- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Expect late nights at the White House and eye strain from President Obama. “We need earmark reform, and when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure we are not spending money unwisely,” candidate Barack Obama said last September.

McClatchy Newspapers reports that congressional officials say the $410 billion omnibus spending bill Congress is preparing to send this week has 9,000 earmarks (local projects inserted by members of Congress) totaling $5 billion. Not nine, not nine hundred, but nine thousand.

Many of these earmarks were inserted by Democrats and Republicans alike as the spending bills wended their way along the legislative trail beginning last fall. Mr. Obama can claim, hey, this was a Bush relic, and next year it will be clean.

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But he shouldn’t try that argument. Instead, he should do what he promised and send the bill back with 9,000 suggested deletions, no matter how valid some of the earmarks may be.

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