Obama outlines plan to strengthen economy

February 25, 2009 8:52:29 AM PST
President Obama delivered a message of reassurance to America as he outlined his plans to strengthen the nation and its troubled economy. The president spoke for the first time before a joint session of Congress and to the American people.

Along with the economy, the president touched on everything from national security to education to health care.

The speech was barely a minute old when the president, trying to rally a recession wracked America, said there was no doubt that prosperity would return.

"We will rebuild. We will recover. And the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," said Pres. Obama.

Calling the $800 billion stimulus bill a beginning, the president warned that its job creation will mean little without additional financial aid for banks.

"We are creating a new lending fund that represents the largest effort ever to help provide auto loans, college loans and small business loans to the consumers and entrepreneurs who keep this economy running," said Obama.

Both sides of the aisle cheered most of Obama's points on the economy. But in the Republican response, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had a warning.

"Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians," said Governor Jindal.

The president reminded the joint session of campaign promises, including an increase for those who make more than $250,000 a year, increased funding for education and alternative energy development and health care reform.

And near the end of his nearly one hour in the well, the ambitious Obama pledged to cut the federal deficit by 50 percent at the end of his first term in office.

"My administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective federal programs. As you can imagine, this is a process that will take time but we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade," said Obama.

The president's speech focused almost entirely on the economy. It's remarkable he touched so little on the foreign affairs given the two wars overseas.