There is a geographic dance setting up this week between Obama, the media, and the GOP.
In light of Obama’s popularity and his own strategy last week of hitting the road, here is the scene we were offered Sunday. We see CNN’s John King kicking off his new Sunday show, “State of the Union,” with Obama nemesis John McCain — who took the opportunity to lay into Obama for committing “generational theft” with the stimulus bill and a bad attempt at bipartisanship.
Partly under the guise of celebrating the NBA All-Star Game, it seems that King and McCain used each other to to escape the backdrop of Washington. (McCain was home for the game. Later in the show, King had NBA stars analyze Obama’s style on the court.) Here, we see both men on a balcony (of a luxury hotel, I believe) milking the scenery, meeting the dawn of a new day (not that there’s a metaphor there) looking out over the sprawl of residential Scottsdale.
And another reason for the venue? With Obama planning to be in Phoenix on Wednesday to unveil the Administration’s housing plan, McCain — a likely target as Obama maps a populist offensive against GOP opposition — has his turf to protect. At one point, King actually managed to call him on it:
MCCAIN: …I hope the next time, we will sit down together and conduct truly bipartisan negotiations. This was not a bipartisan bill.
KING: Well, if we’re going to do that moving forward, part of that is the spirit. You’ve given your promise right here you want to do that. He is going to be right here in your home state talking about foreclosures. It’s a terrible problem. Will you stand with him and send a signal you’re still willing to work with him, or does he have to prove something to you first?
MCCAIN: The president doesn’t have to prove anything to me. I will be in another part of the state, which I had previous plans to be. But I’m pleased that he is coming here.
Of course, McCain is doing everything he can to facilitate that cooperation, isn’t he?
Transcript of McCain on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
CNN video : King and McCain on the stimulus.
(image: Edward M. Pio Roda/AP. Scottsdale, Ariz. February 15, 2009)