In an hourlong, primetime news conference on the economy last night, President Obama was optimistic, cautious, defensive, snappish, professorial.
In any time of crisis, we look to leaders to guide us with both words and tone. What will Americans take from last night? Here's what they woke to from their media today:
The Washington Post led with Obama, in defense of his budget, noting progress on the economy:
President Obama sought to reassure Americans last night that his administration has made progress in reviving the economy and said his $3.6 trillion budget is "inseparable from this recovery."...
Last night, against a backdrop of a broad national anxiety that the economy may still be failing, he attempted to recalibrate the high hopes to more closely fit the challenges he said lie ahead.
Fox News noted Obama's caution:
WASHINGTON -- What kind of politician brings a teleprompter to a news conference?CNN emphasized a somber Obama:
A careful one.
President Barack Obama took no chances in his second prime-time news conference, reading a prepared statement in which he took both sides of the AIG bonus brouhaha and asked an anxious nation for its patience.
President Barack Obama presented a sober assessment of the state of the economy in his primetime news conference Tuesday, but he insisted his administration has a strategy in place to "attack this crisis on all fronts."The New York Times noted Obama's tone - that he was more lecturer than speechmaker. That may have been deliberate:
"It took many years and many failures to lead us here. And it will take many months and many different solutions to lead us out. There are no quick fixes, and there are no silver bullets," he said.
To a certain extent, Mr. Obama’s demeanor could have been calculated — an effort, aides said, to lower the temperature after a supercharged week and nudge the country toward what Mr. Obama considers the more pressing issues of fixing the banking system and reviving the economy. Even after excoriating the A.I.G. executives, he cautioned that “the rest of us can’t afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit.”As with most news conferences, this one will soon be unmemorable. But what was notable was what we didn't hear - the dire road ahead that has made regular appearances in Obama's speeches and remarks.
Is that a politically expedient nod to the notion that the deficits we're accumulating had better start working? Or an affirmation of what many analysts are sensing - that we're readying for a long climb out, instead of still bracing for something worse?
What do you think today? Let us know.