What was significant today is what we didn’t see — specifically photos of Obama on Capitol Hill meeting face-to-face (or, going toe-to-toe) with Republican House and Senate leadership over the stimulus plan. What we have above are cameras to the nines, and Robert Gibbs waiting in the hallway of the Executive Office Building, and the “away-game” symbol of the Senate on the lectern, but (intentionally, I have to think) no media face time with the President for the likes of McConnell or Boehner.
Update 9:29 pm PST: Lending more political context to the image above, the NYT and new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood confirm that Obama scored points today in dominating the Congressional turf:
Does spending nearly three hours in the Capitol — and speaking to reporters first from the Capitol basement and then at the Ohio Clock — burnish Mr. Obama’s credentials as a president making good on his word to bridge the partisan divide? Or did it diminish his stature?
The former, his advisers said, adding that the president would be back soon.
“Stand by,” Ray LaHood, a longtime Republican congressman from Illinois who is the new transportation secretary, told reporters as they waited. “The big man is coming.”
With the Superbowl coming up, the President’s move might well be described by football analogies, Obama keeping possession and working the field position to largely keep the Republicans off the (media) field and pin them back deep in their own politically territory.
(image: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters during his visit to the Capitol in Washington January 27, 2009. Obama will try to try to persuade reluctant Republicans to support a $825 billion package he says is essential to resuscitate a plunging economy.)