With a ‘lame-duck’ Bush in charge, Obama worries all night

November 27th, 2008 - 10:33 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 27 (IANS) Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President-elect Barack Obama says he is kept awake at night worrying about what will happen to the country over the next 60 days while a “lame duck” is in charge.”There are a lot of things that keep me up at night,” he told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in an interview about his preparation to take over from President George W. Bush Jan. 20

“One of the concerns I have is that the economy is so weakened that the next 60 days are going to be difficult because we’ve got a president who, even though he may mean well, is now sort of in lame-duck status [and] Congress isn’t in [session].”

“And I don’t have the reins of power,” Obama added.

The president-elect said he and his team would carefully review the way the Bush administration distributes bailout funds to Wall Street banks seeking emergency assistance.

“I’m not president yet, so I don’t know yet how much more money is going to be spent. I’m going to scrutinise very carefully how that money is spent. If the Bush administration chooses to draw down that money, then I’m going to have something to say about whether it’s doing it wisely,” he said.

Obama, who won a stunning victory by promising change, tried to dampen expectations of what’s going to happen when he takes charge saying, “I am not a miracle worker.”

The executives at those companies who have taken federal loans should act responsibly with the tax payers’ money, Obama said chiding Wall Street executives who sought multimillion dollar bonuses and the leaders of Detroit’s Big Three automakers who last week flew to Washington aboard private jets to ask Congress for a bailout.

“Captains of industry” on Wall Street and in Detroit who took advantage of corporate perks while their companies benefited from government loans paid for with taxpayers’ money, don’t have “any perspective on what’s happening to ordinary Americans,” he said.

Obama, who will become America’s first black president, shrugged off any suggestion that his history making role put him in any added danger.

“I don’t think about it partly because I’ve got this pretty terrific crew of Secret Service guys that follow me everywhere I go,” he said.

“But also because, you know, I have a deep religious faith, and a faith in people that, you know, carries me through the day. And my job is just to make sure I’m doing my job, and if I do I can’t worry about that kind of stuff,” he told ABC.

Obama said he was concerned that the isolated life of a president would limit his access to information from outside the bubble of the White House.

“One of the things that I’m going to have to work through is how to break through the isolation-the bubble that exists around the president,” he said as the often hermetic environs of the White House sometimes lead presidents to lose touch with their constituents.

“One of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day … ” he said. “I want to make sure that I keep my finger on the pulse of the struggles that people are going through every day.”

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