Obviously the Q&A was dominated by the economy, because Americans are angry and scared. The unemployment rate is rapidly rising. There is gloom and doom in the air.
It is now a lock that the stimulus bill will be passed, but nobody knows whether it will work or not. So less than a month into his first term, President Obama has rolled the dice big time. If the stimulus package does not work, he is in for a very rough tenure.
A couple of his answers tonight caught my eye. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We've lost now 3.6 million jobs. But what's perhaps even more disturbing is that almost half of that job loss has taken place over the last three months.
Understand the bottom line that I've got right now, which is what's happening to the people of Elkhart and what's happening across the country. I can't afford to see Congress play the usual political games. What we have to do right now is deliver for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
But of course Congress will play the usual political game. However, with Democrats in control of both Houses, as I said, the stimulus package will get passed.
Now, two things: President Obama is obviously building this crisis up. How bad is it? Nobody really knows how bad it is. Is it the worst thing since the Great Depression? It may be. It might not be.
But look at it from Barack Obama's point of view. The worst he can make it, the more urgency he brings to the situation. And if he can overcome it, the more heroism he gets. OK? So it's worth his while to use the fear quotient, which he has used.
Now, again, I don't diminish that, because I don't know how bad it is. I know it's bad, and I know it's getting worse. That's true.
Now, on the second thing, politics as usual. The Republican Party is simply not going to go for the package because it's going to say, "OK, we know it's going to get through, but we're going to stand back and we'll watch." If it doesn't work, the Republican power base then grows quickly. If they were to sign on pell-mell to it because they don't like it anyway, it's an expansion of the government, it makes the government much bigger, that's opposite what the Republican Party wants. If they were to sign on to it, there's no upside for them. It's going to get through anyway.
So again, Barack Obama rolls the dice. If it works, he's a two-term president. If it doesn't work, the Republicans will gain power in two years.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Pop singer Shakira, who hails from the country of Colombia, is doing a nice thing. She's building a school in her hometown of La Playa, and it will instruct 1,800 students. Shakira has promised $6 million to the project, and for this she is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, we like Cher. She's very interested in helping kids and seems to be a nice person. When it comes to politics, well, roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHER, SINGER: I just don't understand how anyone would want to be a Republican. I just can't figure it. I don't understand. If you're poor, if you're any kind of minority — gay, black, Latino, anything — if you're not a rich — I don't know. If you're not a rich, born-again Christian, I don't get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now, I am forced to break this to Cher gently. There are good people in both parties, madam. They do good things everyday. They love their country, just like you do. So don't be a pinhead. Be independent, like me.