Obama presses for action on his plan to jumpstart economy

November 9th, 2008 - 10:42 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 9 (IANS)Picking up the theme from his first news conference, US President-elect Barack Obama used his first radio address since winning the presidency to press for action on his proposals to restore the economy.In the weekly Democratic radio address Saturday, Obama hit upon key points that he made a day earlier, saying that he recognises “we only have one president at a time,” but that “we don’t have a moment to lose.”

Noting that nearly 1.2 million Americans have lost their jobs this year- including 240,000 in October - the president-elect said “their stories are an urgent reminder that we are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime, and we must act swiftly to resolve them.”

Obama outlined priorities he plans to emphasise after taking office Jan 20:

First, Obama said, the country needs “a rescue plan for the middle class” that creates jobs. Then his new administration will address how the financial crisis has affected other sectors of the economy.

It also will evaluate the bailout plan that Congress passed last month to make sure it is working properly and “not unduly rewarding the management of financial firms that are receiving government assistance.”

In addition, he said, an Obama administration will pursue policies meant to grow the middle class and strengthen the economy.

“We can’t afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign, including clean energy, health care, education and tax relief for middle-class families,” Obama said.

Obama also called on the Democratic controlled Congress to pass an economic stimulus package, which President Bush has not yet committed to supporting.

“Let me close by saying I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead,” Obama said. “We’ve taken some major actions to date, and we will need further actions during this transition and subsequent months.

“Some of those choices will be difficult, but America is a strong and resilient country. I know that we will succeed if we put aside partisanship and work together as one nation. And that is what I intend to do.”

President George Bush in his customary radio address Saturday, congratulated the American people for voting Tuesday and Obama for his election.

“I told him that he can count on my complete cooperation as he makes his transition to the White House,” he said. “Ensuring that this transition is seamless is a top priority for the rest of my time in office.”

Bush also promised to help the Obama administration “hit the ground running”, saying “Our country faces economic challenges that will not pause to let a new president settle in.”

Obama noted that Bush had “graciously offered his full support and assistance in this period of transition”.

“This speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America we can compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other’s ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done,” he said.

“And that is particularly important at a moment when we face the most serious challenges of our lifetime,” Obama said.

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