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. Michele

    I think if banks want to give the TARP money back this should not be held up. How ridiculous for the Treasury department to do so. And I think Pelosi should go too. I think Obama is working hard and needs to be given a chance. However, he needs to be a little more critical when it comes to making choices for his administration.

    March 7, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. ForAmerica

    people are struggling now, and even President Obama feel this hard time when you look in his face, But I praying God for him and America they can get on their feet again, one thing I know those things was already predicted from the Bible, why I say that is not only USA that's get in this situation. for me there's some way to get out of this hard time: recognize God in school again, put politics aside, and spend directly in the economy because Obama have Great vision for America he has to admit those things could not take place in his first term so he has to give up some of them for the second term.

    I hope God will continue to Bless America, because it is a place for refugees.

    March 7, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. annie - Palin 2012

    The only future we fear is with President Barack Obama. It was scary during the election to think about it and now it is just down right frightening. He doesn't have a clue plus he really doesn't want to work!!

    March 7, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Independent_me

    President Obama –
    We the SANE people of America know that you inherited a stinking mess. WE also know that you are doing the best that you are able to do with the resources available to you.
    We need to have a filibuster-proof majority in office in order for you to accomplish your goals. We will do our share in 2010.
    Hang on!
    Help is coming!

    March 7, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Andy

    Its funny 787 billion and low expectations? Great leadership. I fear only Obama and him giving bailout after bailout with the headline of it being a stimulus. Socialism here we come no point in working hard anymore.

    March 7, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't fear the future. But what I do fear is a GWB like Republican who has no solution for our future. Name me one job the GOP have gotten for anyone but themselves.

    March 7, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. John G

    Wow another interview. Another photo-op. Another speech.

    This guy is really turning into a one trick pony.

    March 7, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Joyce

    If anyone who is bashing Obama has any better idea on how to fix things they should let the public know and then we could all say how bad he is.
    I don't think anyone realized how broken wall street was until the bottom fell out.
    It was the other political party the decided nothing on wall street should be regulated and see what happened.
    Obama is trying and I think he should be given a year or even longer to see if his ideas work. Like I said if you have any better ideas on how to jump start the economy then let us know.

    March 7, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |

    72% of America does not fear the future as much as we did under the shrub.

    With President Obama at the helm, we will begin to climb out of the very deep hole the shrub and his yard crew left us all in!

    March 7, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. PJP

    Well, I know I won't fear the future and it is sure not because of Obama. I put my trust and hope and faith in God Almighty, not man. Man will fail us sooner or later, God will not!!!!! If you feel lke He has failed you, then do some soul seraching and/or read the Bible, you will find out He doesn't fail those that trust in Him!!!!

    March 7, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    For those of you who are a part of the naysayers group, stop complaining and get to the work of helping yourselves and reaching out to others in need. Take a break from the greed and selfishness.

    We are are Americans in this together. Did you all think we contnue to ride the greed bubble forever? And now that the bubble has burstand reality has struck us all, it is now you want to rant, complain and point fingers.

    If you are willing to be a part of the solution, then I encourage you all to go and sit down and stay out of the process toward getting our feet on solid ground.

    March 7, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Ray Fisher

    As a person with an incurable disease, I have no future but impatience is all I fear. America must have patience as much as possible even though times are tough. Remember, things you can do something about are challenges only things which cause death are problems!!! Press with pride America!!!

    March 7, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. P from the IE

    Where I am the un-employment is 12%. So yes we have fear here. I do think that if anyone can make improvements it is Obama. The wheels of this mess were all set into place by Bush and his administration.

    March 7, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  14. Dan

    Keep working forward. Americans are not stupid. We know this mess was not caused by Obama.

    Years of letting the super rich on Wall Street get away with things led us to this mess. Major companies like Enron, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citibank, flopped and how many people have gone to prison for the Wall Street corruption? Should have been hundreds/thousands.

    I work for a small business and am friends with the owner. As he puts it, anyone who thinks most small business owners make $250,000/year doesn't understand Main Street.

    A few years ago, we had an employee who had a heartache. Our health insurance costs doubled the next year. In the last 10 years, the smallest annual increase we have seen is 30%. We compete with companies in Israel and Canada. Our competitors save thousands each year because they don't have to spend $8000/year for each employee's family health coverage.

    March 7, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. UPenn Studet

    Our President, our country, our future, this is our time ... so we can bicker and argue about BS or we can listen, debate respectfully to find solutions, and WORK TOGETHER or bitter individuals can cowardly hide behind web postings while ROME BURNS!

    March 7, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. Rick - Toronto

    B & Amy-Texas Teacher: Your fears are not Obama but your own him or least give him some time..whether he fails or succeed. After 8 years of Bush you should at least do so...

    March 7, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. Charlie in Maine

    Now that you are in charge I don't. Keep up the good work

    March 7, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Tad

    I still believe in this guy and he has worked harder in his first 2 months then Bush did in 8 years! We are going to be a great country once again. Thank you Mr. Obama!

    March 7, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. L.A.

    Is there any GOP members that have lst their jobs ?

    March 7, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Len

    President Obama is correct, we should not fear the future. But it is very difficult to stop that way of thinking. Unfortunately. the Bush Administration led by FEAR. Every policy that they developed engrained in the American people FEAR and HATE. And right now the Republican party and right wing talk show hosts are doing the same. FEAR!!!!! They will do everything in their power to make the Obama Administration fail. (AS their leader Limbaugh has stated).

    President Obama inherited this mess, no matter what the Republicans say. In our hearts we know that is true. We need to support this Administration. Our recovery will not occur over night but it will occur if we give the new policies a chance.

    We must be patient and work together for all Americans!!!

    March 7, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. ancient rvr

    Thank God we have a man who thinks as president. I think what the nay sayers fail to understand is that he actually embosies what a majority of us value and beleive.

    March 7, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  22. Alfred E Neumann

    Looks like some of our posters have been sipping on the kool aid.

    All we really have to fear is Congress, Wall Street, the bankers and of course Barack Obama.

    We are being "lead" by a man four years removed from the Illinois state senate who served in the US Senate only to run for president.

    We are truly in the hands of his advisors, it is doubtful that many of whom have paid their taxes.

    March 7, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. No Hillary = No Obama

    Obama better put his money where his mouth is. Words are cheap, cheap, cheap and he has a never ending supply of them. The more he talks, the more the jobless rate goes up.

    March 7, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. phoenix86

    The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself...and these catastrophic policies of Obama.

    March 7, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. IMO

    Great commentary CW, BK. , history tells us regulations help to protect the American People. Remember when we had tariffs? Nations from all over the world had to pay us to bring their products into this country now they don't, b/c many of the foreign companies are owned by wealthy Americans. We still have to pay some countries when they import American goods.

    Before Mr. Obama became our president he was not getting the briefs (CIA), others that he gets daily. I believe that is why he has changed his mind about the war. He knows the generals know lots more than he does and he is intelligent enough to listen and act accordingly.

    I believe he leaves DC b/c there is so much opposition there, namely Reid, Pelosi, and other Dems. He just goes to the people who put him in office and to keep them informed as to how he is still working for the good of the USA.


    March 7, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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