When President Obama and his nascent White House team set themselves to the task of selling the American public on the $787 stimulus bill around this time last year, they pressed hard for it. They called it a plan to "save or create" over 3 million jobs by the end of 2010. They warned of economic catastrophe if it didn't pass; they promised the beginnings a new, green economy if it did.
Now, Democrats perhaps are working on a new jobs bill, but they might be a bit wary of overselling it, as Republicans have hammered their first stimulus and conservative enthusiasm has soared in its wake.
But Democratic lawmakers backing the jobs bill push said they need to avoid repeating last year's mistake of overselling the stimulus, a fact that Republicans have seized on to undermine its impact.
"I think the White House would much rather at a press conference respond to a question saying, 'Well, we did much better than we projected,' than saying we thought, 'We were going to bring it down to 8.2 [percent] and things didn't go well,'" said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).
The size of the Democrats' next jobs bill has yet to be determined: the House passed a $154 billion bill in December, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has proposed a pared-down $15 billion bill in the Senate.