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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:42 PM
Original message
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 06:42 PM by ProSense

Obamas Interview Aboard Air Force One

Published: March 7, 2009

President Obama spoke in a 35-minute interview aboard Air Force One on Friday afternoon as he traveled from Columbus, Ohio to Andrews Air Force Base. This is an edited transcript, as recorded by The New York Times.

Q. You said its going to take a long time to get out of this economic crisis. Can you assure the American people that the economy will be growing by the summer, the fall or the end of the year?

A. I dont think that anybody has that kind of crystal ball. We are going through a wrenching process of de-leveraging in the financial sectors not just here in the United States, but all around the world that have profound consequences for Main Street. What started off as problems with the banks, led to a contraction of lending, which led in turn to both declining demand on the part of consumers, but also declining demand on the part of business. So it is going to take some time to work itself through.

Our job is to do a couple of key things. Number one, to put in place key investments that will cushion the blow. Our recovery plan had provisions for unemployment insurance, for food stamps, what we just saw today, grants and assistance to states so layoffs arent compounded. The second thing weve got to do is were going to have to strengthen the financial system. Weve taken some significant steps already to do that just for example this week, opening up a trillion-dollar credit line. But theres going to be more work to be done there because there are some banks that are still limping along and weve got to strengthen their capital bases and get them lending again.

Weve got to be able to distinguish in the marketplace between those banks that have real problems and those banks that are actually on pretty solid footing. Weve still got the auto situation that were going to have to address. And finally, weve got to make the investments for long-term economic growth around energy, education and health care. Im not trying to filibuster, it was a big question.

Our belief and expectation is that we will get all the pillars in place for recovery this year. Those are the things we have control over and we have confidence that working with Congress we can get the pillars of recovery in place. How long it will take before recovery actually translates into stronger job markets and so forth is going to depend on a whole range of factors, including our ability to get other countries to coordinate and take similar actions because part of what youre seeing now is weaknesses in Europe that are actually greater than some of the weaknesses here, bouncing back and having an impact on our markets.

Q. Can you envision allowing a major institution to fail? Can you say with certainty that you wont need to ask Congress for any more money beyond the $250 billion placeholder in your budget.

A. I am absolutely committed to making sure that our financial system is stable. And so I think people can be assured that well do whatever is required to keep that from happening. For example, that would mean preventing institutions that could cause systemic risks to the system being just left on their own. Were going to make sure that the financial system is stabilized and in terms of the resources that are involved. We think the $250 billion placeholder is a pretty good estimate. We have no reason to revise that estimate thats in the budget. One of the benefits I think of this budget was we tried to surface as honestly and as forthrightly as possible, all the costs of this crisis, all the costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, all the potential costs of things like fixing the AMT, which historically have been left off the budget. Something that I dont think people recognize is that had we used the same gimmicks that had been used previously, we could have driven down our budget projections over the next 10 years, down to point where debt was only 1.3 or 1.5 percent of G.D.P. We could have made ourselves look really good, but I felt very strongly that part of what got us in trouble in the first place, both in the private sector and the public sector, was a failure to do honest accounting about what risks are out there, about what costs are out there and factoring those in, and thats something that weve tried to change.


Q. In terms of spending.

A. Oh, in terms of spending. Well, if you look at spending, what we said during the campaign was, is that we were going to raise taxes on the top five percent. Thats what our budget does. We said that wed give a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans. Thats exactly what we have done. Thats the right thing to do. It provides relief to families that basically saw no growth in wages and incomes over the last decade. It asks for a little bit more for people like myself who benefited greatly over the last decade and took a disproportionate share of a growing economy. I actually dont think that anybody who examines our budget can come away with the conclusion that somehow this is a that this is in any way different than what we proposed during the campaign.

But more to the point, it is whats needed in order to put this economy on a more stable footing. One of the problems that weve had is that we have put off big problems again and again and again and again. And as Ive said in my speech to the joint session of Congress, at some point there is a day of reckoning. Well, that day of reckoning has come.

What Im refusing to do and what Ive instructed my staff that we will not do is to try to kick the can down the road, to try to paper over problems, try to use gimmicks on budgets, try to pretend that health care is not an issue, to continue with a situation where we are exporting importing more and more oil from the middle east, continuing with a situation in which average working families are seeing their wages flat line. At some point, weve got to take on these problems.


Q. Do you see a time when you might be willing to reach out to more moderate elements of the Taliban, to try to peel them away, towards reconciliation?

A. I dont want to pre-judge the review thats currently taking place. If you talk to General Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region. But the situation in Afghanistan is, if anything, more complex. You have a less governed region, a history of fierce independence among tribes. Those tribes are multiple and sometimes operate at cross purposes, so figuring all that out is going to be a much more of a challenge.


Now how did the response to the Taliban question become: "Obama considers reaching out to Taliban: report"?

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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for posting this. I've been out of the TV loop today, this is an interesting read.
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. it was in the " politics section" of the NYTimes.
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 07:30 PM by flyarm

or try this:

unless it is scrubbed now.

but i just pulled it up!

March 8, 2009
Obama Ponders Outreach to Elements of the Taliban
WASHINGTON President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. It's based on the same interview. n/t
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. yes it is ..i was answering your question of how did the story become
"Obama Ponders Outreach to Elements of the Taliban"

because it was that way in the politics section of the NYT..i was answering your question .

pretty simple really..
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firedupdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good read...thanks for posting this. I get what you're saying about
the "Obama considers reaching out to the Taliban" title. They tossed that sentence in as the title to the other piece in order to cause outrage. The MSM sucks!
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks for this, PS..
imv, the NYT helped get us in this mess with their push for War On Iraq via judy miller leading up to the bombing.
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