This article on the political battles over President Obama's economic stimulus plan incorrectly described the route Winston Churchill took to power in 1940. Churchill became British prime minister after a fellow Conservative, Neville Chamberlain, resigned.
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Democrats and Republicans Line Up to Do Battle Over Results of Stimulus Package
Obama will be poised to take credit for such successes -- and he will -- regardless of whether they are a result of the legislation.
"We stand as Democrats ready to be accountable to the American people for this legislation and for the results we predict it will bring," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said shortly after the bill passed the House on Friday.
Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, predicted just that kind of Democratic bragging in an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal late last week: "If history is a guide, sometime late this year or early next, the economy will rebound on its own. When that happens, Democrats will argue that their un-targeted, permanent spending actually revived the economy."
If Rove is right, Republicans could find themselves answering uncomfortable questions from their constituents about their no votes.
In the meantime, much depends on which party succeeds in shaping public opinion about the effect of the legislation.
The president's aides appeared yesterday on morning news programs to begin lowering expectations. Press secretary Robert Gibbs warned on CNN's "State of the Union" that it will take time before people see improvement in their lives.
"I think it's safe to say that things have not yet bottomed out," Gibbs said. "They are probably going to get worse before they improve. But this is a big step forward toward making that improvement and putting people back to work."
For his part, Rove believes the 2010 elections could be a victory for the GOP.
"The president won this legislative battle," he said in the Wall Street Journal column, "but at a high price -- fiscally and politically."