March 7th, 2009
05:17 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama: Don't fear the future

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama says in a new interview that he's unsure if the economy will rebound this year."]

(CNN) - President Obama can't assure that the economy will bounce back this year, but he says he will "get all the pillars in place for recovery this year."

Obama made the pledge in a 35-minute interview - largely focused on the economy and the war in Afghanistan - with The New York Times aboard Air Force One on Friday, according to a story published Saturday.

"I don't think that people should be fearful about our future," he told the newspaper. "I don't think that people should suddenly mistrust all of our financial institutions."

Conservative opponents have criticized Obama's new administration, saying it has pushed the country toward socialism and that his $787 billion economic stimulus package will do little to revive the struggling economy.

However, during the interview, Obama "exhibited confidence," saying the nation should not fear the future, the Times reported.

"Look, I wish I had the luxury of just dealing with a modest recession or just dealing with health care or just dealing with energy or just dealing with Iraq or just dealing with Afghanistan," Obama said. "I don't have that luxury, and I don't think the American people do, either."

When asked if the United States was winning the war in Afghanistan, where he is sending another 17,000 troops, Obama replied, "No."

He said his administration is reviewing the U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the intention of finding a new strategy in the region. Obama said that reaching out to Sunni militant groups, such as the Taliban, to fight al Qaeda and other terror groups - a tactic employed by Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq - "should be explored."

"If you talk to General Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq," Mr. Obama said.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. David

    Thank you Mr. Obama. YOur election process makes me confident with you and my country and to know there is a future!

    March 7, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Mark Ferbet

    Now, that is HOW a President should speak to the Citizens of this country with regards to the economy.... Straight and to the point...

    He's absolutely right... the Conservatives in this country are attacking a President who has been in office less than two months... who has more on his plate than the past four Presidents to deal with.

    Obama is continuing to do a good job in handling everything, and will continue to do so... even with Republicans doing everything they can to try to make him fail.

    March 7, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. linda from south dakota

    ok, lets see the whole picture here, bush messed up for 8 years which ahs made america a mess, so now president obama is tryin to help the situation the best her can.. us,, as americans , can only hope and trust him. this wont be a quick fix,,,, it took 8 years to mess up and it will take at least that long to see a difference,, so hang tuff, americans,,, it will come

    March 7, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    People shouldn't be so averse to the term "socialism." People in socialist-leaning countries are HAPPIER than we are. Collectively, they are better educated, healthier, have lower crime rates, and overall, enjoy a higher quality of life than we do. What's so bad about that?

    March 7, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. jerry

    Buffett: America will overcome Country’s best days lie ahead!

    March 7, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Meka

    Thank you President Obama. We, the People do know-and we shall behave accordingly!

    March 7, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. C W

    The best way to restore Americans' confidence in our financial institutions is:

    1. Those institutions that have received bailout money immediately start the credit flowing again.

    2. A complete, detailed and public accounting of every last dollar that has been distributed as part of the bailout.

    3. Should illegal activity be uncovered as a result of #2 above, indictments and prosecutions should occur.

    4. Any monies spent on other than directly re-capitalizing the companies that have received bailout dollars must be immediately returned. Any penalties, fines, interest, etc. should be added on the amount they must ultimately repay the taxpayer.

    5. Caps should be placed on the salaries of the CEOs of those companies who have received bailout money. Obviously didn't earn their exorbitant salaries in the past; their compensation needs to be more in line with their performance. After the financial markets and industry is once again on sure footing, then we'll do some performance reviews and raise their salaries as warranted.

    6. Re-regulate the financial industry such that the current global financial crisis does not happen again.

    As every parent knows, if there are no logical consequences for unacceptable behavior, the child will continue behaving badly. Since the financial industry has obviously been run these last several years by a bunch of spoiled brats with no concern other than their own immediate gratification, at the expense of everyone else, they need to be dealt with in direct terms, harsh enough that they get we are serious about this – and will no longer tolerate their corruption, mismanagement and greed.

    March 7, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Dumas McGee

    then stop spreading fear!

    March 7, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. G.O.P.: When you've got NOTHING, you've got nothing to lose

    It's hard to undue a 1460 day bush mess in less than 45.

    March 7, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Omentum

    Tell that to the wimpy republicans

    March 7, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Sue, NY

    Amen to that....he doesn't have the time to focus on just one thing.
    We are lucky to have a President that recognizes that.....when we had a President that could just focus on Iraq and nothing else....look what we got....a once in a generational mess. I think it is time for those that feel the need to criticize to just keep their mouths closed and let this President do what needs to be done....if it doesn't work he won't be back.

    March 7, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Bayousara

    Obama pushing us towards socialism?

    Well, capitalism has let us down many times in our nation's history.

    This time is going to be as bad as the depression of the 1930's if we have the conservatives discouraging Americans.

    Who decided that capitalism is the best way for the majority of our population?

    March 7, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. bk

    We should fear Obama. He reads a telepromter and campaigns while Pelosi and Reid run the country. Idiots.

    March 7, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. JK Ashburn, VA

    So long as Obama and Pelosi are in charge, I am terrified of the future. Far worse than I expected.

    March 7, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |

    "Conservative opponents have criticized Obama's new administration, saying it has pushed the country toward socialism and that his $787 billion economic stimulus package will do little to revive the struggling economy"

    With President Obama's approval at 72% and repubs approval at 26%, perhaps the neo-cons should stop obstructing and start constructing.

    But I forget, they are pursuing Limprick's agenda of "Obama's failure"!

    March 7, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. jennifer

    Why fear. If anyone can get the job done its Obama and SOS Clinton is doing a hell of a job. We may have to cut back and we may have to help a neighbor now and again but in the end we will all be fine.

    March 7, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Amy-Texas Teacher

    I don't fear the future I fear OBAMA!!!! Take our COUNTRY BACK IN 2012 before it's too late AMERICA WAKE UP.

    March 7, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. B

    Just deal with it. I think you knew all these things were on the table when you ran for President for three years. You had a solution for everything, remember? Now get to it.
    We have everything to fear with you trying to lead us. Stop having your Wednesday night parties and work on that night since it seems we are having some problems here.
    I guess Hillary mistakenly took your little red button to Russia uh? The one you push everytime you sign a new bill. "overcharge".

    March 7, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt

    The best way to move forward is to drown out the voices of politicians and let the Nobel Prize economists run the show.

    March 7, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. AJ

    Thank you President Obama for stepping up!

    March 7, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. ib

    Obama is going to blame everything on Bush forever if he can get by with it no matter how bad he screws up it will be all Bush's fault according to him and his liberal buddies. I have confidence in the financial insitutions to come back I do not have faith in Obama that he will do anything except to tax them to the point they can't expand. These places must make a profit to expand and create more jobs- that's plain business sense in spite of what some people think. I know the liberals will be all over me for saying this but so be it.

    March 7, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. Obama - NOPE

    With Obama and advancing Socialism, we have every reason to fear.

    March 7, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Is It 2012 Yet ?

    This guy is a bozo.

    March 7, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    If we did the right thing 30 yrs ago (energy, health care, education, etc. we wouldn't be facing such drastic measures.

    March 7, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Jim

    I will not fear the future as long as you are out of office.....

    March 7, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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