Obama’s message: ‘We are not quitters’

To a nation reeling from recession and facing long-festering problems, President Barack Obama has a simple reminder: "We are not quitters."

Whatever the problems, the new president promised in the first prime-time speech of his term, "We will rebuild, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."

Standing before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, Obama optimistically sketched an agenda that began with jobs, then broadened quickly to include a stable credit system, better schools, health care reform, reliable domestic sources of energy and an end to the war in Iraq. Specifics will follow, he said, although he conceded more billions may be necessary to stabilize the banking system.

The president drew loud cheers as he made his way down the center aisle, again when he stood, alone, at the podium to speak, and several more times in an address delivered in a hall packed with lawmakers, members of his administration, Supreme Court justices and diplomats.

Humorous and poignant moments took their turns on a night when virtually the entire government gathered under one heavily secured roof.

As when Obama explained his decision to have Vice President Joe Biden oversee implementation of his stimulus plan by saying, "Nobody messes with Joe."

Or when he urged lawmakers to pass education legislation named in part for Massachusetts’ Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, battling brain cancer. The 77-year-old lawmaker "has never stopped asking what he can do for his country," Obama said, rephrasing an enduring line from President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 inaugural address.

Little more than one month into the president’s term, the speech followed congressional passage of an $787 billion stimulus bill, coincided with pending proposals to stem an epidemic of mortgage foreclosures and served as prelude to a budget Obama pledged will cut projected deficits in half by the end of his term.

The new president submits his tax and spending plans to Congress on Thursday.

With solid Democratic majorities in both houses, Obama can count on a reliable base of support as he pushes his agenda. But his drive for bipartisanship depends in part on his standing in the polls — strong so far — and his speech was aimed at lawmakers as well as the viewing public.

"What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more," he said.

Republicans said they were ready to work with Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress — up to a point.

"Where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, tapped by party leaders to deliver the GOP response.

Jindal, the first Indian-American governor in history, also took the opportunity to pledge to voters his party would try to regain their trust after an election in which Democrats not only won, elevating the first African-American to the White House, but strengthened their majorities in Congress.

"We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share," he said.

The president seemed to do a little political positioning of his own.

He said the recently passed stimulus legislation was designed to "put people back to work and put money in their pockets. Not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t." And despite what his critics claim, he said, no family with an income of less than $250,000 would face higher taxes because of his plan.

While Obama’s speech was short on specifics, his remarks hinted at legislative battles ahead with Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress.

He said he had already identified $2 trillion in savings to be achieved over the next decade, adding: "We will end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them. We’ll eliminate no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq."

He also pledged to "root out the waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier," an apparent reference to the subsidies the government pays to private insurance companies offering an alternative to traditional Medicare under a program long nourished by Republicans.

11 Responses to "Obama’s message: ‘We are not quitters’"

  1. woody188  February 25, 2009 at 10:19 am

    He does speak better than the last President. But talk is cheap when his actions seem to be pointing us in the same direction as the Bush Administration. I don’t see how they intend to accomplish his outlined goals and cut the projected deficit in half. We’ll see Thursday…

  2. John1172002  February 25, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    What does Bobby Jindal, who gave the Republican rebuttal think?
    See here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iinicQ8mzo

    John1172002

  3. griff  February 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Just look at those smug, pathetic vampires. The tickets to this show keeps getting more expensive, although the acting is better than ever. Actors, people. They know nothing but how to lie, cheat, and steal.

  4. gazelle1929  February 25, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    “J. . . those smug, pathetic vampires.”

    And that’s just the naysayers and doom-criers on CHB.

  5. Carl Nemo  February 25, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I understand your sentiments griff and had similar thoughts too. The only thing our Congress is cleared to do is squander evermore tax-debtor money.

    Many if not most of the schmoozing characters at last nights joint “lovefest” aren’t feeling any pinch as a result of the banking debacle, but seem to have endless euphemisms at the mike or when interviewed by CNN and other MSM outlets as to how they’re going to solve our problems…NOT!

    I noticed too that they are still obsessed with the idea of handing over more tax-debtor dollars to the bankers in order to increase debt liquidity. As far as accountability is concerned, I say “show me” your plan for enforcement prior to even one buck being disbursed to this cabal of arch banking criminals.

    Bushco gave us their engineered war in Iraq with a last minute driveby holdup of the U.S. Treasury by facilitating the theft of 78 billion dollars from the first half of the 700 billion TARP package!

    Now the Democrats have the authorization to stick us up for almost 800 billion much of which will end up down a rathole too and surely with a goodly portion siphoned off into the pockets of shadowy party sponsors. It’s my hope they can’t raise most of the money without paying very stiff interest rates to foreign investors which will be a good thing for new issue bond investors. I’m hoping to see at least 8 percent on the long bond within a year or less.

    I predict a DOW of 5000 or less by the end of this year with unemployment in the range of 15-20 percent while these same Congressional clowns will be shaking us down for more debt bucks. Informed citizens will shout not only no, but hell no and they’ll pass another bill anyway regardless of negative public sentiment.

    “WE the people” mean nothing to them once they hit D.C. It’s all about them and their committment to the facilitation of globalism, consequences be damned…!

    It seems they won’t be satisfied until there’s blood in the streets and martial law is the order of the day. They are seemingly hell bent on destroying America regardless of President Obama’s feelgood, high order oratory. Possibly he’s an honest man with sincerity concerning his recovery plans, but then again he just might be another “silver-tongued” devil facilitating our national demise.

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. AustinRanter  February 25, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Gazelle…you do have to admit, it was somewhat like watching about 600 folks who appeared to posture being rock stars…or the like.

    O’ We the little People…we do love to give our praises and adore our politicians.

    I particularly loved all of the Congress and staff members who lined up for Obama’s autograph. You’d think all they have to do is just go to the White House…and take advantage of the open door policy. Oh, hmmmm, wait, that’s Biden’s policy, not Obama’s.

  7. almandine  February 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Well Carl, I think your long bond play will fizzle. Good luck.

    As for Obama, I agree he’s an enigma.

  8. Carl Nemo  February 25, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Almandine,

    Starting in the last quarter of 2008 there was massive purchasing of treasuries as foreigners perceived the purchase of these instruments as a move to safety. The USD has come off its lows too after a relentless decline since 2001.

    Europe is a basket case as well as Britain. They’ve loaned even more than the U.S. and have leveraged themselves no differently than the U.S. in offshore bad bets to the tune of trillions of Euro’s and Brit pounds. The British pound just took a beating leaving many in a state of shock. When this all shakes out, FOREX experts are predicing a sub dollar Euro possibly as low as .85 to the dollar. Unfortunately for them their perceived flight to safety; ie., the dollar and its financial instruments such as the U.S. Treasury bond, notes etc. will turn out to be not such a safe haven.

    I’m going to supply a Commodities Research Bureau weekly chart of the U.S. Treasury contract. Assuming many people don’t understand treasury bond yields they should be informed that when you see a rising plot it means the interest rate yields are less and when it start declining it means the interest paid (yield) is higher.

    http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/TR/W?1235620086

    One can see how there’s been a stampede to the perceived safety of U.S. Treasuries, but notice how recently it’s made a “waterfall” decline with the result being that people that bought these instruments starting from last October til its recent deline have had their heads handed to them. Within about six weeks they lost several thousand bucks on each 10,000 denominated bond.

    They bought U.S. bonds with money earned from China’s export boom. They scooped up bonds with money gleaned from the savings of millions of Japanese families … with government money … oil money … even drug money. Saudi sheiks, Euro and Asian banking entities they’ve lost a bunch on their bond investments and it’s going to get worse as more and more of the deep pockets bond investors shy away from U.S. debt.

    So the bond auctions are headed for some serious chop as those with the money are going to shy away from our debt. Many are selling off their bonds and moving to their last bastion for safety; ie., T-Bills which pay zilch for interest and gold which which is highly volatile.

    If our profligate government wishes to finance President Obama and his “dream team”‘s vision for our recovery then we the tax-debtors will have to pay stiffer vigorish/interest in order to entice investors to sink hundreds of billions more into our rotten economic paradigm.

    Carl Nemo **==

  9. griff  February 25, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    He’s a stooge. They’re all stooges. They don’t get to where they are if they’re not stooges. Wake the hell up alresdy. Why is it so difficult to understand? Not you, of course, but the rest. You’re being played you damned idiots. Wake the hell up already.

  10. woody188  February 26, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Hi Carl,

    My wife picked 5000 DOW too. I had that pegged for the floor a few months ago but I’m revising downward now, probably 3000. I’m even starting to see a few goose eggs being predicted out there. I can’t imagine what may come should zero really occur.

  11. Carl Nemo  February 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Woody188,

    There won’t be a zero DOW, but it does have a lot of downside potential at this point in time. I thought I’d supply a historical chart from 1900 to present.

    http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/djia1900.html

    One can see that starting in 1982 during the Reagan era with a DOW in the 800 range followed by 20 years of “conservative” republican rule, the DOW relentlessly climbed to it’s peak in the 14,000 range. When Bill Clinton took office it was in the 3000 range which isn’t all that long ago, so before Obama steps out of office and in the event he has no luck in turning things around we could see DOW 3000. Truly horrific from those with 401k’s, but anyone who’s still invested in stocks at this time including imagined “green plays” are putting their capital at high risk. The basic rule is to buy strength and to sell weakness any place along the demonstrated trend and to never try to nail tops and bottoms in markets or individual stocks.

    This rise in the DOW is attributed to intentional market engineering on behalf of the Federal Reserve and the “rethug” party’s love affair with the MIC, the “oil patch” and the waging of adventuristic wars for their benefit. America has enjoyed prosperity as a function of their spendthrift ways, but its been synthetic properity because the paradigm has been built on evermore debt. Now, very hungry “debt chickens” are coming home to roost.

    The overall market is like a tide and takes all boats down with it when it ebbs, or up when it rises. So to fight the trend of the overall market with risky individual plays is not too smart. They’d be better of being totally flat in U.S. Treasury only money market funds and if they wish to invest then to buy “inverse” ETF’s (Exchange Traded Funds) which are struck against most sectors worldwide. You buy them on market rallys to overhead resistance and then sell them at the bottom of the next leg down. You must be nimble though and sell them “market on close” on a major down day so you can enjoy the gains made from the downdraft and then wait for another hope beyond all hope rally to overhead resistance, then purchase more inverse ETF’s for the next leg down which will assuredly come. You don’t trade bear markets as you would bulls. Many people still refuse to believe we are in a solid bear market. History and the moment proves otherwise.

    Carl Nemo **==

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