January 16th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Blitzer: How quickly things change

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption= "CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s amazing how quickly things can change. It wasn’t that long ago when the war in Iraq and terrorism were the number one issues on the minds of Americans. Now, according to the latest polls, it’s back to the economy.

I suppose that’s the result of serious recession fears and the reduction in casualties in Iraq in recent months. New government numbers show that inflation last year in the United States was at a 17-year high. That’s disturbing enough. But when coupled with the other recent economic woes – loss of jobs, mortgage failures and home foreclosures – the news is even worse.

Economists have a technical definition for a recession – two successive quarters showing negative economic growth. That definition has not been met, since there has not yet been even one three-month period showing negative economic growth.

But many economists believe we already are in a recession, even if the technical numbers have not yet caught up with it. And they say all this talk of a recession makes matters even worse: people begin to act as if the country already is in a recession – meaning they may limit their purchases. That, in turn, can further slow down the economy.

There is now plenty of talk here in Washington about the urgent need for a new economic stimulus package. President Bush is said to be considering some options to unveil during his State of the Union address to Congress on January 28. And House and Senate leaders from both parties are talking to each other about possible steps.

Let’s see if they can actually get their act together and do something constructive. There are many people out there who are having trouble paying for their energy needs, staying in their homes, and even putting food on the table.

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    If you say recession often enough, everyone will believe it and we will be in one. If we do go into recession, then it will be 100% the fault of the media who report endlessly on this subject and the pundits who can't get on tv fast enough to ensure it happens.

    January 16, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Mike, Fox River Grove, IL

    Only one candidate has talked actively and strongly about the actual economy, slow down, and failure of our government to address it when it was inevitable – Ron Paul. He has stated and shown how the dollar is failing, how our overseas actions are drawing us down, and he is the only candidate to actually talk about honest-to-God solutions and not just borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, or even worse fantasies about endless money from the overburdened Middle Class.

    (Mr. Dobbs, take note, Ron Paul has addressed all the issues in your commentary today about the economy, immigration, and more.)

    Vote Ron Paul for real change, and not just more of the same of fluff.

    January 16, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Jo Ann

    Unless there is a dramatic change in the war, in November the economy will still be the predominant issue. No matter what is happening elsewhere, if more people continue to lose their way of life, the economy will be the issue that drives this presidential race. If the state of the economy continues on this downhill fall, in November people will vote for the person they believe will be able to solve the economic problems in this country; I am just not sure I see one among the current crop of candidates.

    January 16, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    The only thing that has changed is that our social conscience about the war is no longer the only victim,the economy is now ruined. This has brought our foreign policy home to roost and everyone is now feeling it directly. Many americans,as many as thirty percent, were immoral and didn't see this coming. No one can escape it now. This downturn in the economy is the fault of the war supporters and naturally they'll be hit by this harder than the few of us that can foresee the stupidity of bush's actions. Just watch as the fed reduces rates while borrowing money until the banks go under and dollars are wallpaper. They should be raising rates fast. Withdrawing immediately from Iraq. Hiking gas taxes. Enacting stiffer luxury taxes. Eliminating caps on taxable income. All unpopular,but prudent. Watch for republicans to do the opposite until we hit a new depression.

    January 16, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. MultiTasker

    I find it insulting that the media does not believe the people of this country are capable of thinking of more than one issue at a time. Do you really believe no one was aware of the economy until just now? How ignorant do you think financially strapped people are?

    Iraq War, extremism, strapped military, veteran mistreatment
    Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, North Korea, UK, EU, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palentine, Lebanon, Syria, Bush's favorite Iran
    National Debt, social welfare, corporate welfare, out of control spending
    Consumer spending up, Personal Debt up, credit card debt, too much house, too expensive vehicles, refusing to save for retirement, refusing to save for college
    Education system not working, high drop out rates, poor schools, non-qualified teachers, illegal immigration, job losses, lower paying jobs.... this would take pages.

    My point.... the people have been stating that what is happening in this country is not working. The government refuses to listen. Apparently, so does media. We really can multi-task.

    January 16, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Tom Davie

    Wolf. The Clinton campaign can clean up here.

    She is dropping the ball by NOT mentioning the good times we had during the Clinton administration economically.

    If she is so ADAMANT about refusing to run on Bills record, then it will cost her.

    We all know that any Hillary administration will look almost identical to the Clinton administration.

    Obama has no experience in economics. He can only blast hope on this issue.

    January 16, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Tunkthinker

    Time Warner is one of Clinton's top ten contributors. She is a corporate candidate. We will never see fairness on television regarding hillary, they are doing her favors as much as possible (net neutrality? FORGET IT under Hillary!)

    Not only that, but didn't anyone else notice Wolf's slant on Global Warming – a done deal – and "clean coal" was their top sponsor (and is, on the website too)... How convenient that one of Hillary's top five, Citigroup, is funding dirty coal plants to the tune of tens of billions. They all have the same agenda.

    This is why John Edwards makes so much sense, he owes them NOTHING and so that's why he gets so little attention from Big Media.

    January 16, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. anne

    recession or no recession the people are hurting high fuel costs have caused an increase in the cost of living for goods and services everyday costs for the American consumer, I don't feel there is any quick fix, no matter who is elected President, I do think that the democrats will do a better job of trying to figure a way out of this mess.

    January 16, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Jason, CA

    When Hillary Clinton was raising this issue for the first time during NH primary no one was paying attention. At the time all were obsessed with “Change” spellbinding by Obama. After NH it’s a different story now. Everyone is having plans now.
    Obama’s plan is a copycat of Clinton plan with changed numbers.
    I wonder when Obama says “change” he means this kind of a change.
    What happened to the change by the way?
    I thought he was riding that wave. Or was it a one-state wonder?
    It shows how clever the Clintons are when they changed the subject from change to economy in no time. Economy is their strength. It’s not ancient history how Clinton’s began in 92 with “It’s the economy stupid” theme and delivered the promise during their term. Now they have forced Obama to play in their backyard.
    No one even remembers Obama’s inspiring “false hope” theme anymore.

    PS: I admire Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crawly and john Roberts of CNN for staying in the middle amidst an Anti-Clinton tsunami in the media initiated by Newsweek/MSNBC mafia and reached towards CNN.

    January 16, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Jr., California

    "Let’s see if they can actually get their act together and do something constructive. There are many people out there who are having trouble paying for their energy needs, staying in their homes, and even putting food on the table." Wolf

    This is current reality. The war in Iraq current fantasy.

    January 16, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Dan Pont

    How about asking all the candidates for president if they would be willing to give the people of America the same health care as we give them!!!!
    Lots of Luck
    Richlandtown, Pa.

    January 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. David

    Why does the media insist on convincing people there is a recession? Could it be that a troubled economy helps the Dems in the upcoming presidential elections?

    Besides, a lot of the same people saying there is a recession lost their shirts on the subprime bets - either the brokers pushing the loans or the people who foolishly took on more debt than they should have. They said everything was rosy a while back, why should we believe them now? Although, of course, for them it may FEEL like a recession.

    January 16, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    Hmmm...where are the Democrats now? When things go wrong they are all over Iraq like a hobo on a hotdog. When things start looking better, they barely know it exists. How convenient.

    I recently read an article where Iraq said they would need US troops until 2013. With Obama they will be out well before 2013. With Clinton, though will say they will be out before then, they will end up being there longer.

    You see, Clinton fans, that's what HRC does. She'll say what you want to hear, cry when you want tears, have tissy fits when "the boys" club won't leave her alone, and promise to mandate healthcare for everyone (which is impossible and still you believe her).

    HRC is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get (exept maybe tooth decay) because you never know which way the political wind is going to blow.

    January 16, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. cranky old man

    it's always been the economy; this is a war that only affects most Americans when they watch it on tv; otherwise, they worry about making their car payments, their mortgage payments; and their alimony & child support.

    January 16, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Jorgen

    Consumers have been out of cash for a while. When their credit is also gone, it won't matter how cheery and confident they are - they'll have to stop spending.

    January 16, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Teacher,now Iwonder why?

    The Elites have made the Economy #1 for a reason,now I wonder why that is?The Agenda is set and the FIX IS IN.

    January 16, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. small business growth

    I don't know how America has not spoken up about small business growth and its relation to walking cities. Americans lives their lives in automobiles all day long. A rich and textured economy has a symbiotic relationship with small shops and people spending their money creatively. 10 radio stations with radio advertisements, auto insurance, gasoline, health insurance and fast food are industries that America's macro-economists might pick up on, but at what cost are those large corporations winning big?

    I have never understood America. I have never understood the absence of great architecture and the demand for walking cities in America.

    I don't understand why the media and the President of the United States do not put it on their list of priorities to develop transit in the United States.

    January 16, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. brandon

    Wolf, yes how quickly things have changed yet howcan we be suprised that we are in a recession? Due to Greed from the Mortgage Companies, Banks, George Bush's Wars in Afghanastan and Iraq and the outsourcing of American Jobs and our major debts owed to China. Even Warren Buffet is investing in the Chinese. We are still the greatest nation on Earth but we need a major overhaul with our finances, we need to become more humble, we need to take care of our veterans, infrastructure, such as roads and we need to become competetive again. And just as I tell my children we need to save more of what we earn and stop spending what we don't have.
    silver city, nm

    January 16, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Ray, Rochester

    By the way...where is Harry "The surge is a failure" Reid? It is laughable that the Dems who were crying failure and saying "the war is lost" are now trying to take credit for the Surge.

    Obama had the gall to say that the only reason things are better in Iraq is because Dems were elected in 2006. Fairy tale from a weakling in over his head.

    January 16, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Matt

    The outlandish defense and war budget IS THE REASON for the economic downturn. These are not separate issues.

    January 16, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Margaret

    The stimulus packages sound great until the question: "How will we pay for this? What spending cuts will be made to cover the multimillion dollars the Democratic candidates are proposing? The money has to come from somewhere–or are they going to add to the National debt?? They need to tell us how they will accomplish their proposals.

    January 16, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Ian, Eastham MA

    Duncan – The recession is localized. I'm personally doing better than ever before and there's a lot of demand for my skills. However, there are many Americans having problems in their area with their skill set.

    The war, the dollar, and the economy are all connected. We're borrowing (printing) more money than ever to fund the "War on Terror" and that's diluting the value of our dollar while making it seem like we're all prospering.

    However, if I borrow $1,000,000 I can only live like a king until I have to pay the money back. This is how our government functions in war time and why things look so good while we're at war. Then the bill comes due and we have a post war recession. It's a common theme throughout history.

    Well, the bill is due and the war isn't even over.

    January 16, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. John, New York, New York

    Wolf, Wolf, Wolf.... You are so talented and so smart yet your show is like a carnival with lights and whistles and gadgets and "Breaking News" marquees carrying news that isn't breaking but often long-broken. Why not cut the shenanigans and go back to being a real reporter instead of a host on silly show.

    It is truly sad how bad CNN has gotten in the past few years. But at least you are WAY ahead of MSNBC (a/k/a PNN – The Prisoners and Pedophiles Network) and that low-intellect goofball K.O.

    January 16, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. john

    Go Romney! Nevada next!

    January 16, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Nate

    It is ridiculous to blame a recession on the media. If and when we go into a recession, it will be because of the business cycle. It is perfectly natural for the economy to fluctuate up and down. The actions of government and the media may inflate a boom or exacerbate a bust, but they certainly do not cause them.

    January 16, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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