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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama gets down to business

CHICAGO: President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday that the US is facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime and were going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.

However in his first news conference since winning the presidency on Tuesday, Obama deferred to President George W. Bush and his economic team, noting that the country has only one government and one president at a time.

But, he said, immediately after I become president I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity.

The president-elect spoke after he and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met privately with economic experts to discuss ways to stabilize the troubled economy.

The meeting included Lawrence Summers, who some have mentioned as a candidate for treasury secretary, a post he held in the Clinton administration, as well as executives from Xerox Corp., Time Warner Inc., Google Inc. and the Hyatt hotel company.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who will be Obamas White House chief of staff, also participated in the meeting. Were not starting from nowhere, Summers told NBCs Today show. Throughout his campaign the president-elect has been talking about what we need to do. We need to put the middle class at the center of the policy approach in a way that it hasnt been these last years.

Exit polls from the election showed that the economy was far and away the top issue for voters. More evidence of a recession came yesterday when the government reported that the unemployment rate had jumped from 6.1 percent in September to 6.5 percent in October.

Obama has been meeting privately with his transition team, receiving congratulatory phone calls from US allies and intelligence briefings, and making decisions about who will help run his government after he is sworn in Jan. 20.

His first choice was Emanuel for White House chief of staff, a fiery partisan unafraid of breaking glass and hurting feelings. The choice of Emanuel is a significant departure from the soft-spoken, low-key aides that No-Drama Obama surrounded himself with during the campaign. And transition chief John Podesta, like Emanuel, is a former top aide to President Bill Clinton and a tough partisan infighter, though less bombastic than the new chief of staff.

The selections are telling for Obama, who campaigned as a nontraditional, almost post-partisan” newcomer. People close to him say the selections show he is aware of his strengths and weaknesses, and knows what he needs to be successful as he shifts from campaigning to governing.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, planned to visit the White House on Monday at President George W. Bushs invitation.

Obama planned to stay home through the weekend, with a blackout on news announcements so he and his staff can rest after the grueling campaign and the rush of Tuesday nights victory.

Obama, who bested Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, has made it clear he will rely heavily on veterans of her husbands eight-year administration, the only Democratic presidency in the past 28 years.

Source : Islam Online

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