Just three weeks into his new presidency, the heat is fully on Barack Obama: heat to win and launch an economic stimulus package; heat to save the American banking system; heat to explain and sell the speed and scale of government intervention to the American public.
Last night, President Obama stood before reporters on national television for his first full-dress press conference — and gravely warned of worse to come in the economy if a stimulus isn’t passed soon: "Even greater job loss, even greater loss of income, and even greater loss of confidence. Those are deficits that could turn a crisis into a catastrophe, and I refuse to let that happen."
Catastrophe. Not a word presidents use lightly. And today there’s more, on the American financial system, as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rolls out his new bank bailout.
It’s an all-hands-on-deck moment. This hour, On Point: Obama in the crucible, and the big push, from stimulus to bank bailout.
You can join the conversation. Is the president making his case? Does the country have a choice but to step in and try to stop the slide? Tell us what you think.Guests:
From Washington, we're joined by Gerald Seib, executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal, where he writes the Capital Journal column. He's co-author with John Harwood of “Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power.”
Joining us from Chicago is Raghuram Rajan, professor of finance at University of Chicago Booth School of Business and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Wall Street Journal profiled him as a prescient commentator on the economic crisis.
This program aired on February 10, 2009.