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. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    What a rip off for the American People. CNN reported today that the Post Office is buying a postal bureaucrats house for over a million dollars. The report said that the post office buys houses from employees who are transferred. Apparently this little perk has been ongoing and I think it is a racket that needs investigated and if corruption is discovered then throw the marbles on the table.

    This jerk is getting a lateral move and we are picking up the tab. Something is rotten here in the good old USA.

    Maybe the Defense Department should buy military officer's houses when they are required to move and can't move their homes. Yeah, that's the ticket. Maybe the fed should buy retiree's homes as well.

    March 7, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Amy

    Things will turn around when Rush and the Republicans stop instilling fear in the American people. There are great things on the horizon, just look past the political spin......
    I for one want President Obama to succeed, because then, we all do.

    March 7, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. Lori

    The only politicians we fear are the Republicans who want to see the President and America out of a grudge for BO. They want to undermine the President and his policies so that they can TRY (which won't happen) and get back in office in 2012. They enjoy the fact that Americans are losing money in the stock market (which is incredibly evil). We, the American people, know what the Republicans solutions are- NOTHING! They got us into this mess and they now act as if they have all the answers. WE WILL NEVER LET THEM BACK IN POWER OR WE'LL END UP WERE WE ARE AGAIN!

    We have faith in you Mr. President and know that we will recover in 1 year or 2. The majority of America is realistic.

    March 7, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. Bruce Dickinson

    don't fear the reaper

    i need more cowbell

    March 7, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. Strick in N.C.

    Fear is what G Bush and the Reps used to scare the $#!+ out of everyone so the could steal our jobs and money for the last eight years!!
    For those who think that John McCain and/or Sarah Palin could fix this mess are either really rich, really stupid or both!
    Give President Obama a chance to fix this jacked situation. Maybe if you had been scared the last eight years we would'nt be in this mess!
    I'M AWAKE, I WISH YOU WOULD STOP DREAMING AMY in TX!!!!! because I just woke up from a eight year NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. lilalove

    I think Obama is going to get most of what he wants. I'm not 100% sure of what that is. I guess if we look back from the time Obama was 21 onward.. we see a humanitarian that is rather globally aware. Obama is a winner. He will find the path to success. He is very awake. He knows when it is time to change.

    March 7, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. Jarrod

    What a short memory my fellow Americans have. Bush cared about nothing but the rich, Reagan set in motion the de-regulation that led to the wall street practices of today, the recession started in December '07, and its all Obamas fault. We have been heading towards this for decades. There is only so long it could last when Our wages havent kept up with the cost of healthcare, utilities, and cost of living. Now the well off scream about socialism... when they have been making money off the working poor for decades. Meanwhile my Canadian friends pay less for healthcare and live longer. Other countries invest in thier infrastructure and its a source of pride. We do it , and its socialism. This country has no common sense. Obama is trying to turn the Titanic around. Give him time.

    March 7, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. Griff............... on The Truth...

    You mean you really get it? It is your future that is at stake.
    A No-Future expectation...

    March 7, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  9. lilalove

    Obama is not a 'stuck' thinker.

    March 7, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Ivan

    Beginning with Reagan we have done it the Republican Way 20 years and the Democrat Way 8 years. And in only the Democrat years did all the people prosper, from the bottom to the top, there was no deficit after the 8 Democrat years only a surplus, and the unemployment rate was 4%.
    At the end of the Reagan / Bush era unemployment was 7.5 %
    At the end of Bush the son Presidency the unemployment in the 7.5%
    Do the numbers Democrat takes unemployment from 7.5% to 4% and along comes another Republican and raises it back up to 7.5%, not a good thing for the American People.
    Republicans lower taxes, increase spending, create record deficits and debit.
    Democrats raise taxes, raise mor revenue than you to pay for the spending and we end up with a surplus, which will not be squandered away by giving tax breaks to the wealthy.
    So Republicans move out of the way and let others fix the economy which you screwed up again.

    March 7, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  11. Larry Bird

    I have a Question? Would the goverment be willing to jolt the U.S. economy back to life and get this country rolling again? If YES then here is a clue on how to do it; every U.S. citizen has a right to the stimulis package money, so the goverment can set guidelines like every U.S. family that pays taxes and makes inbetween 18,000$ and 200,000$ U.S. dollars a year and is more than 10,000$ in debt not including student loans and medical, just vehicles, credit cards and home are eligible for a total pay OFF of all these types of debts. Thier would be other disqualifing factors that would have to be considerd as well. But if this could happen then the credit card companies would get ther money, the U.S. citizens would be able to start over, start buying things like another house, cars, be able to send there kids to college all sorts of things they to afraid of doing before. THINK ABOUT IT!!

    March 7, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. Scott, Tucson

    I'm looking to the future, 2013 when we will have a new president in the White House.

    March 7, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. Paul

    Odd how some people fear the future BECAUSE Obama is president but not BECAUSE their own party put us in this predicament in the first place. As I always say, partisanship over patriotism from the right. Just like Limbaugh tells them all how to think and hopes that Obama (aka this country) fails.

    What kind of patriotism hopes for failure that would severely hurt their own country and the citizens of that country only because they want to see the other party fail. Again, partisanship over patriotism.

    As an independent I will not even consider a Republican vote until they can stand up like adults and admit their party messed up and hope that although it's good for the opposing party, that they hope Obama succeeds in getting this country turned around.

    I hear some say take back this country in 2012. What?? Take back the country? The Democrats have had it all of 1 1/2 months and the Republicans had it 8 years and ran the country into the ground. Take the country back? YOU JUST HAD IT AND SCREWED IT UP!

    I don't fear the future. People can say what they want about Pelosi and the Republican today's buzzword of socialism (again pushing fear), but so far Obama has showed himself to be very capable and intelligent in his decisions). Some may not agree with the stimulus package (because their former drug-addict leader in Limbaugh tells them to) but guess what- we wouldn't have to do it if YOUR PARTY had not put us in this situation in the first place. We'll be fine, Obama will put us back on course and the Republicans will continue to find ways to think of reasons to fear and bash, instead of thinking of new ideas.

    You know what the difference between Obama and whoever is the future leader of the Republicans? Obama brought himself to the top of the party through his own actions. The Republicans keep trying to "designate" their future leader. Leaders emerge, they are not purposefully chosen (see Palin).

    Stop worrying about taking your country back Republicans, and worry about taking your own party back from the fear-mongers, neocons, and aristocrats.

    March 7, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. Nancy

    What are you poor people going to do if President Obama does great things? Talk about being depressed, you won't be able to get out of bed.

    Stop crying and wailing and help your neighbor, get involved in your community and make a real contribution.

    March 7, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. I Am The Great And Powerful Rush Of Oz

    Amy-Texas-teacher @ 6:03: Stressed, much?
    I suggest you do what your hero, Lord Rush says, and grab your ankles.

    We got three years and 10 1/2 months until Obama's second inauguration.

    March 7, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. marlo grant.

    The person that you should fear is Bush....He crippled this economy that Obama is trying to fix. If it was anybody else except Obama you would be praising them. If you think that you can run this country better than Obama do so and we all will be back side of hell with our backs broke...YOU BIG IDIOTS........

    March 7, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. sngeorgia

    I've seen it all in the past 8 years. I certainly don't fear anything now. I was fearful in 2000 and 2004, and my fears were validated. Look at US now.

    March 7, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  18. sngeorgia

    There goes the "fear mongers". It's not working. It ain't working.

    March 7, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. catmom

    Well since the Republicans, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Wall Street and all the other right wing wackos are making a concerted effort to make American afraid and keep them afraid, I'm glad President Obama is saying what he is saying. What's happening now kind of reminds me of before the 2004 elections whenever there was bad new the alert system went from orange to red. Remember it just stopped after the election. That was the Republican way, keep Americans afraid, very afraid ....

    March 7, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Roberto

    The Repubs gave us unregulated business, banking, and investment houses. The crisis we are in is a direct result of that. Unbridled and unregulated leverage is fine when the economy is firing on all cylinders. But as soon as something goes sour, the house of cards comes tumbling down.

    Now, all the clowns are critizing Obama for not having all the answers immediately. The Repubs have selective amnesia.

    March 7, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. mh

    I don't fear the future – just Obama and his socialist policies!

    March 7, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  22. DK

    Amy your comment was ridiculous, you must be kkk or coming from skin head family. To comment like that about our president, after he took our country out of all the bad situations. war economy bunch of bank robbers country in worst i ever seen.I canot belive you'r TX TECHER no wonder 49"th the EDUCATION.

    March 7, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Mike from Colorado

    It's hard to be optimistic about our future when small businesses like mine are suffering via the credit crisis. I've been turned down by over 15 banks, not due to inadequate financials, but due to fear of lending or just a plain unwillingness to lend. It seems like the financial institutions are content in watching Americans suffer and bottom out before they jump back in the game and do their job....which is LEND to QUALIFIED people and businesses! I'm seriously at my wits end.

    March 7, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. Independant Thinker

    Don't FEAR the future??????

    Obama is trying to spend this country into OBLIVIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama and his economic advisors are absolutely CLUELESS when it comes to the economy.

    Mark my word, before Obama is finished, the stock market will be below the 6000 mark and this country will be bankrupt.

    Say GOOD BYE to America as we know it and say hello to the desparate path of SOCIALISM.

    March 7, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. Truth Bomb Thrower

    It's not the future that I fear, it's what he's going to do to it.

    March 7, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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