EXCLUSIVE: Preview of tonight’s comments on the stimulus

Okay, maybe President Obama won’t shed the Washington Blue Suit Uniform for Matthew Lesko’s “I want to be the Riddler in Batman III” duds. But Mr. “Free Money for Everyone!” has been paying attention to the legislation passed by President, uh, “Free Money for Everyone!” – and he’s already trying to make money off it, as reported by Mitchell Blatt.

(Of course, Lesko doesn’t report that you can get your own stimulus check from the Bank of Obama.)

More interesting to me will be the tone the President takes tonight. Early reports indicate that the speech will be more forward-looking than his steady drumbeat of sour economic predictions that began before his inauguration; some have called on Obama to sound more positive.

(It will also be interesting to note whether “forward-looking” will mean more jabs at the previous administration; my money is on “yes.”)

From its President, the country sure could use some good news. But politics is about managing expectations – so the more dire the current economic situation appears to be, the more credit Obama can take when the economy ticks back upward in a few years – likely just in time for his re-election.

It’s a little like Groundhog Day (the holiday, not the movie): if during tonight’s speech, the President sees a shadow, it means four more years of campaigning-by-governing.

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