The President is squeezing as much mileage as possible out of his health care law, which the White House political operation sees as ultimately helping Obama at the polls. (see below for an early read on how that's working). At 11:05, at Northern Virginia Community College, he'll sign the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
WWR thinks you know what the health care law is by now (don't you?). But what about the education part of the bill? It centers around how the federal government will give aid to college students. Essentialy, it ends the process of subsidizing private banks which give out federally insured loans. These loans will now be administered by the Department of Education. It also ups the value of Pell Grants. Starting in 2014, students who qualify will be able to cap the amount they must spend on loan repayment each month to 10% of their discretionary income, down from 15%. Obama hopes this will ease the debt burden on graduates as they enter the work force. It'll also be easier for borrowers to be "forgiven" their loans after 20 years of they've made timely payments during that time.
After lunch with Vice-President Biden and his weekly meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Obama meets with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Look for Iran (where Sarkozy is talking tough on sanctions) Afghanistan (where he's reluctant to provide more troops) and, to a lesser extent, Europe's fiscal issues to top the agenda. They'll also hold a short news conference in the Rose Garden (or East Room if it's raining). In the evening, the Obamas and Sarkozys will have dinner together - fashionistas eagerly await pictures of Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in their stately attire.
9:30AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:00AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Economic Daily Briefing
11:05AM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks and signs the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Northern Virginia Community College
12:00PM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors
12:20PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT have lunch
Private Dining Room
2:45PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of Defense Gates
3:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with President Sarkozy of France
4:45PM THE PRESIDENT and President Sarkozy hold joint press availability
6:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY host dinner for President Sarkozy and Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy
2:15PM Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
Polls: Short-Lived Bounce?
In the days immediately following passage of the landmark health care law, it looked like Obama's numbers were turning around. But some polls have since flattened out or dropped again, a troubling sign for the President.
Gallup, for instance, has Obama’s approval 48% (rolling three-day average), near his all-time low of 46% percent. Obama had been up to 50% when the bill passed.
“People thought Obama might get a significant uptick,” Gallup's Frank Newport tells Politico. “Obama’s approval seems to have moved up a few points during and slightly after passage. Then it fell back down again.”
CNN-Opinion Research, however, shows Obama's gains holding for now. The President jumped from 46% to 51% approval as health care passed - with jumps registered from two key voting blocs: lower-income households and union members.
On This Day
1981: President Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt after being shot by John W. Hinckley Jr. Exiting a Washington hotel after giving a speech, Reagan was hit by one bullet, which entered through his left armpit, grazed a rib and lodged in his lung, stopping nearly an inch from his heart. Two police officers and Press Secretary James Brady were also wounded. The President was rushed to George Washington University hospital, immediately underwent a three-hour operation - he remained in the hospital for 13 days and made a full recovery.
"Honey, I forgot to duck." - President Reagan to his wife after the assassination attempt.