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At first press conference, Obama all but concedes can't do bi-partisanship deal in stimulus bill.

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WASHINGTON--President Obama, who campaigned for two years calling for a new era of bi-partisanship, all but conceded Monday night at his first White House press conference that the gargantuan recession busting stimulus bill pending before Congress won't have much GOP support.

The pragmatic Obama-with three Republicans in his cabinet-- as much said that bi-partsianship will, if need be, left for another day because of the economic crisis facing the nation.

The House version of the spending and tax cut legislation designed to create jobs and spur spending passed with no GOP votes. The Senate today (Tuesday) is poised to approve its version with three Republican moderates.

"I can't afford to see Congress play the usual political games. What we have to do right now is deliver for the American people," Obama said.

"So my bottom line when it comes to the recovery package is send me a bill that creates or saves 4 million jobs, because everybody has to be possessed with a sense of urgency about putting people back to work, making sure that folks are staying in their homes, that they can send their kids to college.

"That doesn't negate the continuing efforts that I'm going to make to listen and engage with my Republican colleagues. And hopefully the tone that I've taken, which has been consistently civil and respectful, will pay some dividends over the long term," he said.

Obama bristled at the suggestions that he did not do enough to forge a bi-partsian consensus in drafting the $800 billion plus stimulus package.

"Now, just in terms of the historic record here, the Republicans were brought in early and were consulted."

The magnitude of the economic collapse is dominating Obama's presidency--three weeks old today--in a way he never imagined.

"I'd -- you know, this notion that somehow I came in here just ginned up to spend $800 billion, you know, that -- that wasn't -- that wasn't how I envisioned my presidency beginning. But we have to adapt to existing circumstances."

The dire economy---bad and likely getting worse--dominated the 59 minute session, with an eight minute opening statement.

Obama took questions from 14 journalists, recognizing along with national print and broadcast outlets the internet based Huffington Post. The publication was supportive of Obama during the primary and general campaigns.

Obama's answer to the Huffington Post reporter--about whether he supported a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate Bush era war crimes--will aggravate some of his diehard Democratic backers. Said Obama, "My general orientation is to say let's get it right moving forward."

4 Comments

I am so pleased to have a President I can trust! I have been voting since 1974!
In fact, this is the first President that I truly believe in. Times are tough, I may disagree with some of the proposals, but President Obama will make a difference.
Keep up the great reporting Lynn Sweet! As an academic who teaches research and the scientific method, I can often be frustrated by journalists who play social scientists. I dont find that presumption in Lynn Sweet's work. Actually I know a number of reporters but I only read Ms. Sweet's writing on my google feed.
Thanks

There may not be bi-partisan support in Congress, but the is a lot of it out in the country. Ive seen Gov. Crist of FL, Gov. Pawlenty of MN, the Rep mayor of Carmel, In,etc on tv with strong support for the bill(especially the House version.) Maybe more thoughtful reporting/analysis might help. Washington pundits should take off the blinders and do some actual reporting out in the heartland and not just recycle the spin from Congress!

Obama is the first President I have ever listened to who answered the questions directly with courage and candor. Intelligent, informed and open he proved himself a statesman and leader. The President was not fear based and illusive and he exposed the "Political" tactics that subvert the "economics" needed to jump start this country.
It is so wonderful to have a smart person in the White House. When he used the word, "Bellicose," when discussing powers in the middle east, I almost fell off my chair.
I am a passionate American who is at last proud of my country for electing someone who has s sense of fairness and proportion.
Most sincerely,
Elisabeth Reed

THE PEOPLE ARE IN PAIN, AND PRESIDENT OBAMA KNOWS
IT, HE IS A VERY RESPECTFUL PRESIDENT, RIGHT NOW
PRESIDENT OBAMA IS LIKE A SHOT OF NOVACAINE WHEN
YOU HAVE A TOOTHACHE, THE GOVERNOR'S OF EACH STATE
AREN'T PLAYING PARTISAN POLITICS LIKE THEIR
SENATE COUNTERPARTS, THEY KNOW A GOOD THING WHEN
THEY SEE IT!
SHOW ME THE MONEY, THEY ALL SAY, PRESIDENT OBAMA
IS ATTEMPTING TO JUMPSTART AMERICA!
WILL SOMEBODY TELL THE FAT CATS WHAT HE IS DOING?
THEY KEEP LISTENING TO RUSH AND HANNITY, COLLEGE
DROPOUTS WHO EMBARASS AMERICA!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 9, 2009 9:05 PM.

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