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Obama on Washington, Washington on Obama

From President Obama's remarks last night at a Democratic fundraiser at the Warner Theater:

"Every once in a while we like to get out of this town. (Laughter.) Not because I don't enjoy Washington, but because it is important to get out of the hall of mirrors here -- (laughter) -- and listen to what's happening with the American people The same concerns that I read about -- I've taken the habit of reading a sampling of letters that are sent to the White House every single night, just to remind myself of why we worked so hard and why we are here. All of these letters, all of these comments and questions I get at town halls, they ask the same question: What are you going to do in Washington to -- to not give us a hand out, but give us a hand up; to help us figure out how we can manage through these difficult times? We are willing to work hard, we are willing to take our responsibilities seriously; we just want to make sure that our families have their chance at the American Dream.

"[O]ver the past two months, we’ve been working to answer that question with a comprehensive strategy to attack the crisis on all fronts. And I know that in Washington sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day cable chatter, and be distracted by the petty and the trivial, and everybody is keeping score -- are they up, are they down? You know, one day I'm a genius; one day I'm a bum. (Laughter.) Every day there's a new winner, a new loser....

"So what we understand is there are going to be days where things don't go exactly the way we planned, and days where things go smoothly. There are going to be days where the market goes up, and days where the market goes down. But that's not how we measure success. We measure economic recovery in a different way. And we're seeing progress all across America -- because we measure recovery by how many Americans can bring home a paycheck that helps them make ends meet....

"We measure recovery whether -- by whether families can keep their own piece of the American Dream."

And is "We can't wait" the new "Yes we can"?

Obama: "Now, let me just say that there are those who say, you know, you're taking on too much; say the budget is too ambitious, we should only focus on one problem at a time."

Audience: "Nooo!"

Obama: "But we know -- we're smarter than that. (Applause.) We know the challenges are too big to ignore. That single mom out there trying to figure out whether she can have health care for her family -- she doesn't think -- "

Audience Member: "She can't wait."

Obama: "She cannot wait. (Applause.) I'm not going to wait until we've got another $4-a-gallon gasoline before suddenly everybody says, why don't we have an energy policy? We can't wait. (Applause.) I'm not going to wait until suddenly we find out that our children can't compete for the jobs of the future. That's why we're going to fix education now, not later. We can't wait. (Applause.)"

Meanwhile, Dan Balz wonders on washingtonpost.com: "Will slow and steady win the race?"

Balz writes: "It might be too much to call him the plodding president. But there is a distinct clash between the culture of cable, which demands instant action from and renders instant judgments on politicians, and the style of the new president, which is to try mightily to resist succumbing to those pressures.

"It's easy to think of this president as the embodiment of the Internet age. His campaign skillfully exploited new media to build a nationwide network of donors, volunteers and advocates. This is the president who demanded that he keep his BlackBerry, which is symbolic of the always-on, always-connected culture that accelerated the flow of information.

"But he learned from his campaign that the velocity of information can instantly change the conventional wisdom, for better or worse, and that there is no more to be gained from trying to anticipate those shifts than from trying to time the market....

"Obama's press conference was a reminder that he hopes to operate on a different clock than the 24/7 media culture that surrounds him and his advisers. Part of that is strategic, an effort to buy time. He has said from the moment he was elected that it would take a long time to fix the problems of the economy and repeated that in his opening statement on Tuesday night. 'It will take many months and many different solutions to lead us out,' he said. 'There are no quick fixes and there are no silver bullets.'...

"Whether things are truly moving in the right direction -- and whether, if they are, it is thanks to his policies or other, larger forces at work in the economy -- are questions that can't yet be answered. Obama's message Tuesday was interpreted as 'trust us and give us time' -- but what he really seemed to be saying was, 'I trust myself.'"

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 26, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Obama v. D.C.  
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Next: Some Alternate Questions for Obama

Comments

Moreover, 'we the people' [who worked so hard to see that he won the presidential election] also trust him. We know he inherited a terrible mess to clean up after W and his Criminal Gang of thieves, and we know he has had nothing but a battle with the GOP legislature since they have become the party of 'NO', but we also know he is strong and he will work his butt off for us. I refuse to give up on him 'until or unless' I see him give me a good reason to stop trusting him. During these past two months, he has done nothing to quell my trust in him, and I frankly don't believe he will.

Posted by: MadasHelinVA | March 26, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama isn't asking for red to help fight the battle, he is only asking for green. Be thankfull that is all you will be sacrificing in his war. It's time to move this country forward.

Posted by: OldManTalking | March 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama: "Now, let me just say that there are those who say, you know, you're taking on too much; say the budget is too ambitious, we should only focus on one problem at a time."

After learning in the last several years that I apparently wanted to offer therapy sessions to the 9/11 hijackers and that I thought it was an outrage that Bush didn't land Air Force One in New Orleans the day after Katrina, I have to say it is damned refreshing to hear a president utter the phrase "there are those who say.." and follow it up with a factual representation of what has actually been said.

Too bad the American Taliban did nothing to deserve such fair treatment, but c'est la vie.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 26, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Obama didn't say anything the media considered newsworthy, but the public apparently disagrees. They have questions that need answers. Obama's confident demeanor goes a long way in reassuring a nervous public.

Obama is working hard to get policies in place, but at every turn he is running into opposition from the republicans, the media and now some moderate democrats.

Republicans are all over the airwaves complaining, shouting, yelling to get attention. They manipulate facts or simply make up stuff to scare an already frightened public. Without bothering to check their veracity the media are all too happy to regurgitate GOP talking points.

By taking to the internet, making public appearances and using every venue possible to get his message out Obama cuts through the noise and distractions. That is why people aren't buying what the republicans are peddling. They do, however, like and want what Obama is selling.

People are suffering everywhere. They need to know what their President is doing to get the economy back on track and people back to work, to make health care affordable, to improve education along with a host of other issues. By explaining how he intends to that is very reassuring for most Americans. And Obama exuding confidence reinforces that.


Posted by: serena1313 | March 26, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

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