By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Anaylst BET.com
Feb. 15, 2008 -- President Barack Obama has forgone a "honeymoon" with legislators and the press to push his agenda forward and deliver what he promised: billions of federal dollars into the economy and jobs.
In his weekly radio address Obama said, "I will sign this legislation into law shortly." (On Friday White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said most likely Monday.) "We'll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done," he said.
Republicans and the handful of Democrats didn't support the president - and they should be worried how this might play back home. Obama was smart in the way he criticize his opponents of the package.
He opted to oppose the "ways of Washington" from outside the beltway and took his stimulus sales pitch on the road. It appears to have worked because he was able to build his case for the package literally in the backyards of his critics.
His strategy to preach to the non-believers and not the faithful paid off and the president was able to convert new believers back home.
The $787 billion package will extend unemployment benefits, state-funded Medicaid health coverage for low-income the disable and still gives $280 billion in tax relief.
While cuts were made during the House and Senate negotiations process, the final bill also includes money for road construction, new bridges, school repairs and expansion of Broadband networks to rural communities.
Not bad for the first four weeks in office.
If Obama continues to roll his agenda forward; maintain his popularity; minimizing his critics and nurture his up-close and personal relationship with the American people, he'll re-define "political powerhouse" and be a formidable adversary.
It appears Obama made up for his inexperience with tenacity and has prevailed. It would be foolish to underestimate him moving forward.