Obama seeks help for automakers, homeowners; jokes over family life

November 17th, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 17 (DPA) In his first interview as president-elect, Barack Obama called for help for the ailing US auto industry and for homeowners facing foreclosure amid the ongoing financial crisis.Obama appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes news programme Sunday in a wide-ranging interview that covered everything from terrorist threats to his relationship with his mother-in-law.

He said he had spent the days since his election focusing on getting a national security team in place due to the heightened risk of a terrorist attack during a political transition, as well as working with advisers on the economy and long-term issues like energy and health care.

As Congress prepares to discuss a bailout for the US auto industry, Obama, who resigned his Senate seat Sunday, said any plan must have conditions that ensure its long-term stability.

“For the auto industry to completely collapse would be a disaster in this kind of environment,” he said. “So it’s my belief that we need to provide assistance to the auto industry. But I think that it can’t be a blank cheque.”

He also vowed to institute a broader plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosures if one is not in place when he takes office.

When asked about developing programmes like those Franklin D. Roosevelt created to jump-start the economy, Obama stressed the differences between the periods.

“For us to simply recreate what existed back in the ’30s in the 21st century, I think would be missing the boat, We’ve got a come up with solutions that are true to our times and true to this moment,” he said.

In a lighter moment, Obama was joined by his wife, Michelle, to discuss making their home in the White House and adjusting to the idea of being the First Family.

Both Obamas said their top goal as a family is to maintain a sense of normalcy for their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.

The day after the election, Michelle Obama got them back into a normal schedule.

“It’s like okay, daddy’s president-elect, okay, we can get to school by 10. And we got to the school and the folks at the school were excited. Some people were cheering as I walked the kids to the class. And I remember Malia saying, ‘That’s embarrassing’. But you know, it was a pretty normal day for us,” she said.

Part of their efforts at keeping their daughters grounded may include having Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, move with them to the White House.

When the journalist asked about whether Robinson would join them, Obama retorted: “Well, I don’t tell my mother-in-law what to do. But I’m not stupid. That’s why I got elected president, man.”

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