Obama To Hold Fiscal Responsibility Summit
By Chris Cillizza
President-elect Barack Obama will convene a "fiscal responsibility summit" in February designed to bring together a variety of voices on solving the long term problems with the economy and with a special focus on entitlements, he said during an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors this afternoon.
"We need to send a signal that we are serious," said Obama of the summit.
Those invited to attend will include Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (N.D.), ranking minority member Judd Gregg (N.H.), the conservative Democratic Blue Dog coalition and a host of outside groups with ideas on the matter, said the president-elect.
Obama's comments came in a wide-ranging, hour-long interview just five days before he is set to be inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States and become the first African American to hold that title.
Obama said that he has made clear to his advisers that some of the difficult choices -- particularly in regards to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare -- should be made on his watch. "We've kicked this can down the road and now we are at the end of the road," he said.
Finding ways to "stop the bleeding" in the American economy in the short term -- the primary vehicle of which will be his economic stimulus plan, currently wending its way through Congress -- and keeping the country safe are the top priorities for his first term, said Obama.
His plans to create or save 3 million American jobs will "stabilize the patient," Obama insisted, but resisted questions about how quickly the average American can expect to see tangible results from his economic policies.
"We are in uncharted waters here," Obama said. "I don't have a crystal ball."
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