February 6th, 2010
01:35 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama exhorts Democrats to stay 'steady' and 'focused'


President Obama addressed the DNC Winter meeting Saturday. (Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - President Obama on Saturday defended his party's efforts to shore up America's battered economy and exhorted his fellow Democrats to stay steady and focused in the face of grassroots restlessness.

"Everything we've done over the past year has been not only to right our economy, to break the back of this recession, but also to restore some of the security of middle-class families had felt slipping away for over a decade now," Obama said, speaking at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting.

"Some of the steps we took were done without the help of the other party, which made a political decision all too often to jump in the back seat, let us do the driving, and then critique whether we were taking the right turns," he said.

Obama worked to buck up his party members, urging them to get behind his agenda and continue efforts to develop societal remedies. The president listed accomplishments during his first year, citing almost $300 billion in tax relief, tax cuts for small businesses and people, a credit card bill of rights, and foreign policy strides. He also said health care reform is still on the table.

"Just in case there's any confusion out there, let me be clear," Obama said. "I am not going to walk away from health insurance reform."

High unemployment, widespread mortgage foreclosures, a diminishing tax base in cities and states have frustrated Americans, and the president said citizens have been "outraged" that the administration has been focusing on bank bailouts. However, he added that the resentment is misplaced because his bailout efforts prevented more job losses and foreclosures.

"The real outrage is that we had to do it in the first place in order to fend off the collapse of the financial system. That's the outrage," he said, saying that the country can't return to the "dereliction of duty that helped deliver this recession."

Obama mentioned last week's meeting with the House Republicans, a nationally televised give-and-take that the president called "a robust debate."

He said it's important to find agreement whenever possible.

"Some issues Democrats and Republicans just don't see eye to eye on. That's how democracy works. But there have to be some issues on which we can find common ground. it's one thing to disagree on principle.

Obama's remarks come on the heels of a new Labor Department report indicating that the national unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent to 9.7 percent in January.

He proposed a series of steps to support small business, such as taking $30 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP money to create a lending fund for small businesses.

Programs like that would help spark job creation, he said Saturday during his weekly address.

"To give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs, I've proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as the elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment," Obama said, urging both Democrats and Republicans to put their heads together on legislation addressing the issue.

In the Republican Saturday address, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said Democrats last year promised more jobs and said unemployment would remain below 8 percent with their stimulus legislation.

"Americans are still asking, 'where are the jobs? Where are the jobs?' But all they are getting from Washington is more spending, more taxes, more debt and more bailouts."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Enough

    If this naive, out of touch man thinks what he and the Democrats have done this past year is good for our country and good for the economy..........they deserve to get booted out of power, sooner vs later. Someone needs to inform him that his words are no longer magic.

    February 6, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. JGB

    I, I, I.........what a narcissist to think everything is because of him. His administration should be considered a team. Bet he was a horrible team mate, always taking credit and placing blame.

    February 6, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Top Gun

    Hank Paulson (President Bush’s Secretary of the Treasure) defined the GOP best in his speech on “morale hazard”. For the record per Hank Paulson, the catechism of “moral hazard” is, “if you bail someone out of a problem they themselves caused what incentive do they have the next time not to make the same mistake.” America ask yourself, who in their right mind would vote for the group that drove the country into the ditch for eight (8) years, and now two (2) years later they still have “no new ideas”? ….Simple! Simple! Simple! Just remember what Paulson said about the catechism of “moral hazard”.

    BEWARE! BEWARE! BEWARE!…….In the 1980’s Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era in American economics as he cut the top tax bracket from 70% down to 50% and then down again to 28%. In order to get support for doing this from the people, and also from politicians, a very crafty set of lies were produced. As David Stockman, then Reagan’s budget director, put it: giving small tax cuts across the board to all brackets was simply a “Trojan Horse” that was used to get approval for the huge top tax bracket cuts. “Trickle-Down” was a term used by Republicans that meant giving tax cuts to the rich. Stockman explains that: There is no realistic way for "Trickle-Down" economics to work to increase the income of the working classes of America. In fact I am certain that the developers of the theory of "Trickle-Down" economics were fully aware of this and that "Trickle-Down" has in fact worked as intended. This means that the intent behind implementing "Trickle-Down or Supply-side theory” was to benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working class Americans. "Trickle-Down" hasn't failed, as many modern economists have suggested, it has succeeded in its goals, which is the increase of economic inequality and the shift of a greater portion of America's wealth into the hands of the wealthiest Americans. And too there were tax increases in the “Trickle Down”, these increases fell mainly on consumers, low- and middle-income people. Sales and excise levies. Reagan didn't call these taxes. They were, in his euphemistic lexicon, "user fees" and "revenue-enhancers." The tax increases were to help minimize the budget deficit.

    February 6, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Helen, PA

    I love him, he's a great president.

    February 6, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Gerry NH

    Did he say exhorts or extort? The congress has not been focused on anything this or any year.

    February 6, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. Taylor

    I support our President. Thank you for thinking of the middle class.
    Why didn't the Repugs ask Bush where are the jobs?

    February 6, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Death Panel Sarah

    Great speech, Mr. President!!!

    This is what is needed....to call out the reptili'con's on their obstructionism!

    Unemployment cannot be EXACTLY predicted, there are too many variables, much like the weather. He did his best to keep unemployment as low as possible!!!

    (I wouldn't put it past businesses to keep employment low just to discredit the administration!!!)

    February 6, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Independent

    President Obama is right. There have been positive results from the policies, and Congress needs to continue passing bills–jobs, health care, Wall Street/banking reforms, etc.

    More importantly, Dems need to grow a collective backbone! If the GOP refuses to cooperate, expose their selfish nonsense, too! Both sides need to be working together.

    Our country needs this remaining legislation passed for the American people.

    February 6, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Renee

    Who am I,no,no.no ?

    February 6, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Michael from Ventura

    Without the Democrats – there would BE no middle class. President Obama has my support, respect, and admiration. He has a very tough job in very tough times and I believe that he will help us get out of this mess. He certainly did NOT get us into it!

    February 6, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. earnest king

    I think Obama is doing an excellent job. I have ask the Republicans "what would you have done differently under this circumstance that Obama is not doing?". I do not think that tax break is enough to steer the economy back to where there will be job and people will stay in their homes. It is simply immoral for Republican to abandon American at this time in our history when everything that represent American dream is slipping away just because they want to score political point. Rush limbaugh said, "I want Obama to fail" and sadly that is the goal of the Republican. It is sad and immoral for the party who said they are Christians. I cannot reconcile that in my mind.

    February 6, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. j

    Stay? When are they going to GET steady and focused? They've got good ideas but no follow through and fight to implement. They need to get some fight in them. They can't be wimps about it.

    February 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. indiana voter

    That's awesome Mr. President! Keep steering your party off the cliff. It will make the Republicans do a lot better in the elections if you keep doing what you are doing, which is making this country go bankrupt. You are the sole reason why the people are excited about voting in conservatives.

    February 6, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Albo58

    Let the American taxpayers be clear: no more ill-written political payback bills that accomplish nothing, but putting us further in debt; no more foreign apology tours that make our country seem weaker to the rest of the world; no more never-ending legal rights of murdering illegal combatants; no more ignoring our immigration laws to shield illegal immigrants and finally, no more ignoring the will of the American majority!

    February 6, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Going down with the Ship?

    Stay Steady, Remain Focused.... don't pay attention to the fact that your progressive political ship is sinking and every promise you made during the campaign is going unfilled, this in spite of the fact that the American voter gave you control of the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court?

    Sorry but we don't believe you anymore, all Hype, no Hope


    February 6, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Paul H

    They are Obama, they are. And people really are listening, and paying attention. That's the reason the tide is turning Mr President. The political agenda is the reason for the loss of independents. It has nothing to do with a loss of focus, or you commitment to your agenda.
    Do you really think that pushing it even more is going to win them back? Just keep doing it then, and the people will let you know.

    February 6, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Who cares if Obama is not walking away from Obamacare......

    the public has ALREADY walked away.....

    The microcosm in Mass. will now become an earthquake as the Tea Party Convention gets underway today.....

    Obama and his socialist cohorts will be heading for the exits starting in November....................

    February 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I am beginning to think that Blue Dogs are afraid, just like Cheney and the republicans cower when they see their shadow.

    February 6, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Operation Crush Rush

    We thank the president each day for saving us from the king of Fascists, Dick Cheney.

    February 6, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Hugo

    Health insurance reform? Funny how it is now simply health insurance reform, what happened to health care reform? Lawyers will be lawyers, word smithing for deception at its finest!

    February 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. chris l

    Please Please Libtards, definitely stay the course you are on. At the rate your going, you will not only lose control of the house and senate, but you will never ever hold power in this country again. So once again I beg you to remain the blind sheep that you all are and stay the course. Oh and as far as our anti American Radical Socialist and Chief, at the rate he is going he will be run out of town before his term is up. So, to all the American Al Queda Libtards remain the course. Stay steady and keep repeating BOOOOOSH or PAAAAAAALLLin!!! Stand by for further instructions. LIBS ARE PATHETIC

    February 6, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. leftisloony

    more often than not, the dumocrats kicked the republicans out of the car, refusing to consider ANY republican ideas about fixing the economy....and then resorted to the blame game, obama's favorite political ploy, because what he's proposed and done is not working so it has to be someone else's fault....and don't believe those percentage unemployment numbers.......you don't shed more jobs and actually see the unemployment go down......the dems just changed the population reference number, made it bigger, and thus it looks like unemployment went down.........hey, if its not working, just play with the numbers....its all good.......UNCERTAINTY.....more taxes, spending, entitlements, healthcare......that's what is making people and businesses close their wallets but the dumocrats and obama are just that, too dumb to realize......have a nice day

    February 6, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Russ in Benton AR

    The sad thing about many Democrats in congress today is they are Democrats in name only.

    February 6, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. andy

    Stay steady and focused?? Seems to me they are steady and focused-steady at doing nothing and focused on more socialism,more government,more taxes,and more welfare for the non workers.All this while blaming all their failures on Bush.The party of nothing ,lead by nothing.The party of "yes we can" is now the party of "no we can't".Do not worry America,the Republicans are coming,see what happened in Mass. your leader Obamastooge could not get your girl elected,my my the people have spoken,1 year and done.Nice try Dems,you just are not up to the job.Too much mouth and promise and absolutely nothing to back it up.The party of promises and no action.

    February 6, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. Mike in MN

    More Obama psycho bipartisianship, saying should try and work with Republicans and then trash them. No one is fooled.
    Now he brags constantly about all his tax cuts for business, something he constantly rejected whenever Republicans suggested them and said they were more of Bush's failed policies.
    I did not hear him explain how he now supports a capital gains tax cut that he previously rejected as a bad idea when McCain campaigned for them and when Republicans wanted them included in his stimulus.
    A curious press and voters would want to know why he now thinks they are good.

    February 6, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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