Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama Addressing the Nation's Governors

Transcribed live from MSNBC at 11:05am EST.

President Obama: "There has been some healthy debate over the last few weeks, the last few days about this stimulus package even among the Governors. And I think that's a healthy debate. That keeps me on my toes, it keeps our administration on our toes. But I just want us to not lose perspective of the fact that most of the things that have been the topic of argument over the last several days amount to a fraction of the overall stimulus package. This sometimes gets lost in the cable chatter.

For example, I think there are some very legitimate concerns on the part of some about the sustainability of expanding unemployment insurance. What hasn't been noted is that is $7 billion out of a $787 billion program and it's not even the majority of the expansion of unemployment insurance. So it is possible for those who are concerned about sustaining a change that increases eligibility for part time workers to still see the benefit of $30 billion plus that is going even if you don't make the change.

So I, the reason I make that point is that I want to make sure that we are having an honest debate and presenting to the American people a fulsome accounting of what is going on in this program. When I hear people say, 'Well, there's a lot of waste in this program,' well from my perspective at least, keeping teachers in the classroom is not wasteful. From my perspective, tax cuts to 95% of working families is not wasteful. From my perspective, providing all of you additional resources to rebuild roads and bridges, and levees and dams, that will enhance the quality of life in your state but also make it more economically competitive, that's not wasteful.

And so if we agree on 90% of this stuff and we're spending all our time on television arguing about one, two, three percent of the spending in this thing, and somehow it's being characterized in broad brushes, wasteful spending, that starts sounding more like politics, and that's what right now we don't have time to do.

So, I will always be open to honest disagreements and I think there are some legitimate concerns that can be raised on a whole host of these issues, and you're responsible at the state level. And if the federal government gives you something now, and then two years later it's gone and people are looking to you and starting to blame you - I don't want to put you in that position - and so you need to think about how this money is going to be spent wisely. What I don't want us to do though, it to just get caught up in the same old stuff that inhibits us from acting effectively and in concert. There's going to be ample time for campaigns down the road. Right now we've got to make sure we're standing up for the American people and putting them back to work."

1 comment:

Annette said...

Smackdown round 1 to the He doesn't have that bully pulpit for nothing... I think they just got called out for the politicking asshats they are.