Winning the Future.

That's the phrase you'll probably hear from the White House a lot. Like Matt Yglesias, I went to a bloggers' roundtable with other progressive journalists today and met with David Axelrod. He repeated this phrase a lot and also said repeatedly, along with an economic adviser, Brian Deese, that the president would not make cuts to the budget that would not lead to growth.

As almost everyone, from straight news reporters to bloggers, noted today, the president's speech was odd in that it is trying to walk a tense line that calls for a domestic spending freeze as well as added investments. That's not just about numbers: freezing and, in some places, cutting spending can cede rhetorical ground to the idea that government spending is bad. It's not that I'm not sure some government programs don't need to be cut, but more that I don't know how to balance that message and convince voters that investing in clean energy is something government money is suited for. Obama tries to do that a lot -- making concessions to Republicans and trying to be the reasonable one -- but I don't know if this is a debate he can reframe.

I might have more on the meeting in a few days, but for now, a personal note: There were eight bloggers there, and two of us were women. That's not bad, but it could be better. Axelrod also said Obama would enter the gun-control debate, though not how.

-- Monica Potts


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