WASHINGTON (CNN) - Interesting line, sounds like major aid for the auto industry is on the way: “…I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The speech is clearly aimed well beyond the House chamber. He is going step by step through why the banks need to be bailed out, and how it will help middle class families. Seems to me some of this is pushback against Americans grown weary of bailing out “big banks” or “Wall Street.” Thus the tough talk - “those days are over,” a likely reference to excessive spending of companies taking federal help - and the reassurances of his mission: “It’s not about helping banks - it’s about helping people.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Making sure the nation's lending industry is strong is crucial to jumpstarting its economy, President Barack Obama said Tuesday, even as he acknowledged anger over the government banking bailout Congress approved last year.
"I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you - I get it," Obama said in his first address to a joint session of Congress. "But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment.
He said he plans a new lending fund to provide college, auto and small-business loans and a housing plan that will help struggling families refinance and pay smaller mortgages. He said he wants to continue propping up the nation's largest banks when they're in danger, but will hold them accountable for how the money is spent.
"This time, CEOs won't be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet," Obama said.
"Those days are over."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday described the nation's financial woes as a "reckoning" for poor decisions made by both government and individuals.
"A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future," Obama said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress. "Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.
"People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day."
He said his economic agenda - which includes money to jumpstart job-creation and invest in green energy, health care and education - is a first step to turn things around.
"Now is the time to act boldly and wisely - to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity," Obama said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama apparently buys into that old slogan about never letting 'em see you sweat.
Despite the pressure of his first speech to a joint session of Congress at a time of national crisis, two senior aides tell me the President quietly had only one full dress rehearsal with a teleprompter at about 6pm ET in the White House's historic map room.
The significance is that predecessors like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush used to go through at least a few - maybe even several depending on the situation - dress rehearsals for a speech like this to get it just right. Just one session suggests a man feeling pretty confident despite the intensity of the crisis.
As one senior aide told me, "This moment in time needs clarity and a sense of purpose."
The White House has released the full text of President Obama's address to Congress this evening:
Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States:
I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.
I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others. And rightly so. If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has – a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family. You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.
(CNN) — The White House has announced the names of the more than two dozen guests who will join first lady Michelle Obama at the president's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
The list includes a range of political supporters, good Samaritans, members of the military, students, and citizens adversely affected by the nations flailing economy.
The White House highlighted three guests in particular earlier Tuesday, including an eighth-grader who wrote a letter to congressmen appealing for help in rebuilding her deteriorating school, a Miami banker who gave away $60 million of his own money to his employees, and a Miami-area bank teller.
Ty'Sheoma Bethea, a student at the J.V. Martin Junior High School in Dillon, South Carolina, was invited after a letter she sent lawmakers appealing for help rebuilding her school made its way to President Obama.
Obama referenced the school during his first press conference earlier this month as evidence of crumbling schools across the country.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - When the waiter reached for the plate, President Obama shook his head and smiled as he asked for a few more minutes. He had been talking to his guests, and had barely taken a bite of his lunch.
The new president was keeping with a longstanding tradition on days when the commander in chief delivers an address to a joint session of Congress: Around the table Tuesday sat television anchors and the Sunday morning interview program hosts and two senior aides. The location was the dining room in the White House residence.
Over lunch of lobster bisque and striped bass, it was a chance for the president to share his thoughts on the goals of Tuesday night's big speech and the challenges ahead. There were ground rules for the discussion: We are not allowed to quote the president or his senior aides directly.
In Washington journalism parlance, this is called "background" - what we heard was attributable to "senior administration officials." Or, the ground rules allow such constructions as, "The president is known to believe ..." or "The way the White House sees this is ..."
Some things we learned were policy-related, some more personal. Some highlights:
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Smoke from a clogged fireplace in Sen. Jon Kyl's Capitol office billowed into the second floor hallway around the Senate chamber for nearly a half hour Tuesday before workers finally used water and a bucket of sand to extinguish the fireplace blaze.
The fire never appeared to put anyone in danger, but heavy smoke caused alarm for senators, staff, and visitors in the Capitol, where security was heightened because of President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
"What's this all about?" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked as he stepped off the Senate floor to the smell of smoke.
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will pay back her state for travel expenses for nine trips with her children as part of a settlement of a 2008 ethics claim, the attorney who investigated the matter said Tuesday.
Anchorage lawyer Timothy Petumenos said Palin's office is still adding up the costs, but "I'm told it's running about $7,000." Palin acknowledged no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and her attorney said she has been "fully exonerated" by the investigation.
Complaints that Palin improperly took her children on state-paid trips first emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. The state Personnel Board hired Petumenos to investigate that claim and others filed during Palin's time on the GOP ticket.