For weeks before the Inauguration Obama had been playing bad poker on the stimulus. Instead of holding his cards close, then sweetening the pot for the Republicans with tax cuts in the final negotiations, he offered more than $300 billion in tax cuts at the front end of the process, nearly three weeks before taking office. (The final bill had tax cuts worth $288 billion.) Marty Nesbitt said later that the Republicans obviously weren’t negotiating in good faith, but he’d also seen his old poker buddy play better hands: “He should have said, ‘Here’s the thing, no tax cuts.’ And then go, ‘Okay, you make some solid arguments–Okay, I’ll give you $280 billion [in tax cuts].'” It was a big bargaining chip he left off the table.
Jonathan Alter (2010) – The Promise. President Obama, Year One. (s. 116).