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Shields and Brooks Weigh Obama’s First Week, Economy Plans

President Barack Obama wasted no time putting his stamp on key policy areas during his first few days in office -- including renewing a push for an economic stimulus plan. Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the moves.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now how the Obama administration looks after three-plus days and other questions for Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    OK, Mark, I'm going to ask you to complete the following sentence, all right? "Overview. The Obama beginning, so far so…"

    MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist: Good.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    David?

    DAVID BROOKS, columnist, New York Times: Also good.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    What?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    Also good.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    Also good. Why is it good, Mark?

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    Well, first of all, understand this, Jim, about the election of 2000 and the election of 2008. George Bush…

  • JIM LEHRER:

    By the way, I'm never going to ask you a question like that again. I just thought I'd try that.

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    OK.

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    OK.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    All right. Thank you.

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    I used one word; David used two, you'll notice. But George Bush was elected to change the face of the presidency, the conduct of the presidency. It was a change of leadership. It wasn't a change — it was a reaction against the conduct of Bill Clinton, in large part, and that's what he ran on, not that he was going to change the direction.

    Barack Obama ran on changing the direction of the country, its policies, and he is obviously committed in the first 72 hours of his presidency to fulfilling and honoring that promise, those promises.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    David, what do you mean when you say what you said?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    Well, similar. I mean, I think he's been prudential, but also signaling a change. I mean, the meeting today with Republicans was not just the only thing he's done with Republicans. There has been a whole series of outreaches to change the tone.

    But he hasn't done anything radical. It's not like FDR going to close the banks. On Guantanamo and other issues like that, he's made a change, but not a totally dramatic change. He's dealt with the complexities and the realities. And so I think it's been prudential, cautious, but different.

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