Win Some, Lose Fewer

Obama didn’t get everything he wanted from G20, but he won enough battles to come out ahead.

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President Obama wins some and loses some at the G20 summit, but he comes out ahead. Still, an increased jobless rate threatens to expose a disconnect between a globe-trotting president and the people back home. Obama scores 10 on the Change-o-Meter today.

World leaders at the G20 summit agreed Thursday to invest $1.1 trillion to combat the economic downturn. That fund includes $500 billion to triple the value of the International Monetary Fund, which Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wanted to double last month, to support developing countries in emergency conditions.  The global financial stimulus didn’t meet the calls put forth by the Obama administration, as the New Republic noted in its G20 Wish List, though Obama won other concessions in a surprising degree of consensus. This narrative, which builds on the Obama-as-peacemaker theme we mentioned Thursday, is good for an additional 10 points on the ‘Meter.

Back home, the Labor Department announced a new unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, putting a damper on Obama’s positive exposure overseas. The report comes just after Obama declared in a G20 press conference that the U.S. economy had stabilized, but a pre-emptive warning about the report sent out by White House Secretary Robert Gibbs attempted to prevent the impression that Obama had been caught off-guard. The 663,000 jobs lost in March will cause concerns over the administration’s economic plan, for which the ‘Meter deducts five points.

The House and Senate approved Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget blueprint late Thursday night, paving the path for Obama to start getting his hands dirty with some of his central goals. As is becoming usual practice in this Congress, not a single Republican cast a “yea.” There’s still plenty of fighting left to be done over the budget, which now heads to a conference committee, but the legislative progress is good for five points. There’s a lot to cover, so we want to hear your thoughts on what the Change-o-Meter should be taking into account. No detail is too small or wonky. E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.