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. Michael

    The day of greed and thievery is over. No matter how Rush pushes their agenda we cannot afford Republicans in office in the near future. They brought us here and if you are able to lie to yourselves and suggest and believe otherwise, then more power to you. Lucifer has a throne of coals just for you.

    America, the greatest civilization in history can only be brought down from within. The Republicans have made a downpayment on her demise. Do not allow them to make a second installment on our destruction.

    March 7, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. kid minneapolis

    Mr President understands that all these different issues he's taking on are interrelated. Investing in resolving them now gives us a better foundation to lay roots for the new economy when things truly turn around in 2010 or 2011 at the latest (as he has repeatedly said).

    People understand this. That's why his approval numbers are soaring while the reclunkycan'ts are bringing up the rear in popularity.

    It sure ain't helping when their party strategy is to improve Rush Limeytard's ratings by working to purify and thereby SHRINK the party's voting base.

    And did I mention how their only national leadership post is soon to be vacated by a man who ran for senate so he could raise money to funnel to a defunct business owned by his sister. True story. Name of the company was 'Brown Sugar Unlimited'. He also has a history of dirty tricks in state elections that are coming more and more to light.

    By the time the rebumblecan'ts figure out who their national party leader is, defacto and for realzie, it will be too late to coordinate an effort to salvage 2010.

    Guess what that means? 30-some rehump senators and 150-160 house rebelchers. No more filibuster.... No more appointee obstruction... People-centered (liberal) judges will be filling benches everywhere.... More statehouses coming under stronger Dem control means a better state party infrastructure for incumbent Dems... The 2010 census will undo all the false gains made with those ridiculously gerrymandered congressional districts... The DC vote.... Broadband going to rural America... A Dem leader that's LOVED worldwide...

    But hey, hate-wing radio and bloggers will be making more money than ever, right?


    March 7, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. josie

    This is like a "war" on our economy and we all have to come together to fight it. It's unpatriotic not to support the President.

    March 7, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Craig B

    Look!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This situation cannot be fixed overnight, the president just started his tenure to try and fixed the problems of the past. No matter which party you are affiliated with, give him a chance, he deserves it like the ones before him. This will notbe fixed over night

    March 7, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. tbyrd Hayward, CA

    It good to hear a President extolling the benefit of positive thoughts. For so many years the only thing we heard was "The War on Terror" How the rest of the world hated us, how we couldn't trust each other.

    Well finally we has an elected leader, that not only is competent. But also provided factually supported viewpoints that inform us of the truth. While also providing solutions that motivate us collectively to strive for a better future.

    For all you naysayer's, when you say "no" to our future. You say yes to our past. We all know past is prologue, another 4 years of that is absolutely unacceptable.

    Kick BuTT Mr. President!

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

    I'm optomistic about the future of our country because we now have a great leader that has the country and its people at heart.

    March 7, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Rob in Ark

    Meka, you and people like you scare me !

    March 7, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Peter (CA)

    I believe in what Obama is doing but I fear for the future. My fear comes from the foaming at the mouth of the right wing lunatics who would rather paralyze the nation with the insanity of terms like "socialism", then watch someone like Obama fix the problem.

    Those who tell us "economists" discredit the stimulus plan while the economists I see say that Obama needs to put in MORE money (but then again, I don't watch Fox News).

    Those who say we need to look to Wall Street when anyone who has been paying attention can tell you Wall Street greed put us where we are. Those who keep saying it's all the fault of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, players in this mess but minor players at most. Those who say everything was fine until January 2007 without realizing that the "good times" under Bush were built on smoke and mirrors as jobs were shipped overseas and billions and billions were spent in Iraq.

    Those who come here every day and spout but never give any solution, because all they have is "cut taxes" even though it has been done and has not worked because those at the top hoard their wealth and still ship jobs overseas.

    That's what scares me. I hope they can't convince enough people to abandon ship. But, then again, Bush did win in 2004.

    March 7, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Tbone85

    When all the whiners and naysayers are picking at the margins with idiotic sloganeering, our President is calmly looking at the big picture and making the tough decisions. It's impossible to please everyone. His task is to take all the data inputs and make short, mid, and long term decisions to better position our country to resume being a beacon for the world.

    It's hard to recognize because of our recent vacuum. It's hard to describe, but I know it when I see it. 🙂 It's called leadership, and the nut case haters can't stand it.

    March 7, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. TCM

    We only fear and mistrust you, OBama...not our future or our local're the one that's plotting to lead this country into meet your power hungry needs....and, you're proving it through excessive spending, and preachings of doom....

    March 7, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Bud

    Obama has challenges to problems not of his making, but the challenges are being addressed. It's not simple and solutions are going to difficult. We can hope pray and have faith that what is done is what it takes. I have faith in America and Americans. BUY AMERICAN! It helps.

    March 7, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. SPB531

    I wish someone would write a piece on what "socialism" really is. The word is used to scare the living crap out of people, but truth be told, I bet less than 1 in 1000 know what it means. The Republicans have to lock themselves in a room and come up with an alternative strategy other than "Dems are wrong and we are right.. end of story". They need to be called to account for what got us here and stop blaming President Clinton and anyone else they can think of with a (d) at the end of their name. I am so tired of hearing how the Democrats held the Congress for the last 2 years and they are at fault for this mess.. Really, what about the 8 years prior and even though the Dems did, in fact, run the Congress, the President pretty much shot down, every attempt they made to right a sinking ship. Without a veto proof majority in the Congress, the Dems, for all their power, were really powerless. The latest obstuctionist tactic from the right is the chorus of people calling for a "spending freeze". What is wrong with these people? Have they not read their history books. The final nail in the coffin that became the Great Depression was Hoover instituting a spending freeze. Like it or not, we are in trouble and the government is the only avenue left that has a dime to spend to try and fix this. There is no other answer and no, tax cuts alone will not help. Not for the rich, not for the poor, not for corporations. I thank the President for his efforts, for his optomism and for his intelligence. It seems optomism is the only thing left for some people. But more than all of that, I thank him for his honesty, for telling us what we need to hear, not what he thinks we want to hear. It is about time someone in Washington showed real leadership, real responsibilty.

    March 7, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood, a wonderful day for spending all your money. Oh won't you be his Comrade?

    March 7, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Ted

    I love the Repubs just coming in and saying "I'm scared NOW, cause of Obama", etc. Why don't you every try and see it from another point of view? Us Dems aren't all perfect (I personally can't stand some people...IE Pelosi and Reid), but at least stop making retarded blanket statements.

    March 7, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. Amazed

    Those Rush crowd who are scared of Obama have two choices;

    1. go and help rebuild Iraq
    2. go to Alaska and pretend Palin is your president

    You won't be missed either way.

    March 7, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Artful post Amy-Texas Teacher. Let me guess: Phys Ed? Home Ec? Bible?

    March 7, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Deal with it RePubs

    Deal with it you spineless Republicans. You fear because you are no longer in charge. You guys are afraid what you have sown will come back to bite you in the BUTT. You have to realize that this matter has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. What this has to do with is the Big man up stairs. JESUS CHRIST Yes I said it call me crazy all you want to. Christ is not happy with the world especially the church and this country. People wake up and realize no one has a hold on this economic situation. Why? cause God is not ready to take his hands off the situation. And when He does there will be a new appreciation for our Master.

    Thank you CNN for posting this

    March 7, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. g terry

    I have lived through many presidents and survive, you just have to remember who is in charge, he is an invisible SPIRIT.
    and he works through people and yes he is at work.
    therefore we shouldn't fear the future nor any other day .

    March 7, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. I told you so


    In a plea evoking Darth Vader's attempt to turn Luke Skywalker to the dark side, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday urged President Obama to join the socialist movement.

    "I recommend to Obama - they're criticizing him because they say he's moving towards socialism - come Obama, ally with us on the path to socialism, it's the only road," he said on Venezuelan state television, according to a Bloomberg report.

    "Imagine a socialist revolution in the U.S. Nothing is impossible," he added.

    March 7, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    What does your post mean? No more questioning authority? No more having dissenting opinions? Really, I don't understand what you are trying to say!

    March 7, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. Marg.

    With President Obama in charge of the country. I have a great deal of faith in that he is putting his heart and soul in trying to make things better for us. The GOP lost big in the election 2008. Obama has only been office for over a month. The talking heads (including CNN) have been on his back for him to perform magic in correcting all the economic conditions that the GOP and Bush Administration left behind for him to deal with. John McCain is from Arizona the state that I live in. He is way behind in the polls here and may loose his Senate seat in 2010. If you ask most people here in Arizona it is stated that he hasn't done anything for the people here. We phone and tell him to support the stimulus plan and the Obama Administration instead of constantly critizing, Sounds like McCain is a poor loser. The 2009 Budget comments on "earmarks" and Obama spending too much of the tax payers monies on his 2010 Budget are just "talk". McCain is only looking out for himself and relection. CNN Obma has strong support by the average person. Just remember that.

    March 7, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. D from Ashburn

    Fear Obama???? what have you been smoking? the Bush / Limbaugh peace pipe?

    March 7, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. John

    I only fear for the future if it means a return to the "I-got-mine" free market ethic favored by Republicans and other greedheads.

    March 7, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. John

    To Mr. Boehner and other Republican Friends:

    Who ran the country from January 2001 to January 2009?

    Who ran Congress from 1995-2007?

    How long has this unregulated market been in place?

    And how long has this crisis been in the making?

    How long has President Obama been in office?

    And were instant and dramatic results anticipated for the stimulus package?

    In the end, I have great faith in our country, but we are a nation of damaged goods. The conservatives have built a house of cards–and America moved in!

    March 7, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. robert

    As far as some of these Republicans are concerned, Obama can't breathe, metabolize, digest his food, grow his hair, or do anything else correct. And since such people are light years beyond predisposed to despise anything the president does, and I mean anything he does, their opinions mean less than nothing to me. Honestly, there is not even a modicum of balance or the most microscopic feint at fairness in some of these boiled brains. The most amazing thing is to listen to justifications based on how Bush was treated the last eight years. You know, many of us out here remember the Clinton years and the vile hatred then on display for him. My advice: try to put aside your predetermined loathing or shut your pieholes.

    March 7, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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