February 6th, 2009
07:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama fires up House Democrats


Watch the President's spirited defense of the Democratic stimulus package being considered by the Senate.

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that "the scale and the scope" of his economic plan is right, turning up the heat on critics he said were hawking "phony arguments" and "false theories of the past" to chip away at the bill's programs.

Watch: The President comes out swinging

"Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis," the president said at the House Democrats' annual retreat in Williamsburg.

"We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," he said. "We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees.

"I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV - if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction."

The Democrats welcomed the president with frequent interruptions for applause as he took on criticisms of the bill.

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soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. BB

    We're unemployed and watching Republicans and Democrats very carefully.

    2010 – will they return??? Or become unemployed???

    February 6, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Deborah

    This is the person I voted for! Fight for me, fight for the American people. Stop trying to play nice in the sandbox - you tried that and got sand thrown in your face. The American people voted you into office to change the direction of this country and now we wanted it changed. When you fight for us, I'm behind you 100%..

    February 6, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Obama Victim

    one fool talking to a bunch of fools.............would be funny.....if it weren't so sad

    February 6, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Political Queen

    Now this is what we need! President Obama is doing what he needs to "get things together" for the betterment of America. This is foolish. The republicans are showing just how flexible their willing to be. The tone was completely appropriate. He was just where he needed to be last night. I was impressed. He is willing to negotiate, as he should, but he is unwilling to wavering on the best interest of the American people, (which doesn't only consist of the top 2 percent who have benefited tremendously over the last eight years). Stay the course Obama, and make believers of the naysayers.

    Fired up and ready go!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 6, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. priscilla

    don't let them explain your policies. if they were wise why didn't they help Bush or advice him.

    February 6, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Beverly, NYC

    Take it to them Mr. President. Your first mistake was thinking you were dealing with adults. The Republicans are more concerned with their winter break and lobbyist paid junkets than Country First. Maybe when some of their member sare looking for new jobs in 2010 the others will see the light.

    February 6, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. NashvileCat

    I thought we weren't going to legislate by fear. More campaign rhetoric down the tubes.

    How is "The plan of action on the economy is not my opinion, it's the opinion of the best economists around" different than "The plan of action on WMD in Iraq is not my opinion, its the opinion of the best intelligence agencies around?"

    Change you can believe in.

    February 6, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Obama Victim sux

    how fast did you learn to hate? The man's been in office two weeks and three days...

    February 6, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. lilacs

    Mr.president you tried bipartainship, the republicans refused to play now tell them to sit down, shut up and get out of the way, you are doing the people works. No dont let the obstructionist keep running the mouths. America voted for progress not obstuctionist. YES WE CAN!

    February 6, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. tk in IL

    What all this is going on during a democrat "retreat"? Wonder what the pricetag of that event is. He sounds like a school teacher scolding a playground of school children. How is he supposed to gain support like this? Where are the Republicans? On their own retreat? Or does he feel that by participating in the Dem retreat and excluding the Rep. he's gaining ground on cooperation which isn't that really be what should be happening?

    February 6, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Otis

    Don't be fooled, America. This "stimulus" package will not work. We keep going deeper and deeper into debt and money like this keeps going to big corporations and the rich.

    $500 per person? Do you really think this will solve anything? Try analyzing how fast you can spend $500 in a month. My bet is it's easier than you think.

    February 6, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. RJ

    And where did he give this "motivational speech"?
    At a LUXURY retreat for the House Democrats.
    Hypocrites... bashing Wall St. for their excess while wasting MY tax dollars on the EXACT SAME THING!
    I think we already pay for a rather large domed building for them to perform their job in. There is no need to take it off site.

    And I agree, this is not a game. So Mr. President, tell your fellow Dems to stop acting like they won the lottery and put together a REAL stimulus bill, not this joke of a spending bill.

    February 6, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Regular Citizen

    Mr President, I did not vote for you. But you are my President now. I will support you with the ways I can- However, how could you brought he high profile TAX INVADERS into your Cabinet Team? where is the REAL CHANGE that you have promised to all US citizen?

    February 6, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    2010 will see more republicans lose their job's.

    February 6, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Jay

    Take it to them American people. Our first mistake was thinking we were dealing with adults. The Democrats are more concerned with their winter break and lobbyist paid junkets than Country First. Maybe when some of their member start looking for new jobs in 2010 the others will see the light.

    February 6, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. DENTRI

    Fear Mr obama ,you blame Bush for the somenthing you doing right now.Partisanship.Tell your comunist party to stop put in this stimulus park and stupid spending.I see you go to hail your party...You are A Joke Mr Obama.All your cabint is full of people don't pay taxes.Labor Department then IRS,Health Care,The Czar....This is change we can believe.You got your share

    February 6, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Al

    Too late to change directions, Mr. Precedent. Regardless of who pointed the vehicle at the cliff, you're driving now.

    February 6, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Nicki

    Instead of hearing about nonsense....Why haven't I received a response from the 40 Republican Senators I wrote asking whether they would be willing to not accept any money for their state if they chose to vote against this bill..


    February 6, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Mike in Houston

    The failed policy of the past (see: Jimmy Carter, LBJ) is what Obama is proposing.

    If the spending of the last 8 years doubled out national debt and "threw our economy into a tailspin"; why does Obama believe that spending even faster (i.ei. doubling down on the "failed policy") is the correct course of action.


    February 6, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Beverly, NYC

    Jay February 6th, 2009 10:40 am ET: Typical Republican, no original thoughts.

    February 6, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. former CA resident

    look this was a party-only affair, so there had to be some red meat, but the other things the new team has been doing (confrontational Wash Post letters-to-editor by the President), lack of direct negotiation by WH staffers, poor contacts with opposition) are NOT tactics that are appropriate in the Honeymoon period, especially if it is expected to effectively conduct business next year or the year after

    February 6, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Slap'em

    Obama has to stop talking nice to the Repugs as they don't understand civility. All they know is thuggery. So give them what they deserve, a kick in the @#$. They don't care about anything but trying to gain power in the 2010 and beyond elections. If you succeed then we all succeed, but the Repugs don't see it that way.
    Lintball spoke the Repug truth, they want you – and therefore all of us – to fail.

    February 6, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Al Phillips

    Question to all the Republicans that believe a tax cut is the answer to ever economic problem for the past 25 years. What good is a tax cut to a person who doesn't have an income to be taxed to begin with. We are already in debt up to our eyeballs so why not give the plan a chance. If it fails then you can shout out "I told you so nah nah nah boo boo"

    February 6, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Danny in Chicago

    The Republican party is still dead whether they try to paint a new 'black face' on their ideas or not.

    I can't believe people on this blog, and I know CNN just puts fuel in the fire!

    February 6, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |