Parsing Obama's Speech on the Economy

The president appeared at the Brookings Institution this morning to announce several job-creating measures as a kind of tangible follow-up to last week's summit. But between Obama's speech and a background briefing by senior administration officials beforehand, I detected four other goals on the economic front:

1.) Reclaim the stimulus as a success story. It's no secret that the administration has taken its lumps over the stimulus, even as the data suggest it's been reasonably effective. That's a problem for a White House embarking on another round of spending to spur job creation--the need for more money could be read as an admission that the first stimulus failed. To preempt that argument, the White House was determined to cast the stimulus as a success. One theme running through the speech and the briefing was that a lot of the new proposals are stimulus programs that worked beyond expectation, then hit a wall once the money was spent.