Barack Obama is holding another news conference . He’s yet to hold one that involves more than a half-dozen questions. Maybe this will be the one. The main subject appears to be the admission that — perhaps for an entire generation — we’re giving up on the idea of eliminating deficits.
Where is the “new economics” coming from? Check out the TVs under the word “Washington” in the background during a presentation by a CNBC economics expert this morning.
That’s Elmo from Sesame Street, I believe.
9:41 a.m. Clinton time has returned to Washington. The president-elect is late again. The set is American-flag bedecked stage. It seems the worse the economy gets, the more flags get added to the stage.
9:43 a.m. – We’re underway. In his opening statement, Obama says he’s committed to change and an end to wasteful spending. He’s been warning Congress not to load up a stimulus bill with pet projects. He says the deficit isn’t just dollars, but of trust and accountability.
He introduces a chief performance officer. It’s Nancy Killefer, a director at McKinsey & Company. She’s another Clintonian. She was a former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Bill Clinton administration.
She promises to “create a government that works for its citizens.” As with yesterday’s Midday session with Minnesota lawmakers, she invokes the need for government to “work more efficiently and effectively.” Also like yesterday, she has no specifics.
Q: What will you do about Medicare and Social Security?
A: He repeats that “if we do nothing, we’ll continue to see red ink as far as the eye can see.” He says creating jobs will cost more money. “We are working on our budget plans and beginning consultations with members of Congress.” You’re not dreaming; he didn’t come close to answering the question.
Q: Are you involved in cease fire talks in Gaza?
A: We can’t have two administrations running foreign policy at the same time. I’m being briefed.
Q: How should we interpret your silence on the issue?
A: I can’t control how people interpret my silence.
Q: Congress is talking a larger stimulus bill than you are? How do you reconcile that?
A: We’re still in consultation with members of Congress about the final size of the package. We expect it will be on the high end of our estimates but won’t be as high as some economists are recommending. It’s important it not contain earmarks (pork).
Aside: KC Star editorial — Stimulus bill will be loaded with earmarks.
Q: What’s your view of Roland Burris not being seated?
A: That’s a Senate matter.
That’s it. A new record for least number of questions he’s taken at a news conference.