Dec. 7: President-elect Barack Obama - Meet the Press | NBC News
Proposed Sept. The Treasury Department called for scrapping or softening some of the rules for banks and other financial firms put in place after the financial crisis. . 7. An Obama administration proposal that would have required airlines . A USDA rule that would have set standards for when meat and poultry can. On Oct. 7, the administration offered its first public comment on Russia's “active . A month later, Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world ambassador to the United States since , a career diplomat not. Chain email on Saturday, October 25th, in a widely circulated e-mail First, Obama was not on Meet the Press on Sept. 7. The guests were Joe Biden and Neither is Dale Lindsborg a reporter at the Washington Post.
You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. It's my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we as a Nation of warring people, should conduct ourselves as the nations of Islam, whereas peace prevails. Perhaps a state or period of mutual concord between our governments. When I become President, I will seek a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts.
The Coke theme song and more ridiculous allegations | PolitiFact
We as a Nation have placed upon the nations of Islam an unfair injustice. Together she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past, many years ago.
She has her views and I have mine. In 44 days, Barack Obama will become the 44th president of the United States. His new team is almost complete.
But since Election Daythe list of challenges facing the incoming president has only grown: Tough problems all waiting on the desk of our exclusive guest, the president-elect of the United States, Barack Obama. And yesterday in Chicago I did sit down with the president-elect, Barack Obama, to talk about those topics and much more. Great to be here. Very nice to have you with us.
As we saw in the opening, the world has gotten considerably worse since your election. There is no evidence that it's cause and effect, you should be happy to know. But, nonetheless, we now are officially in a recession. It's around the world, and most analysts think it's going to get worse before it gets better. Sixty-seven years ago this day, one of your predecessors, Franklin Roosevelt, faced Pearl Harbor. What are the differences between his challenges and the ones that you face?
Well, first of all, I think it's important for us to remember that as tough as times are right now, they're nothing compared to what my grandparents went through, what the "greatest generation" went through. You know, at this point you already had 25, 30 percent unemployment across the country, and we didn't have many of the social safety nets that emerged out of the New Deal. So there's no doubt that Franklin Roosevelt had to re-create an entire economic structure that had entirely collapsed, and we've got some strengths that he didn't, he didn't have.
But, look, if you look at the unemployment numbers that came out yesterday, if you think about almost two million jobs lost so far, if you think about the fragility of the financial system and the fact that it is now a global financial system, so that what happens in Thailand or Russia can have an impact here, and obviously, what happens on Wall Street has an impact worldwide, when you think about the structural problems that we already had in the economy before the financial crisis, this is a big problem and it's going to get worse.
And, and one of the things that I'm constantly mindful of are all the people I met during the campaign who were already struggling before things got worse. You know, mothers and fathers who were working hard every day but didn't have health care, couldn't figure out how to send their kids to college. Now they're looking at pink slips, jobs being shipped overseas that devastate entire towns. And that's why my number one priority coming in is making sure that we've got an economic recovery plan that is equal to the task.
Here's what you had to say a short time ago to the national conference of governors. It was kind of a reality check for them to put it in some kind of a context. Let's share that with our audience now, if we can. We're going to have to make hard choices. Like the ones that you're making right now in your state capitals, we're going to have to make in Washington. And we are not, as a nation, going to be able to just keep on printing money; so, at some point, we're also going to have to make some long-term decisions in terms of fiscal responsibility and not all of those choices are going to be popular.
On this program about a year ago, you said that being a president is 90 percent circumstances and about 10 percent agenda. The circumstances now are, as you say, very unpopular in terms of the decisions that have to be made. Which are the most unpopular ones that the country's going to have to deal with? Well, fortunately, as tough as times are right now--and things are going to get worse before they get better--there is a convergence between circumstances and agenda.
The key for us is making sure that we jump-start that economy in a way that doesn't just deal with the short term, doesn't just create jobs immediately, but also puts us on a glide path for long-term, sustainable economic growth. And that's why I spoke in my radio address on Saturday about the importance of investing in the largest infrastructure program--in roads and bridges and, and other traditional infrastructure--since the building of the federal highway system in the s; rebuilding our schools and making sure that they're energy efficient; making sure that we're investing in electronic medical records and other technologies that can drive down health care costs.
All those things are not only immediate--part of an immediate stimulus package to the economy, but they're also down payments on the kind of long-term, sustainable growth that we need. To give an indication of how quickly things change now, at warp speed, when you and I last saw each other, six weeks ago, I think it was, in Nashville, when I asked you your priorities, you said health care, energy and education would be your top three priorities.
You didn't anticipate at that time that you would have to outline this kind of a stimulus program. The real question in the stimulus program that you have just described and as you shared with, with the American audience in your radio address is how quickly will it mean jobs out there across America and how much is it going to cost and who's going to pay for it?
Well, I think we can get a lot of work done fast. When I met with the governors, all of them have projects that are shovel ready, that are going to require us to get the money out the door, but they've already lined up the projects and they can make them work. And now, we're going to have to prioritize it and do it not in the old traditional politics first wave. What we need to do is examine what are the projects where we're going to get the most bang for the buck, how are we going to make sure taxpayers are protected.
You know, the days of just pork coming out of Congress as a strategy, those days are over.
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How much it's going to cost? My economic team is examining that right now. And one of the things I'm very pleased with is how fast we've gotten a first-rate economic team in place, the fastest in modern history.
They are busy working, crunching the numbers, looking at the macro-economic data to make a determination as to what the size and the scope of the economic recovery plan needs to be. But it is going to be substantial. One last point I want to make on this is that we are inheriting an enormous budget deficit. You know, some estimates over a trillion dollars. That's before we do anything.
And so we understand that we've got to provide a, a, a blood infusion into the patient right now to make sure that the patient is stabilized, and, and that means that we, we can't worry short term about the deficit. We've got to make sure that the economic stimulus plan is large enough to get the economy moving.
One of the great concerns in this country, of course, is additional job loss, which would be considerable if the Big Three in the auto industry in this country--GM, Ford and Chrysler--were to go down. That drama has been playing out in Washington and across America. Do you think the Big Three deserve to survive? They have not managed that industry the way they should have, and I've been a strong critic of the auto industry's failure to adapt to changing times--building small cars and energy efficient cars that are going to adapt to a new market.
But what I've also said is, is that the auto industry is the backbone of American manufacturing. It is a huge employer across many states. Millions of people, directly or indirectly, are reliant on that industry, and so I don't think it's an option to simply allow it to collapse.
What we have to do is to provide them with assistance, but that assistance is conditioned on them making significant adjustments. They're going to have to restructure, and all their stakeholders are going to have to restructure. Labor, management, shareholders, creditors--everybody's going to recognize that they have--they do not have a sustainable business model right now.
And if they expect taxpayers to help in that adjustment process, then they can't keep on putting off the kinds of changes that they, frankly, should have made 20 or 30 years ago. If, if they want to survive, then they better start building a fuel-efficient car.
And if they want to survive, they, they've got to recognize that the auto market is not going to be as large as some of their rosy scenarios that they've put forward over the last several years. It's pretty clear that the Democrats are going to try to get them a bridge loan to get through the short term, but it's the long term that is the larger question here. A number of people--Paul Ingrassia, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from The Wall Street Journal has said we ought to have a government-structured bankruptcy and maybe even an automobile czar of some kind.
Does that kind of plan have any appeal for you? Well, there are a lot of discussions taking place right now between members of Congress, the Bush administration. I've had my team have conversations with these folks to see how can you keep the automakers' feet to the fire in making the changes that are necessary. But understand, these aren't ordinary times. You know, some people have said let's just send them through a bankruptcy process. Well, even as large a company as GM, in ordinary times, might be able to go through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, restructure, and still keep their business operations going.
When you are seeing this kind of collapse at the same time as you've got the financial system as shaky as, as it is, that means that we're going to have to figure out ways to put the pressure on the way a bankruptcy court would, demand accountability, demand serious changes.
But do so in a way that it allows them to keep the factory doors open. And, you know, right now there's a number of discussions about how to do that, and I hope that we're going to see some short-term progress in the next few days. My economic team is focused on what we expect to inherit on January 20th, and we'll have some very specific plans in terms of how to move that forward. But help me out here. Are you looking at the possibility of some kind of a government structure that runs that reorganization?
I--we don't want government to run companies. Generally, government historically hasn't done that very well. Not to run the companies but Well, what, what we do need is, if taxpayer money is at stake, which it appears may be the case, we want to make sure that it is conditioned on a auto industry emerging at the end of the process that actually works, that actually functions.
The last thing I want to see happen is for the auto industry to disappear. But I'm also concerned that we don't put 10 or 20 or 30 or whatever billion dollars into an industry, and then, six months to a year later, they come back hat in hand and say, "Give me more.
They're going through extraordinarily difficult times right now, and they want to see the kind of accountability that, that, that, unfortunately, we haven't always seen coming out of Washington.
But under that organization or any reorganization that you settle on Here's what I'll, I'll say, that it may not be the same for all the, all the companies, but what I think we have to put an end to is the head-in-the-sand approach to the auto industry that has been prevalent for decades now.
I think, in fairness, you have seen some progress made incrementally in many of these companies. You know, they have been building better cars now than they were 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. They are making some investments in the kind of green technologies and, and the new batteries that would allow us to create plug-in hybrids.
What we haven't seen is a sense of urgency and the willingness to make tough decisions. And what we still see are executive compensation packages for the auto industry that are out of line compared to their competitors, their Japanese competitors who are doing a lot better. Now, it's not unique to the auto industry.
We have seen that across the board. Certainly, we saw it on Wall Street. Figure out ways in which workers maybe have to take a haircut, but they can still keep their jobs, they can still keep their health care and they can still stay in their homes. That kind of notion of shared benefits and burdens is something that I think has been lost for too long, and it's something that I'd like to see restored.
Let's talk for a moment about consumer responsibility when it comes to the auto industry. As soon as gas prices began to drop, consumers moved back to the larger cars once again, to SUVs and the big gas consumers.
We're not going to have gasoline that you can just fill up your tank for 20 bucks anymore. Well, keep, keep in mind what's happening in--to families all across America. Yes, gas prices have gone down. But, in the meantime, maybe somebody in the family's lost their job. And so, you know, but who knows where this is going to go. You know, it's early in the process and the voters are going to make judgments about Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, and--but the truth is they're mostly going to make judgments about Barack Obama and John McCain.
Vice presidents are useful, but we're not, we're not determinative. Already people are saying no one has a tougher job in the base than Joe Biden. He has to go up against this woman and she has been teed up, in many ways, by the Republican Party as someone that you just can't go after And--but you know, I, I've debated an awful lot of tough, smart women. A woman who's a judge here in our superior court was one of my toughest opponents ever for the Senate. And there's a lot of very tough, smart women in the United States Senate I debate every day.
So in that sense it's not new. But what is new is I have no idea what her policies are. I assume they're the same as John's. I just don't know. She did get off to a very fast start the day after they left St. They were out in Wisconsin, at Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Here were just some of the signs. Huge lineup of women, some of them with their daughters. What brought you out here today? She's already so familiar to women that they're using her first name, Sarah.
Does that give your ticket a problem, because there was a dust-up obviously between the Hillary Clinton supporters and the Obama campaign?
Well look, I, I live with a lot of smart women. My wife is a professor and hard-working person. You know, I think it's kind of demeaning to suggest that all women are going to vote for a woman just because she's a woman even when she's diametrically opposed to everything Hillary stands for.
I mean, I hear this talk about, you know, is she going to pick up Hillary voters? Well, I--so far I haven't heard one single policy position, one single position that she has in common with Hillary. So I, I just think, you know, all folks are a little more discriminating than just merely whether or not it's the same sex or the same ethnicity or whatever.
But we'll see, we'll see. The truth is, I don't know. I want to move on in a moment, but there's another headline that appeared in the New York Post. Oprah Winfrey decided not to have Sarah Palin on the show before the election.
Oprah did come out for Barack Obama, did have him on the show. Do you think that some people will see that as an elitist position, that in some ways Democrats may be afraid of her, Sarah Palin? Oh, no, I don't think so. I mean, I think it's--well, I don't--look, that's for voters to decide. You're not going to see anything elitist--look, what you hear immediately from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, families off-limits and we mean it, that the personal stuff relating to some of the stuff that was popping out on, on the talk shows is just inappropriate.
She's going to be judged, I assume, the same way I'm going to be judged. What does she know, what does she think, what's her record, what's she going to do? And as I look down the road, that's how I've always debated whoever I've debated, including the really tough women I work with, smart women, in the Senate. So I, I, I really don't view this any differently. I may be surprised here down the road.
But, but, you know, I'm just looking forward to debating her. I mean, why--look, she had a great speech. But what was--her silence on the issues was deafening. She didn't mention a word about healthcare, a word about the environment, a word about the middle class.
They never parted her lips. I mean, so I don't know where she is on those things. Let's talk about the polls, if we can for a moment. I think we're at the end of stage three of a long campaign for president. You have candidates who announced, then you had the primaries, then you have the convention, then you have the debates and then you have the runoff which leads to the election. Here's what happened last week according to the Gallup Poll.
We're going to show you the tracking that went on. On Monday, you had about a six-point lead over John McCain. It went to an eight-point lead by Tuesday. But then it began to tighten up and by the time you got to Saturday, it was just two points separating the two of them. So it's fair to say, I think, that the Republicans got the bounce out of this convention that they wanted to get.
Oh, I, I think we got the bounce and they got the bounce and then it ended up right where it was before.
Look, Barack and I have never thought this was going to be anything other than a close election down to the wire. This is going to get down to, you know, I think we're going to be--you're going to be sitting up very late at night deciding I've done it before. I know you have. I hope--hopefully, you're not going to be in a position where we're going to be recounting anything. But look, I--we've assumed from the beginning this is going to be a close, tough race. This is a historic race.
You have not only in terms of the candidates, but the time. You said before the--if you don't mind me saying, we were sitting here, you said, "Look, John McCain had this gigantic number of people watching.
Barack had 38 and he had 39 million or whatever it was," but more than ever watched a convention. People are focused, man. Their lives, as they view it, their standing in the middle class, their standing in the world, depends on it. So I think this is going to be a very focused election. Will you send Hillary Clinton into those working class states that she won and where there are a lot of independents or the so-called Reagan Democrats who have not made up their minds, states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana, will she be a big player for this campaign for your candidacy in those states?
Well, I think she is a big player, and you know, as a matter of fact, I hope I'll be campaigning with her in some of those states, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. She's indicated she's prepared to do it. Bill Clinton's indicated to me he's prepared to go anywhere and campaign with us. That's a process being worked out now, how to mechanically do that.
But no, no, I think, I think Hillary's going to play a major role here. She's a major force in not only a Democratic Party, she's a major force in American politics. Side by side with Barack Obama and you, or will they go independently? My guess is all three. My guess is we'll occasionally be side by side with me, with Barack, and I imagine independently as well. As you know, earlier in the campaign, Barack Obama said that he would be willing to appear in town halls, a proposition put forth by John McCain, go around the country, appear two, three times a week in different venues, and then he decided not to.
He wanted to confine it to just three debates. Those numbers that we just referred to, 38 million people watching Senator Obama, 39 million watching McCain, 38 million watching Governor Palin the other night, that is an indication this country is really tuned in in a way that I can't remember maybe since Why not have town halls? Well, that's a little above my pay grade, to use the phrase. I mean, it's a decision the campaign made before I got on the campaign, before I was picked, but Do you think it's a good idea?
But--no, I think, I think you're going to learn more from having--look, you just got finished pointing out how many people watched this. I think those debates that are going to take place, the three critical debates between the two nominees, are going to be the most watched debates in the history of American politics, and I think people are going to get everything they need out of those debates, plus they're going to have an opportunity to--look, another reason why, in my view--I can't speak for the campaign, because I haven't gotten into--I mean, I just got on the ticket--is that, you know, we have a different focus.
For example, I'm headed to--we think we can win Montana. Now, you know, they'd like very much to not, not spend a lot of time in Montana and Virginia and another 12 states or so that were Republican states we think we can compete in and win. And so when you decide on doing, you know, a campaign, a town hall, you know, every week, what you do, you significantly constrain your ability to get to places where Democratic candidates haven't spent much time before.
Let's talk about some issues. Let's begin with Iraq if we can. There was an enlightening exchange this past week between Senator Obama at the top of the ticket and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, talking about the surge, which has been a point of contention in this debate. Bill O'Reilly said, "Why can't you acknowledge that the surge was a success.
Bill, what I've said is, I've already said, it succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, which is Right, so why can't you just say, "I was right in the beginning and I was wrong about the surge"? Because there is an underlying problem with what we've done.
We have reduced the violence He is talking about political reconciliation, but he also said that it has succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.
This was your take on the surge at that time, so let's listen to that, Senator. He may be the only one who believes that. Virtually no one else believes it's a good idea.
It's not a victory, as Senator Lindsey Graham said the other night Or as John McCain said. Or John McCain said, but the conditions are in place, and Anbar province, where you have been, where there had been so much difficulty, the Iraqis now have taken over that province. We have brigades that have Sunnis and Shia serving side by side But it's a process, and it's beginning, and the surge made that possible, did it not? The surge helped make that--what made is possible in Anbar province is they did what I'd suggested two and a half years ago: They turned over and they said to the Sunnis in Anbar province, "We promise you, don't worry, you're not going to have any Shia in here.
There's going to be no national forces in here. We're going to train your forces to help you fight al-Qaeda. The awakening was not an awakening by us, it was an awakening of the Sunnis in Anbar province willing to fight. Cooperating with the Shia. Cooperating with--no, they weren't cooperating with Shiite. They didn't cooperate with the Shiites.
Once the awakening got under way. No, they didn't cooperate with the Shiites. It's still--it's a big problem, Tom. You got--we're paying bucks a month to each of those guys. Now the problem has been and the, and the promise was made by Maliki that they would be integrated into the overall military. That's a process that is beginning in fits and starts now, but it's far from over. Far from--look, the bottom line here is that it's--let's--the surge is over.
Here's the real point. Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We're in a new deal. What is the administration doing? They're doing what Barack Obama has suggested over 14 months ago, turn responsibility over and draw down our troops.