Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reaction to President Obama's Address to Joint Session of Congress

New York Times
February 25, 2009
Obama Assures Nation: ‘We Will Rebuild’
Jeff Zelleny

WASHINGTON — President Obama urged the nation on Tuesday to see the economic crisis as reason to raise its ambitions, calling for expensive new efforts to address energy, health care and education programs even as he warned that more money might be needed to bail out banks.

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Mr. Obama mixed an acknowledgment of the depth of the economic problems with a Reaganesque exhortation to American resilience and an expansive agenda with a pledge to begin paring down a soaring budget deficit.

“While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this,” Mr. Obama said. “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

He was greeted in the House of Representatives chamber with gregarious applause, particularly from Democrats who hold a strong majority. Yet even Republicans leaned in close to Mr. Obama as he passed by them in the narrow aisle and made his way to the speaker’s dais at the front of the room.

Mr. Obama said he came to the Capitol not only to address members of the House and Senate who were seated before him, but also to “speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.”

“If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that for too long, we have not always met these responsibilities — as a government or as a people,” Mr. Obama said. “I say this not to lay blame or look backwards, but because it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.” Continue reading at NYTimes

Washington Post
Obama Emphasizes Reform, Offers Hope Amid Economic Crisis
By Ben Pershing
Washington Post Staff Writer

Five weeks into an administration already marked by dramatic highs and lows, President Obama sounded a note of hope at a time of crisis tonight, delivering an address to a joint session of Congress heavily focused on the ailing economy and how to fix it.

Offering the prospect of a brighter future after weeks of grim rhetoric, Obama sought to put a human face on complex policy proposals. He linked his banking rescue plan to the ability of a "young family" to "finally buy a home." And he acknowledged populist anger at the prospect of more Wall Street bailouts, vowing to crack down on CEO bonuses and conduct tough oversight of the hundreds of billions of dollars already pledged to address the economic crisis.

Though he began by recognizing that "the impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere," Obama said he sees light at the end of the tunnel, despite rising unemployment, a cratering stock market, teetering banks and an auto industry gasping for breath. Continue reading at WPost

Obama puts forth ambitious agenda in speech

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama outlined an ambitious agenda to revive the economy, saying it's time to act boldly "to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity."

Obama focused on the three priorities of the budget he will present to Congress later this week: energy, health care and education.

The president said he sees his budget as a "vision for America -- as a blueprint for our future," but not something that will solve every problem or address every issue.

Obama said his administration already has identified $2 trillion in government spending cuts that can be made over the next decade.

Obama said he would cut spending considered wasteful, and invest in programs that will help the economy recover.

The president touted the $787 billion stimulus plan he signed into law last week, saying it will invest in areas critical to the country's economic recovery.

The United States has "fallen behind" other countries when it comes to producing clean energy, he said, but thanks to the stimulus, he said the United States will double its supply of renewable energy in the next three years.

Obama asked Congress to send him legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.

He said to support that innovation, the country will invest $15 billion a year to develop new technologies.

Saying the United States can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold, Obama said his budget proposal will include a "historic commitment" to it. Continue reading at CNN.com

Obama Says Country Will Rebuild, Recover in Wake of Recession
President Obama warns about the danger of an "open-ended recession," but also urges lawmakers to join him in doing whatever is necessary to prevent it during his first address to Congress.

The economy will recover and the nation will rebuild, President Obama declared Tuesday in his first address to Congress as he tried to assure the country that the end of the recession is in sight.

The president struck a more optimistic tone than in recent speeches, balancing honesty about the challenges of the economic crisis with confidence in the ability of Americans to confront the recession and emerge stronger from it.

He warned about the danger of an "open-ended recession," but also urged lawmakers to join him in doing whatever is necessary to prevent it.

"I refuse to let that happen," Obama said about the possibility of the economy sputtering along for years. He said investments not only in the financial system but energy, health care and education will ensure a sustained recovery. Continue reading at FoxNews.com

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