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. mike, wa

    I don't want him to fix every issue right away. He needs to pick which one is more important and get that done first. I think most will agree the most pressing issue is the economy and once it is fixed it will be easier to fix health care and other problems that require money. He is already set up pulling the troops out of Iraq so that is a mute issue and he has just said the tactics we used in Iraq are going to be used in Afganistan. Something i htought he said wouldn't work while he debated McCain.

    March 7, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. William

    What we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. 8% unemployment is nothing ...wait until it reaches 15% within the next 2 years. All the money in China.....and they are holding a great deal of US dollars.....will not be enough to prevent the good old USA from becoming just another third world country. The rich are bailing out along with the corporations.

    You can only print so much money before the printing presses give out.

    March 7, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. Deborah

    The immaturity of some of the critics here is amazing. It takes time to fix these huge problems - you know, the ones that did not happen over night. We are a nation of quick-fix, instant gratification, cry babies. I believe that President Obama and his administration are doing everything they can to put systems in place that will not just be bandaids but rather long time cures to some of our problems. I will be patient. I will be strong. I will be critical when necessary, but so far President Obama has not let me down. Those who are writing nasty comments on these blogs didn't vote for Obama and nothing he will do will please them so their comments have little, if any, value in my opinion. I only pay attention to comments that appear to show a thoughtful person behind them, whether I agree or not, there are other points of view I can learn from. The cries of socialism, I hope he fails, etc. are just noise.

    March 7, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. kenny cole

    Bush and his crook has steal all our money and leave empty treashure for obama

    March 7, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Johnathan

    Jeeze, give the guy a chance. Before his policies even come into play people are saying they will "destroy the country". Whats with the rush to judge him already, he hasn't even been president for two months yet. It took a long time to get us into this mess and its not gonna clear up in a month, which he said before he became president.

    March 7, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. djb

    Fear is the weapon of choice of the Republicans. George W. used it to perfection. McCain tried it during the election campaign. The Republican leadership is trying to use it here.

    Hope and change are the weapons of choice for Obama, but some people just can't get over the "fear" that has been ingrained in them during the last eight years. That's evident in some of the postings in this blog.

    March 7, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Keith

    If President Obama is serious about getting the economy back on track then I suggest he revisit his $1 trillion budget and the $787 billion stimulus package and take out all of the earmark projects.

    I'm not against congressional representatives getting money for their district/state, but they should set the example for the rest of America to follow by doing without for a year or two. Both parties are guity of the over indulgence. How many Americans go without and have cut back their spending while the government continues to spend? Spend only money truly necessary, not what you would like to have.

    March 7, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Obama - NOPE

    With Obama and the Democrat party, we all have good reason to fear the future for America.

    March 7, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. paksa

    There are a myriad of reasons to fear the future if this administration is at the helm and continues with the 'hurry-up kind of madness that has gone on in recent weeks. More taxes to be initiated on small businesses and the so-called 'rich' who are really the working back-bone of this country,,,more government hand-outs on the docket, ,,abolishing secret ballots regarding unionizing in companies, blatant insulting of long-time allies like Great Britain (i.e. returning a gift), pork-laden pay-back budget proposals,,,,, failure to keep campaign promises to those of us who voted for this president, and on and on..... Some of us are furious with remarks like 'the market goes up and down like the polls – ......Wake up!! Our retirements have vanished! The ineptness of this administration already is appalling! And then the audacity to keep blaiming the previous administration! Yes, there is fear, uncertainty – and anger!

    March 7, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Jon Stewart

    See what the conservative crappies have left us with ... these moron Bush and Cheney destroyed America for a long time to come and the conservative hooligans now blame everyone else

    March 7, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. B

    Its a horrible circle we have created. As Americans, we demand a great quality product or service for the lowest possible price. Did we as Americans force our companies to outsource to maintain competition? We often blame the corporate big wigs for outsourcing our jobs, but are we part of the problem because we want high paying jobs, low prices and the utmost quality. We cant have everything and as we drive the demand, should look at where our demands should be placed

    March 7, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. Rick

    Mr Obama, we do not fear the future, we fear you administration, we fear how you are bankrupting our country, we fear how you have made this country unsafe, we fear that your spending will raise our taxes, we fear that you are making this a socialist government instead of a democracy, we fear that the democrates will turn into a dictatorship, and we fear you and your concepts that seem to be directed towards talking with terrorist and those countries that hide those terrorist.

    March 7, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Sue

    So Obama uses a teleprompter. Does anyone realize that all that means is that HE WRITES the speech, and instead of reading from notes, it scrolls in front of him so he can look at people. And this is some kind of sin in the eyes of Hannity, Rush et al.? Do you think Bush ever even wrote a speech in eight years? By himself? With big words? The man never pronounced nuclear correctly once, and he's married to a librarian. And Princess Sarah read what the RNC told her to read...whether she agreed with it or not.
    But I digress. The real issue here is that Republicans have gotten themselves so worked up over Obama's 73% approval rating that they are grasping at straws in an attempt to bring him down to their level. Won't happen-he's smarter than you are. By far.

    March 7, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Sandy

    You have a job but we don't have one. That is why we have to fear!

    March 7, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. Charles

    No one will have confidence if Obama keeps using words like Crisis and Catastrophe when referring to the Economy. With actions like this and rushing half baked plans and bills through the House and the Senate, and appointing tax cheats to office, how can anyone have confidence in the Obamma Administration?

    If O'Bama can not handle it, he should resign immediately.

    The US Govt could have just given the bailout money to the people instead of companies that sell junk bonds, and the Economy would be full of money, and people would be spending right and left.

    March 7, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Jesse

    Wow, the 20% of people who still loved Bush at the end of his term must be the only people leaving messages on this board!

    You people do realize that close to 70% of the country approves of the way Obama is doing his job, don't you? Or, is your head still stuck in the sand, as it was the past 8 years?

    March 7, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. Sandy

    You have a job but we don't. That is why we have to fear.

    March 7, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. bev krauza

    In my humble opinion..I think if we brought back manufacturing and farming back here ... there would be more work. and it would eventually
    help the economy work it self out. More work... more people having money... more people spending.... Make furniture, clothes, shoes, here.. Hardly anything is "Made in USA" anymore.
    We would probably have a lot less "food scare" problems
    Thanks for your ear.

    March 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. mujtaba

    I think the President lost control on the run up to the stimulus package. In his desire to get bipartisan support, he chose to use the politics of fear and went a bit too far with it. Right now, with all the economic numbers coming in from 2008, the grim numbers reinforced his rhetoric further making it difficult for him to swing back to being optimistic. Anger from Wall street is making it worse, and the media keeps wall streets anger on rotation non stop making the problem even worse. The president should not try to be an economic spokesman... rather he should spend more time developing his team, and cleaning up his executive branch, and staying on message in terms of his focus on the economy. By doing the latter he will generate more confidence in the people because right now the feeling is that this government does not have a handle on the situation.

    March 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Texas Proud!

    Oh, you can bet I fear the future, if there is one!

    --"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep
    and bear arms, as a last resort, to protect themselves against
    tyranny in government".-
    -Thomas Jefferson-

    March 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. afam

    amy from texas no one with sense takes you seriously. you are probably one of those people that say isnt obama a muslim or a terrorist.sit back and dont talk.tell me what the republicans would have done better. take us to more education.sorry to disappoint you but our country has already been taking back

    March 7, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Harry

    New York Times is a radical leftist news paper. Barack is comfortable with such media and there are no hard questions asked. Barack should tell me why my savings are gone away. Can he bring them back? You are an idiot with a big mouth. Just big talk and no action.

    March 7, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. afam

    wars i mean

    March 7, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. republicans hate america

    Typical republican morons. They burn the house down for eight years then complain when you are unable to rebuild it in 30 days using a hammer and 2 nails. you repugs make me sick and the sooner you vanish from this world the better. I hate you.

    March 7, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Little too late????

    The actions we have seen from the Obama administration scares the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of me...for my future and that of my children!!

    Jutsifiably, we ALL should be scared. We have been sold down the river, tossing money overboard the sinking boat, hoping it will lighten the burden.

    And, to have a President tell the citizens of this great country to not be fearful of the future is like telling an ostrich to stick his head in the ground if they want to hide.

    Mr President, we are all scared. And we need leadership, NOT CAMPAGNING, to ease the Americans!! Step back from your teleprompter and see what turmoil really is...

    March 7, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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