At approximately 11:45 PDT, President-Elect Barack Obama held his first press conference, flanked by his newly appointed Chief of Staff and his Economic Advisory Board, with whom he had just had a 2 hour meeting.
The focus of the press conference to day was Obama’s planned approach to fixing the economic problems of the
President-Elect Obama was literally backed up by his Economic Advisory Board and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden.
The main points of Mr. Obama’s statement were:
- The importance of a rescue plan for the Middle Class in terms of jobs, extension of Unemployment Benefits and passage of an economic stimulus plan, preferably before his inauguration, but if not then as soon after January 20, 2009 as possible.
- Solving the financial crisis, including policy options to help the American auto industry. Michigan Governor Granholm was one of the advisors present and is a member of the Economic Advisory Board.
- A detailed review of the current Administration’s financial bailout program, especially to make sure that it addresses home foreclosures and high compensation for executives in financial institutions receiving government assistance.
- Long term Middle Class growth and attention to the issues of Energy, Healthcare, Education and Middle Class tax relief.
During questions, Mr. Obama expressed his feeling that a new President can do an enormous amount to restore confidence in the markets and in the economy. He expressed certainty that a stimulus package would be passed, either in the Lame Duck session of Congress or immediately after he takes office.
In regard to Cabinet appointments, the President-Elect expressed his understanding that everyone is anxious to hear who will fill those posts, but wants to proceed with “deliberate haste,” as he did in considering his choice of Senator Biden as his running mate.
Mr. Obama told reporters that he has been in touch with all of the living former
On a lighter note, Mr. Obama asked after the health of Lynn Sweet, a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times, who was seen in a sling, due to having fallen at the Grant Park acceptance speech event. He also answered questions about the selection of the new White House dog and the considerations both of Malia’s allergies and their preference for a rescue dog.