I have a new story about the White House effort to keep the Stimulus popular and on track in the next newsstand issue of TIME (with a value-added eye-popping picture and charts that you can’t get online, so subscribe, $1.99 for six weeks). It starts like this:
Fueled by Coke Zero and a double-chocolate protein bar, Vice President Joe Biden is roiling, ranting, being his usual self. Five mayors and county executives listen in silence on the other end of a White House speakerphone as the Delaware ear bender tries to ride herd on the stampede for dollars known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion monster that is the largest domestic-spending effort in U.S. history. “My rear end is on the line just like yours,” Biden barks, surrounded by a flock of aides in his West Wing office. “I’m the guy in charge of this deal. So if this doesn’t work, it’s me.”
One interesting fact that didn’t make it into the story. Since March, Biden has talked, usually in conference calls, to dozens of mayors and 47 of the 50 state governors about the Recovery Act. The three governors who have not yet been on the line, though they have been invited: Alaska’s Sarah Palin, Texas’ Rick Perry and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal. You can draw your own conclusions.