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The White House strikes back - Jonathan Martin - POLITICO.com
The White House strikes back
By: Jonathan Martin
July 16, 2009 04:52 AM EST
On the defensive over the economy and health care, the White House is shooting back with a double-barreled message for its critics and skeptics.
To Republicans who say the stimulus isn't working: Back off.
To moderate Democrats wary of health care reform: We're watching you.
Earlier this week, the administration launched a coordinated effort to jam Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican who's argued that the government should "cancel the rest of the stimulus spending." No fewer than four Cabinet secretaries wrote to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer - also a Republican - to ask her if she agreed with Kyl that it was time to turn off the state's stimulus spigot.
"If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Sen. Kyl suggests, please let me know," wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. For good measure, he attached a three-page addendum listing each of the Arizona projects paid for by the $521 million the state is getting.
Brewer knew she'd been thrown a high, hard one.
"The governor is hopeful that these federal Cabinet officials are not threatening to deny Arizona citizens the portion of federal stimulus funds to which they are entitled," her spokesman said in a statement. "She believes that would be a tremendous mistake by the administration. And the governor is grateful for the strong leadership and representation that Arizonans enjoy in the United States Senate."