A Stimulus Lesson: Don't Oversell It

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.

The Hill's Walter Alarkon reports:

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.