Obama to work with Bush in confronting economic crisis (Third lead)

November 8th, 2008 - 5:58 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 8 (IANS) Declaring that restoring the nation’s economic equilibrium will be a priority of his administration, US president-elect Barack Obama has vowed to work with President George W. Bush in bipartisan spirit during transition.”I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead,” Obama told reporters Friday in Chicago in his first public remarks since election Tuesday. “We have taken some major action to date, and we will take further action.”

However, Obama pointed out “the United States has only one government and one president at a time”. And until January 20th of next year, that government is the current administration headed by President George W. Bush.

Expressing gratitude to President Bush for his invitation to White House and the promise the outgoing leader has made to keep him fully informed about the state of the nation, Obama said he would work together with Bush in bipartisan spirit to help the country move forward.

“I’ve spoken to President Bush. I appreciate his commitment to ensuring that his economic policy team keeps us fully informed as developments unfold. And I’m also thankful for his invitation to the White House,” he said.

Asked how would he respond when he disagrees with decisions Bush makes during the transition, Obama said when he goes to meet with the President Monday, “I’m sure that, in addition to taking a tour of the White House, there’s going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president.”

“I’m not going to anticipate problems. I’m going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship and a sense that both the president and various leaders in Congress all recognise the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done,” he said.

“The critical point and I think the critical tone that has to be struck by all of us involved right now is the American people need help. This economy is in bad shape. And we have just completed one of the longest election cycles in recorded history,” Obama said.

“Now is a good time for us to set politics aside for a while and think practically about what will actually work to move the economy forward. And it’s in that spirit that I’ll have the conversation with the president,” he added.

“Immediately after I become president, I’m going to confront this economic crisis head on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity,” Obama said.

Passing a stimulus package will be his first move if the lame-duck Congress fails to do so before he takes office Jan 20, he said.

“It’s not going to be easy for us to dig ourselves out of the hole that we’re in,” he said, flanked by Vice President-elect Joe Biden and members of his transition economic advisory board.

“But America is a strong and resilient country, and I know that we will succeed if we put aside politics and partisanship.”

Obama said he would move with “deliberate haste” to fill his Cabinet posts. “And I want to move with all deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize ‘deliberate’ as well as ‘haste’.”

“And I think it’s very important, in all these key positions, both in the economic team and the national security team, to get it right and not to be so rushed that you end up making mistakes,” he said.

“I’m confident that we’re going to have an outstanding team, and we will be rolling that out in subsequent weeks.”

Before the press conference, Obama and Biden met with a 17-member council of economic advisers. Among the panelists were former Treasury Secretaries Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and billionaire businessman Warren Buffett.

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