Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in politics for Wednesday, February 18.
1. Watch the housing situation. President Obama is going to announce his plan to combat the foreclosure crisis today at 12:15 pm ET in Mesa, Arizona. It is a big and expensive plan, but not as big or as expensive as some people think is necessary to keep struggling homeowners in their homes. Watch to see how the president unfurls the plan and what kind of reaction it gets.
2. Watch the auto industry. GM and Chrysler announced the details of their restructuring plans late Tuesday, both asking for more government money than anticipated and saying they plan thousands of layoffs. GM says it needs $12 billion in federal loans while cutting 47,000 jobs worldwide – including 20,000 in the United States – and eliminating some of its smaller brands. Chrysler asked for another $2 billion yesterday and says it will cut 3,000 jobs. Watch to see the reaction from the left and the right, as well as from the auto industry as a whole.
3. Watch for new developments in the national security issues that are getting criticism from the left. Watch to see how the administration positions itself in balancing national security and civil liberties.