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Obama Faces the Nation

When President Obama stands in the well of the House of Representatives, he will address a joint session of Congress -- and the American people -- at one of the most perilous times in its history. Despite today's triple digit Dow upswing, the economy is in free fall. Retirement savings are drying up. Jobs are disappearing. Homes are being lost. The nation is fearful and angry at the financial sector. And the president knows it. But don't expect Obama to preach gloom and doom or to stoke the populist fire that's raging against Wall Street.

At a background briefing for a clutch of opinion writers this morning, a senior White House official said that tonight's address will be a calibrated mix of cold reality and optimism that America will pull itself out of the economic hardship it faces. Obama wants to leave people more hopeful but mindful of the problems we face, the official said. Tonight's address, estimated to clock in around 60 minutes, will not revisit the history of how the U.S. got into the financial mess. It will focus, we were assured, on how the country will get out of it.

Look for the president to talk about how the massive stimulus package he signed into law is not the sum total of what needs to be done. The priority is to unlock the credit markets. The cash they're sitting on is what's needed to finance payrolls and procurements and other purchases that keep the economy humming. Obama will talk about the housing markets. And he will argue that while he has to cut the budget (in the name of long-term fiscal discipline), there are areas the nation must invest in for its long-term future. These areas include health care reform, energy independence and education. Because the president is expected to discuss international affairs at length later this week, the senior official said Obama will touch only briefly on foreign policy.

Woven throughout Obama's speech will be a call for accountability and responsibility. And true to tradition, watch for the president to cast his attention to the balcony to someone sitting with the first lady who exemplifies those attributes. Kathleen Parker already noted that Ty'Sheoma Bethea of Dillon, S.C., will be there. Also look for Leonard Abess Jr., CEO of City National Bank of Florida. He shared some of the $60 million in proceeds he received from the sale of the bank last November with employees. There could be others in the balcony who came to Obama's attention by way of the ten letters, culled from the thousands that arrive at the White House daily, that are given to him every day.

Over the last week, there have been grumblings from supporters, most notably former President Clinton, that Obama needs to up the optimism quotient when talking about the sorry state of the nation's economy. Much to my surprise, the Obama camp said they were thinking the same thing before that conventional wisdom became a sensation on cable television. But it's not like Obama has been dressed in a cloak and carrying a sickle every time he talked about the financial mess. Yes, he's been pretty blunt about things getting worse before they get better. (Sadly, that's been true of late). But he always insists that things will get better because that's the American way.

While we will get a strong dose of much-needed optimism in tonight's address, the senior White House official was right when he said that this wouldn't be a night for high-flying rhetoric. The president's job is to make sure the American people understand the problems the country faces. In just a few hours, we'll know if he succeeded.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 24, 2009; 5:21 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Mr. President Barack H. Obama, spoke with the up most elequence of any speaker, majority or minority, as he always masterfully do's.

He then proceeded to call on the Democrats, Republicans, economist, business representitives and unions leaders, inviting questions and comments. He referred to the group generally as "you guys" and casually addressed even the moth senoir lawmaker by first name.

The Democrat very purposely started with, perhaps, the likeliest of all people-the Republican he vanquished in last fall's election, John McCain.

"You know, he and I had some good debates about these issue's"Obama said-an understatement to be sure and one that drew laughter. He also praised the Arizona senator as "extraordinarily consistent and sincere about these issue's."

"Well, thank you, Mr. President,"McCain said and quickly delved into the issue of cost overruns on large government buy's. "You helicopter is going to cost as much as Air Force One."

Using the opportunity to talk of purchasing process "gone amok" Obama said he had ordered a thorough review of his new fleet of Marine One helicopters.

"The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me," Obama said wryly, inciting more laughter. "Of course, I've never had a helicopter before. So, you know, maybe I've been deprived and I didn't know it."


Posted by: opp88 | February 24, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"What's on TV tonight, honey?"

"President 0bama, whining about gloom and doom if he doesn't get his way."

"Sweet baby Jesus, is this a re-run? Didn't was have to sit through this malarkey once already? Pop in a DVD already!"

Posted by: NeverLeft | February 24, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse


10 min after the press said DEMS SAID FAIRNESS DOCTRINE IS OUT... We FOUND OUT Obama NEVER CLOSED IT PER SE, Obama LEFT it WIDE OPEN for the WASH DC SLUG PARTY to REVIVE IT under another Name.

This time they want to the FCC TO REVIVE SHARIA LAW in order to squelch FREE SPEECH by having the FCC bamboozle the public to claim that ADVISORS AND BOARDS ARE NEEDED BY CLAIMING THAT THEY ARE NEEDED TO PREVENT DISCRIMINATORY WORDING. Because they think AMERICANS are too stipid to realize that SHARIA LAW says it's punishible by death to anyone whom claims that murders, rapes terrorist acitvities of SHARIA LAW /mislim/islam are "bad". go see michelle malkin or act for

Posted by: moonstream1 | February 24, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse


HERE hr219 Hr 236 and VETS LOCKBOX LAW AND COLA WILL SUCCESSFULLY PROTECT SOC SEC AND MEDICARE AND MEDICAID (protects non-military too) and YET WASH DC SLUGS PREFER to TURN in an SOCIALIST healthcare which will let YOU NOT SOMEONE ELSE you/your child to DIE. how will this NATION silence the screams of people left to die. It's necessary legislation to OPPOSE STIMULUS NOW see Michelle Malkin Rutherford Institute, American Center for law and Justice, Campaign to Save SOC SEC and medicare (for non-military included) -A project of National Association of Uniformed Serv or googl HR 219, HR 236 AND

Posted by: moonstream1 | February 24, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse


Thomas Jefferson pretty well covered much about our situation today in two quotes made by him over 200 years ago. Our founders fathers feared what we are living today:

1. "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

2. "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."*

I don"t think the presidenr's clueless. I think he knows EXACTLY what he is doing. HE was tutored by communists and making a career of destroying the productive for benefit to the leeches. No, he knows what he is doing, alright. STIMULUS deprives YOUR children/adult/vets of meds and leaves you to SILENCE the SCREAMS without meds rather than pass HR 219 AND 236 to protect SOC SEC for military and non-military and vets lockbox law and cola to protect medicare WITHOUT RAISING taxes, and WITHOUT cutting services.ggogle HR 219, HR 236 and

Posted by: moonstream1 | February 24, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

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