President Barack Obama began his first news conference with a repeat of the speeches or statements he has made over the past couple of days. I guess he figures if he says the same rhetoric over and over, we will start to believe it – I’m not sold. The first question came from an AP reporter and was actually a really good one. The reporter said that Obama had made a shocking statement today that this recession could be irreversible if the stimulus bill is not passed and asked why he would say that since we have come out of every other recession before and isn’t this kind of dire language a bad idea? Obama literally rambled for five minutes repeating most of his opening statement and never answered either part of the question. He called on the next reporter and it was then that I noticed that people were not raising hands or shouting there questions like your typical press conference. He was calling names off of a piece of paper in front of him. The reporters were pre-picked and I am sure they knew who they were.
Obama says he will keep on engaging the Republicans when a reporter asks if Obama’s administration is giving up their stance of working for a bi-partisan solution. The administration says that they now only care about passing this piece of crap bill. The president also keeps using the following verbage, “Maybe you/some people have a philosophy that the government should not get involved in…” It’s not a philosophy! These are the principles that this country was bulit on – read the Constitution sometime, Mr. President. Obama keeps asking why we wouldn’t want to update our schools, put medical records in an electronic system and weatherize homes right now? Because this does not stimulate the economy, I thought that was obvious.
Chuck Todd asks about consumer spending getting us into this mess and shouldn’t we not promote that. Obama says that he does not think consumer spending got us into this place. It most certainly played a part – people have lived outside of their means. Otherwise why would credit card debt be something TARP is trying to fix? The president uses Nancy Pelosi’s, “The party is over.”
Obama said he would love to not have to spend money right now – watch his nose grow! Julianna Bloomberg (sp?) asked the president doesn’t he believe that we are going to need more than this second $350 billion in TARP because other government people think so. He said we are going to have to work with the banks to clear up their balance sheets and open things up and restore trust. He doesn’t want to pre-empt the Treasury Secretary. They don’t know if they will need more money. They’ll basically have to see. The answer is, of course, they will need more money.
Jake Tapper asked how the American people will know if this plan is working. The president says that the first thing will be when the four million jobs are created. Are the credit markets working better is another factor. Step three will be if the housing industry gets better. Are foreclosures going down? The greatest factor will be that we start growing again.
Ed Henry asks when military will be drawn out of Afghanistan and if flag draped coffins will be able to be shown again. The president says Afghanistan will be a big job. They are reviewing everything with a regional approach. No clear answer to either question was given. There is no time table.
Major Garrett asked about Biden’s comment that there is a 3o% chance we get this wrong he made this weekend about a private conversation between himself and the president and what that was in reference to – was it the recovery stimulus package? Obama says he has no idea what Biden was talking about – do any of us? The president says that they have lots of complicated things they are working on so it could be anything.
Helen Thomas asks if the president thinks Pakistan is maintaining safe havens for terrorists and does he know if any countries in the middle east have nuclear weapons. Could someone please put Helen out of our misery? What stupid questions. And would the president really play his hand on either of these topics? That would not be a good idea.
Huffington Post asks if Bush adminstration will face any prosecution. Obama says his adminstration will operate in a way that they abide by Geneva Convention and we are going vigorously after terrorists and that those are complimentary things. He says if there is clear wrong doing they should be prosecuted. So he doesn’t answer the question. Most questions he doesn’t really answer. He just wants to move forward.
Another reporter says this stimulus should have been easy to get bi-partisan support on so how does he expect to get that to happen with other things like healthcare reform and the like. Obama says that people are sticking to their old ways and habits and that this kind of behavior should be put aside because the country cannot afford it. Actually, we can’t afford this porkulus bill. He uses the example of how we approach fiscal responsibility because the Republicans upped the national debt as well in the past so their criticism seems hypocritical. We need to be pragmatic. Obama says by definition any stimulus bill would include spending and that that is the point. Not his kind of wasteful spending.
And then Obama runs away from the lectern before he really has to give good concise and transparent answers.