax liens filed against her husband.


The White House says President Obama still has confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, despite the criticism over the government's plan to rescue the financial industry.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Obama "absolutely, 100 percent" has faith in his treasury secretary.

The administration's financial stability plan has been criticized as being too vague. Federal regulators said Monday they will launch a revamped program to shore up the nation's troubled banks.


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