It’s time for President Obama to play “partisan hardball” on his stimulus package, said E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. While he has been trying to act as a “benevolent referee” in the untidy legislative process, Republicans have been "winning the media war,” using “minor bits” of the bill to tarnish the whole package, and “often casting logic aside” to score political points. Obama needs to respond.

He could start by admitting that “his effort to ram most of his spending agenda into a must-do economic stimulus bill” is a political failure, said Investor’s Business Daily in an editorial. And it’s not just “a tiny amount of waste in an otherwise good bill.” It’s that he’s trying to marry short-term stimulus to long-term spending he was pushing for before the recession hit. That’s “a marriage that shouldn’t be saved.”

If the stimulus bill is to be saved, both sides should give a little, said The Washington Post in an editorial. Obama should agree to focus the bill more on short-term spending that will “give U.S. economic growth a ‘jolt,’” and Republicans should “not waste valuable time” trying to get the package “tilted in favor of tax cuts.”

What else can you expect from a party that’s “taking their advice from Joe the Plumber”? said Daniel Gross in Slate. There is “plenty of legitimate argument” to be had over the makeup of the stimulus, but Obama can’t argue with GOP legislators who have a “peculiar” and knee-jerk aversion to government spending. Like it or not, borrowing and spending is the only way we’re going to “stop the downward spiral.”