(CNN) – For those who follow closely the words of President-elect Obama, Friday’s statement on alarming new jobless figures for the month of November sounded just a bit familiar — several lines were drawn directly from the script of his November 22 radio address. What hasn’t changed over the past two weeks: the infrastructure funding at the heart of his stimulus plan, and language calling for “immediate action” to address the nation’s economic woes. What seems to have shifted slightly in the new statement: the emphasis on exactly how immediate the president-elect believes this action should be.
“There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better,” Obama said in his November 22 radio address. “But January 20th is our chance to begin anew - with a new direction, new ideas, and new reforms that will create jobs and fuel long-term economic growth.”
But as the Dow continues to tank and jobless numbers continue to climb, the timetable seems to have been pushed up just a bit in Obama’s new statement: gone is the reference to Inauguration Day, still a month-and-a-half away — keeping the president-elect’s agenda framed strictly in the present tense. "There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it's likely to get worse before it gets better,” he said in his Friday statement. “But now is the time to respond with urgent resolve to put people back to work and get our economy moving again.”
The statement comes one day after the Associated Press reported comments by Democrats, including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, pressing Obama to take a greater immediate role in dealing with the nation’s financial crisis.
"He's going to have to be more assertive than he's been," Frank told a meeting of consumer advocates, according to the AP. "At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time. I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He's got to remedy that situation."
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd struck a similar note late last month, telling Connecticut reporters shortly before Thanksgiving that "the Obama team has to step up."
"In the minds of the people, this is the Obama administration. I don't think we can wait until January 20," he said.
Just a few days later, Democratic congressional aides told CNN the Obama administration needed to step up its efforts on the Hill right away if they hoped to have a package ready for the new president to sign immediately after taking office.