February 24th, 2009
09:01 PM ET

Obama insight: Being realistic on economy maintains credibility

John King
CNN Chief National Correspondent

When the waiter reached for the plate, President Obama shook his head and smiled as he asked for a few more minutes. He had been talking to his guests, and had barely taken a bite of his lunch.

The new president was keeping with a longstanding tradition on days when the commander in chief delivers an address to a joint session of Congress: Around the table Tuesday sat television anchors and the Sunday morning interview program hosts and two senior aides. The location was the dining room in the White House residence.


Filed under: Economy • John King • President Barack Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. StevG

    No offence to George Bush, but it sure is nice to hear a president that
    can actually give a speech where his thoughts and plans are conveyed to the American people. His positive speech showed us his plan and hopes,on where and how he hoped to lead us out of the problems we are facing. All we can hope for is a bipartisan effort,
    which is probably not likely or afew cross overs like the stimulus plan.

    February 25, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  2. Ken Sciberras

    I think there is a simple plan for stimulating the economy. Start by regulating what and how things get reported to your credit 1st. Then have an oversight commitee oversee what I would call the individual credit review process. The process is simple Those people that have paid their bills on time for the last 2 years (not 7,8,10 or somtimes longer) and have no outstanding collections will have all derogitory credit removed from thier report. This will in essance give those individuals who had problems because of lost jobs ext a fresh start while ensuring that only the individuals who can actually afford more and are currently paying thier bills go out and buy it. Think of all the people who have had little mistakes on thier credit who would like to go out and buy a big purchase item but can't. Not because they cant afford it. but because their FICO SCORES dont allow them to. The big three credit burrows hurt this economy just as much if not more than the banks that use the reports to issue the credit in the first place!

    February 25, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  3. Bailey A Hughes

    well, if President Obama would like some help on getting the banks to open credit to stimulate the economy, just let me know & I will be willing to provide some information to do just that, saving both the banks & the taxpayers millions of dallars at no cost to the government
    There are certain things that will happen soon and some will help the economic recovery, so will not. To find out just what will happen beyound any of our control, just contact me as I do have an insite on the economic crisis.

    February 25, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  4. Afrikan, in Africa

    Hey, you Amerians. Why do you continue to politik as if the elections are not over?
    Obama needs all the backing from you and not sabortage like the way republicans are doing. Believe me, the whole world knows that America is financially bankrupt, but we still look up to you for inspiration and guidance. If you drop the ball someone else will pick it up. Someone like the Chinese!
    Obama is not God that he can fix things overnight, alone.He needs all hands on deck. American hands. The right and the left.

    February 25, 2009 at 7:01 am |
  5. K Carl

    Obama's speech was exactly what we needed to hear. He's focused, strong, thoughtful, smart and determined to move this country towards healing and prosperity. President Obama does not pretend to have all of the answers but I know he's on the side of the people.

    Republicans? What's WRONG with them? Where are their helpful ideas? The Republican response was so typical. Tone deaf and not reality based.

    Hint #1: Counting on income tax relief to solve this massive economic problem doesn’t work when people are losing their jobs and DON’T HAVE INCOME TO TAX.

    Hint #2: It was President Bush who let Americans down during and after Katrina. To hold that fiasco up as an example of why Americans shouldn’t allow our government to do the job of serving the people doesn’t make sense.

    #3 Didn’t speaker accept nearly FOUR BILLION DOLLARS in government assistance??? Hypocrite thy name is Republican

    Republicans never seem to have any idea about how to address the increasing homeless problem. Tax cuts won’t solve that.

    February 25, 2009 at 3:23 am |
  6. Damon

    John great article, but Obama went off on many idealistic ideas. He gave the people more boost in confidence and letting them have a feeling that everything is going to be alright. Taxing the rich wouldn't do much. If you taxed the rich and they would increase it among the people to have it balance off so they wouldn't have to pay the taxes. it would effect the people more than the rich

    February 25, 2009 at 2:45 am |
  7. GF, Los Angeles

    Luis, we've been in a war for 7 years plus. I agree with you though once people wake up and realize the dollar is worth nothing, we will turn into Mexico overnight.

    February 25, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  8. SueL Tex

    Credit card interest rates are so very high in the double digits. There was a time when taxpayers could deduct the interest payed on credit card accounts during federal tax season. What ever happen to that, why wasn't that included in the famous package????????

    February 25, 2009 at 1:03 am |
  9. Ken

    It was a decent speech, but the President lied about there being no earmarks in his stimulus. I also got a laugh out of the fact he thinks that raising taxes on the top two percent will pay for everything and reduce the deficit. Do the math people it doesn’t add up.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  10. Kathy

    President Obama's speech was what the average American needed to hear. He was direct and hopeful. I believe that he will deliver what he has spoken to the people. He can multi-task. He will be successful. He spoke on to issues that troubles me-healthcare and schools especially (S.C.). Preventive care should be a great priority. Finding cures for these diseases, healthcare cost will decrease tremendously. Schools in the south need much upgrades. So many kids with great potential are gettting left behind. I'm impress on how the government will be keeping a watch on how the expenses are being maintain.

    February 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  11. Elizabeth F

    It's good to know he is not embarrass to let them know he is hungry too and need his food.

    February 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  12. margaret jacobson

    I am 85 and have lived through all the crises starting with the Depression. We do need some tightening of regulations in our govenment, but I do not believe in government running our lives through all the changes that must be made. Private citizens can do it, as we've done before, with some help of govenrment, but not with government control.

    February 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  13. Frederick Barker

    I though the President's comments were clear, honest and sincere. I support his efforts 100%.

    February 24, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  14. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    John King! You are right on target! Great Job!

    February 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  15. Marcia-Pennsylvania

    After what the last administration has done to this country.....allowing Wall Street and the Banks..........to steal. I'm praying that President Obama will be able to correct the horrible mess.

    February 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  16. Dodie from Irvine, CA

    Luis. I am sure the world already knows... If you and I know, all major countries already know...

    February 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  17. milton stein

    just a thought about our health care...
    everyone speaks about the cost.
    does anyone question what hospitals and
    doctors charge??
    i was treated in an emergency room.
    a baby aspirin was billed $30.00 to me.
    that was just one inflated item.

    February 24, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  18. Crissy

    Mr. King thanks for sharing the behind the scenes stuff with us. It's cool to hear what the Prez and his kids think about stuff. The economy sucks and its all everybody talks about so its cool to hear the good stuff. Its cool he reads the letters from everyday people to stay in touch.

    February 24, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  19. Luis

    Let be realistic here:

    Our currency is based on a fiat currency, It ain't backed by gold. Once the world wakes up to our little madoff scheme, it's going to be party over for us. We are broke..

    Only a war is going to save us. That or ask people for their gold bullion and jewelry just like the socialist FDR did back in the depression which he made great.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  20. Annie Kate


    Hope you got a good lunch that you got to eat out of the meeting. I like the rose and thorn game the Obama's go through – that is a neat way to look back at your day. I think though that Malia showed great insight as children often do when she told her father he had a particularly "thorny" job. He does and the big thorns are yet to come I'm afraid.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  21. sharon, cape breton

    I really enjoyed your post John. You always write and and report in ways that everyday people will understand. I agree that the President does have to keep up a somewhat negative point of view on the financial situation so that everyone will really believe that times are horrifically tough right now. Where he and all those trying to sell his plan have to be careful though is in appearing so negative that no one will think anything they do will help. There is a fine line here that can easily be crossed. I think he'll be able to walk that line very well tonight and start bringing in some optimism, but he better get on those around him to start preaching the same kind of optimism. People need to hear the hope from more than just Obama before the general population and the money makers start to believe things are going to get better. The Yes WE Can montra can't work with only one person shouting it.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  22. Joe G. (From Illinois)

    If he got a 789 Billion bill passed in a partisan way.. It don’t mean “Bipartisan Way.” And if 53% of voters elected him.. it don’t mean “Everybody.” And so on and on.. If anybody is offended by my credibility lesson.. don’t entice honest discussion or blog comments. Thank you.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  23. Cindy

    Congrats on getting to have lunch with the pres! And thanks on giving us a behind the scene look at how it went.

    I for one think that Obama should continue doing as he has done so far...he needs to be straight up on what's going on. There is no use in sugar coating it when we all can see that things are bad. No amount of "happy" talk will make people go out and spend when we know in our hearts that we shouldn't but should save. No need to lie to us!

    Obama's daughter telling him that he had a thorny job was just too cute!!


    February 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  24. xtina, chicago IL

    Great post, John ! I liked the "behind the scenes" items you described. Im sure past Presidents had the same "rules", but we elected someone who promised "change". Obama + Rahm Emanuel are public servants. the part about "background" and "not quoting the President" shows Obama is not transparent.

    February 24, 2009 at 8:12 pm |