[President Obama]

The day that culminated with President Obama's address to Congress was a dizzying tour through Washington officialdom. There was the pre-dawn spinning by White House political operatives, and celebrity sightings on Capitol Hill. President Obama welcomed the Japanese prime minister to the White House, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal rehearsed the Republican response. And Norm Coleman, fighting to save his Minnesota Senate seat, compared his long, drawn-out battle with Al Franken to something "Tolstoyesque." He obviously was thinking of the 1,296-page "War and Peace."

There were surprises, like the exchange between the Senate Democratic leader and the party's embattled new senator from Illinois, and a small fire that erupted just off the Senate floor.

Then there were those annual traditions: The president ate lunch with the network television anchors, and the women of the Senate posed for an official portrait. What 10 years ago was a group of nine is now a group of 17. -- Philip Rucker

6:18 a.m.

The White House rises just over Robert Gibbs's shoulder as he holds a cup of joe with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. But from the television, you can't tell -- it is too dark to see much. Scarborough, wrapped in a blanket, tells Gibbs, "I Twitter now."
"Will that make us any warmer?" quips the press secretary, who braves the morning chill without an overcoat as he hopscotches along the North Lawn between live shots on all six network morning shows to offer pre-speech political spin.

Senior adviser David Axelrod, making the rounds in a green parka, dismisses the cold. Compared with Chicago, he says, this is nothing.
7:12 a.m.
It isn't just the White House offering early-morning spin. From his home in Adams Morgan, the Republican National Committee's Alex Conant pushes out his daily dose. Within an hour, he sends a half-dozen e-mails, some highlighting articles about Obama with a decidedly negative spin. At 8:08 a.m. and 31 seconds: "McCLATCHY -- Big stimulus bill sparks long-term fiscal fears." Seven seconds later: "AP -- Obama's deficit goals count on rosy assumptions."

10:18 a.m.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), hardly a fan of the political sidelines, enters the debate between Republican governors about whether to spend federal stimulus dollars. He releases a letter to White House budget director Peter Orszag with a subject line that says the stimulus package is not an "a la carte menu." Schumer implores Orszag to instruct the governors that they are not permitted to "selectively adopt some components of the bill while rejecting others."
11 a.m.

On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and embattled Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) huddle privately. According to Reid, the conversation goes as follows:
Reid: "How was your break?" Burris: "Fine. How was yours?"
Reid: "Fine."
Many reporters suspect Reid's recounting is intentionally glib.
12:30 p.m.
The television news anchors sit down to lunch with Obama at the White House, continuing a long-standing tradition. Obama says "Slumdog Millionaire," the India-based film that cleaned up at the Oscars, reminds him of the years he spent in Indonesia. In another revelation, the president discloses that he has napped briefly on the Oval Office sofa. They dine in the family dining room over lobster bisque with beignets, seared Virginia bass with leeks and potatoes, pound cake with fruit compote and lemon sorbet.
12:50 pm
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, a four-time Super Bowl loser for the Buffalo Bills, trolls the Capitol's halls for medical research funds, a cause he has supported because of illnesses in his family.
2 p.m.
In the Hart Senate Office Building, two of Obama's most ardent supporters lobby lawmakers: Will.I.Am, whose "Yes, We Can" remix of the candidate's speech after losing the New Hampshire primary became an anthem for supporters, and Sheryl Crow, who performed before his Denver nomination acceptance speech.
9:03 a.m.

Following tradition, the women of the Senate take their official group portrait. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) writes in her Twitter, "No more sweet sixteen... now seventeen.".

4:45 p.m.
Moments after senators confirm Hilda Solis as labor secretary, the Capitol hallways smell like a campfire as smoke billows through. Police just shrug and open windows and doors. Senators, milling about with their evening guests, fan away fumes. "What's this all about?" Reid asks.
"I thought the smoke-filled room was a thing of the past," quips Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The culprit: Minority Whip Jon Kyl's office. Apparently some staffers misused the Arizona Republican's fireplace.

9:03 p.m.
The non-State of the Union has all the trappings of a State of the Union. Senators and representatives applaud wildly for first lady Michelle Obama and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery. Obama's vanquished primary campaign rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, walking in with the new Cabinet, receives an adoring welcome. And a kiss from the president. She is no longer a rival. She is secretary of state.

Staff writers Michael D. Shear, Howard Kurtz, Perry Bacon Jr., Paul Kane and Shailagh Murray contributed to this report.

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