(by Jon Ward and Stephan Dinan, WashingtonTimes.com) – Calling his ambitious budget “inseparable” from the economic recovery, President Obama on Tuesday asked for broad new authority to take over financial institutions and pushed Congress to adopt his plans for fighting global warming and expanding health care.
In a prime time press conference Mr. Obama also said his early efforts to set the economy on track are bearing fruit, but warned it will take “many months” to right things.
“We’re beginning to see signs of progress,” Mr. Obama said.
In his second [Prime Time TV] press conference since taking office the president tried to hold together the seams of his ambitious $3.6 trillion budget, which calls for a carbon emissions cap and trade program to combat global warming, for expanding health care coverage and boosting education spending.
But hostility is building on Capitol Hill, where even many Democrats have already balked at the huge price tag and are reportedly ready to scrap his middle-class tax cuts, eliminate his extra financial bailout money and leave his global warming proposal vulnerable to a filibuster.
In the six weeks since his last press conference Mr. Obama has seen Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner battered by corporate bonuses to companies taking a taxpayer-funded bailout, has … sign[ed] a $410 billion catch-all spending bill in private while promising in public to try to control spending, and has said he will try to rev up his campaign supporters to push for his budget.
“I’m as angry as anybody about those bonuses,” Mr. Obama said, though he blamed them on a broken corporate culture and said they happened before his administration took over.
Mr. Obama’s personal approval ratings remain high, but Republicans said the president’s big challenges are still to come.
“This budget is far out of the mainstream, and we wouldn’t have to see a campaign to try and convince moderate Democrats to support this budget if it was reflective of the mainstream of this country,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican.
The administration’s attempts to thaw frozen credit markets through pairing taxpayer dollars with private capital also faces obstacles due to several months of uneven and confusing bailouts costing the American people trillions of dollars. That dynamic has produced outrage among many Americans, and the resulting backlash has produced what Mr. Geithner acknowledged is “a very challenging environment.”
On the global front, Mr. Obama wrote a newspaper editorial that appeared in more than 30 newspapers around the world on Tuesday, attempting to stake out a leadership position in the debate over worldwide financial regulatory reform.
Amid calls from China and Russia that the dollar be replaced as the world’s reserve currency with a global denomination, Mr. Obama wrote that “the United States is ready to lead.”
Copyright 2009 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of the Washington Times. For educational purposes only. This reprint does not constitute or imply any endorsement or sponsorship of any product, service, company or organization. Visit the website at www.washingtontimes.com.
1. How many Prime Time TV press conferences has President Obama had since taking office two months ago?
2. What is the amount of President Obama’s proposed budget?
3. How are Democrats in Congress responding to the President’s proposals?
4. What was the difference between President Obama’s public remarks on spending and his actions in private on the spending bill?
5. What was the purpose of President Obama’s press conference last night?
6. Watch the press conference at whitehouse.gov/blog/09/03/25/Addressing-Our-Problems-Head-On/. Do you think the President was successful? Explain your answer.
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