The Indy 800? Obama campaigns for stimulus in Hoosier-land

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    President Obama speaks in Elkhart, Indiana today to push for his economic stimulus package. He will also address the nation tonight in a prime-time television address. Indiana native John Mellencamp (pictured) is not expected at either event.
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President Obama is hitting the road. No, he hasn't quit his job. Rather he's going out amongst the people to talk about his economic stimulus plan.

The commander-in-chief is turning into the salesman-in-chief with a return to campaign-style tactics to keep the economic stimulus package on track.

First stop - the Hoosier State.

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Indiana

Real quick. When you think of Indiana what comes to mind? Perhaps this guy dancing around in field of sunflowers. Maybe inspirational words from this well known motivational speaker? Or perhaps this individual who you hardly ever see on TV?

We realize this may be somewhat of a narrow list of immediate Indiana recollections. After all, Larry Bird and Axl Rose are from there too.

Unemployment

Anyway, the president visits Elkhart, Indiana.

No coincidence he's stopping there. The area has been hit hard by the recession with the unemployment rate more than tripling in one year. Now sitting at 15.3 percent, Elkhart County leads the nation in joblessness.

Town hall

What does an Obama town-hall meeting look like now that he's in the Oval Office? We're guessing it'll look exactly like the campaign town-halls. How creative can you get with these?

But they serve a purpose. He'll get tons of media exposure with these before the trip (like this), during the trip (plenty of live bloggers), and after the trip.

Prime time

And just to make sure you are aware he went there, he's commandeering the networks for a prime-time press conference tonight. He's not forcibly taking over the networks. But who's gonna say no?

By the way, this is just the first of three prime-time appearances this month. If he keeps this pace up, Obama would be a legitimate TV series.

More again

And then tomorrow he's off to Florida to do the same thing all over again.

Is this really necessary? To get this humongous spending package completed, he's got to keep the pressure on. This is where it turns into a sausage factory.

As Monitor colleague Gail Chaddock said yesterday, there are a variety of issues between the House and Senate versions. The Republican broker of the Senate agreement, Maine Senator Susan Collins, made it clear that this is not a fait accompli.

“I, for one, have made no commitments for supporting a conference report, because I don’t know what’s going to come out of conference,” she said at a Friday briefing. “If a lot of the House expenditures that I viewed as wasteful are put back in by the conference committee, then I will feel compelled to vote against the conference report.”

Regardless, the president's town hall will start at 12noon (ET) from the Concord High School gym in Elkhart.

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