Holiday Address (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Holiday Radio Address
December 27, 2008

Good morning. This week, Americans are gathering with family and friends across the country to celebrate the blessings of Christmas and the holiday season.

As we celebrate this joyous time of year, our thoughts turn to the brave men and women who serve our country far from home. Their extraordinary and selfless sacrifice is an inspiration to us all, and part of the unbroken line of heroism that has made our freedom and prosperity possible for over two centuries.

Many troops are serving their second, third, or fourth tour of duty. And we are reminded that they are more than dedicated Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard – they are devoted fathers and mothers; husbands and wives; sons and daughters; and sisters and brothers.

This holiday season, their families celebrate with a joy that is muted knowing that a loved one is absent, and sometimes in danger. In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table; in distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and women can only wonder at the look on their child’s face as they open a gift back home.

Our troops and military families have won the respect and gratitude of their broader American family. Michelle and I have them in our prayers this Christmas, and we must all continue to offer them our full support in the weeks and months to come. .

These are also tough times for many Americans struggling in our sluggish economy. As we count the higher blessings of faith and family, we know that millions of Americans don’t have a job. Many more are struggling to pay the bills or stay in their homes. From students to seniors, the future seems uncertain.

That is why this season of giving should also be a time to renew a sense of common purpose and shared citizenship. Now, more than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Americans – that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. Now, we must all do our part to serve one another; to seek new ideas and new innovation; and to start a new chapter for our great country.

That is the spirit that will guide my Administration in the New Year. If the American people come together and put their shoulder to the wheel of history, then I know that we can put our people back to work and point our country in a new direction. That is how we will see ourselves through this time of crisis, and reach the promise of a brighter day.

After all, that is what Americans have always done.

232 years ago, when America was newly born as a nation, George Washington and his Army faced impossible odds as they struggled to free themselves from the grip of an empire.

It was Christmas Day—December 25th, 1776 – that they fought through ice and cold to make an improbable crossing of the Delaware River. They caught the enemy off guard, won victories in Trenton and Princeton, and gave new momentum to a beleaguered Army and new hope to the cause of Independence.

Many ages have passed since that first American Christmas. We have crossed many rivers as a people. But the lessons that have carried us through are the same lessons that we celebrate every Christmas season—the same lessons that guide us to this very day: that hope endures, and that a new birth of peace is always possible.
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President-elect Barack Obama Weekly Address (Video/Transcript

Remarks of the President-Elect Barack Obama
Science Team Rollout Radio Address
Friday, December 17, 2008
Chicago, Illinois


Over the past few weeks, Vice President-Elect Biden and I have announced some of the leaders who will advise us as we seek to meet America’s twenty-first century challenges, from strengthening our security, to rebuilding our economy, to preserving our planet for our children and grandchildren. Today, I am pleased to announce members of my science and technology team whose work will be critical to these efforts.

Whether it’s the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bioterror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create twenty-first century jobs—today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation. It is time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology.

Right now, in labs, classrooms and companies across America, our leading minds are hard at work chasing the next big idea, on the cusp of breakthroughs that could revolutionize our lives. But history tells us that they cannot do it alone. From landing on the moon, to sequencing the human genome, to inventing the Internet, America has been the first to cross that new frontier because we had leaders who paved the way: leaders like President Kennedy, who inspired us to push the boundaries of the known world and achieve the impossible; leaders who not only invested in our scientists, but who respected the integrity of the scientific process.

Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States—and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.

Dr. John Holdren has agreed to serve as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. John is a professor and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, as well as President and Director of the Woods Hole Research Center. A physicist renowned for his work on climate and energy, he’s received numerous honors and awards for his contributions and has been one of the most passionate and persistent voices of our time about the growing threat of climate change. I look forward to his wise counsel in the years ahead.

John will also serve as a Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology—or PCAST—as will Dr. Harold Varmus and Dr. Eric Lander. Together, they will work to remake PCAST into a vigorous external advisory council that will shape my thinking on the scientific aspects of my policy priorities.

Dr. Varmus is no stranger to this work. He is not just a path-breaking scientist, having won a Nobel Prize for his research on the causes of cancer—he also served as Director of the National Institutes of Health during the Clinton Administration. I am grateful he has answered the call to serve once again.

Dr. Eric Lander is the Founding Director of the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard and was one of the driving forces behind mapping the human genome—one of the greatest scientific achievements in history. I know he will be a powerful voice in my Administration as we seek to find the causes and cures of our most devastating diseases.

Finally, Dr. Jane Lubchenco has accepted my nomination as the Administrator of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is devoted to conserving our marine and coastal resources and monitoring our weather. An internationally known environmental scientist and ecologist and former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Jane has advised the President and Congress on scientific matters, and I am confident she will provide passionate and dedicated leadership at NOAA.

Working with these leaders, we will seek to draw on the power of science to both meet our challenges across the globe and revitalize our economy here at home. And I’ll be speaking more after the New Year about how my Administration will engage leaders in the technology community and harness technology and innovation to create jobs, enhance America’s competitiveness and advance our national priorities.

I am confident that if we recommit ourselves to discovery; if we support science education to create the next generation of scientists and engineers right here in America; if we have the vision to believe and invest in things unseen, then we can lead the world into a new future of peace and prosperity.

Thank you.

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President-elect Obama names more appointments (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama - As prepared for delivery
SEC, CFTC, and Federal Reserve Board Announcements
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Chicago, Illinois


Over the past few weeks, I’ve announced key members of my economic team, who are now crafting a 21st Century Economic Recovery Plan that will create 2.5 million jobs. But as I said throughout the campaign, what will be just as important to our long-term economic stability is a 21st century regulatory framework to ensure that a crisis like this can never happen again.

Today, I am pleased to announce two individuals who will be leading that effort – Mary Schapiro as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Gary Gensler as the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. I’m also pleased to announce that Dan Tarullo will be bringing his years of expertise on regulatory and banking reform to the Federal Reserve Board as one of its new governors.

In the last few days, the alleged scandal at Madoff Investment Securities has reminded us yet again of how badly reform is needed when it comes to the rules and regulations that govern our markets. Charities that invested in Madoff could end up losing savings on which millions depend – a massive fraud that was made possible in part because the regulators who were assigned to oversee Wall Street dropped the ball. And if the financial crisis has taught us anything, it’s that this failure of oversight and accountability doesn’t just harm the individuals involved, it has the potential to devastate our entire economy. That’s a failure we cannot afford.

Financial regulatory reform will be one of the top legislative priorities of my Administration, and as a symbol of how important I view this reform, I’m announcing these appointments months earlier than previous administrations have. These individuals will help put in place new, common-sense rules of the road that will protect investors, consumers, and our entire economy from fraud and manipulation by an irresponsible few. These rules will reward the industriousness and entrepreneurial spirit that’s always been the engine of our prosperity, and crack down on the culture of greed and scheming that has led us to this day of reckoning. Instead of allowing interests to put their thumbs on the economic scales and CEOs run off with excessive golden parachutes, we’ll ensure openness, accountability, and transparency in our markets so that people can trust the value of the financial product they’re buying. And instead of appointing people with disdain for regulation, I will ensure that our regulatory agencies are led by individuals who are ready and willing to enforce the law.

These are precisely the reasons why I chose the outstanding public servants who are with me today. Mary Schapiro currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest regulator for all securities firms that do business with the United States. Before that, she served as an SEC commissioner, and as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Mary is known as a regulator who’s both smart and tough – so much so that she’s been criticized by the same industry insiders who we need to get tough on. For years, she’s used her position to educate investors about market risks, warn seniors and employers about retirement scams, and call for increased regulation of mortgage brokers long before this housing crisis hit. I know that Mary will provide the new ideas, new reforms, and new spirit of accountability that the SEC desperately needs so that fraud like the Madoff scandal doesn’t happen again.

To chair the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, I’ve chosen Gary Gensler, who brings a wealth of expertise from both the public and private sectors to this position. In addition to serving as Under Secretary of Treasury during the Clinton Administration and a Senior Advisor to the Senate Banking Committee, Gary also gained a deep knowledge of our financial institutions during his decade as a partner at Goldman Sachs. As the new chairman of a commission charged with regulating some of the unsound practices and excessive leverage that helped cause this crisis, I know he will restore sound judgment and strict oversight to our markets. Along with Mary, Treasury Secretary-designee Tim Geithner, and others, Gary will also serve as a key member of the team that will reform our outdated financial regulations.

I am also announcing Dan Tarullo, one of my trusted economic advisors, as a new governor of the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy function will continue to be critical in navigating us through these trying economic times. But, as many of you know, the Federal Reserve also serves a vital regulatory function. Dan will bring a lifetime of experience to the Fed in economic policy, and financial regulation. A professor of law at Georgetown, Dan previously served as a senior economic advisor in the Clinton Administration, where he coordinated international economic policy and served as President Clinton’s personal representative to multiple G-8 summits. His academic and policy work on financial regulation has anticipated some of the problems we have observed, and he has generated important ideas for how we should move forward. I have no doubt that his knowledge, experience, and independence will make him a valuable addition to the Federal Reserve at this critical time.

For over two centuries, our market has created a prosperity that is the envy of the world, and rewarded the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon of science, technology, and discovery. But the American economy has worked in large part because we have guided the market’s invisible hand with a higher principle – that America prospers when all Americans can prosper. That principle is why we put in place common-sense rules of the road to regulate our market, and it’s why we need to restore and renew those rules today – so that every American from Wall Street to Main Street can have the chance to prosper once more. I have great faith and confidence in the ability of the team I’ve announced to make this possible. Thank you.

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President-elect Obama announces Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture (video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama - As prepared for delivery
Departments of Agriculture and Interior Announcement
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Chicago, Illinois


Earlier this week, I announced key members of the team that will help us seek new forms of energy to build a new economy, to enhance our security, and to leave our children a planet that’s safer and cleaner. Today, I am pleased to announce two other key advisors and members of this team – Governor Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture and Senator Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior. Together, they will serve as guardians of the American landscape on which the health of our economy and the well-being of our families so heavily depend.

One of the great blessings bestowed upon us as Americans is the bounty of our natural environment – from the mountains and parks where we go hiking to the rivers and streams where we go fishing to the forests and fields where the proud tradition of hunting is passed on through the generations. But our wide open spaces are not only a blessing to be enjoyed, they are the foundation of a brighter future. How we harness our natural resources – from the farmlands of Iowa to the springs of Colorado – will speak not only to our quality of life, but to our economic growth and our energy future.

It’s time for a new kind of leadership in Washington that’s committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all our families. That means ensuring that even as we are promoting development where it makes sense, we are also fulfilling our obligation to protect our national treasures. It means ensuring that we are using our farmlands not only to strengthen our agricultural economy, but to grow advanced biofuels that will help make the United States energy independent. And it means ensuring that the policies being shaped at the Departments of Agriculture and Interior are designed to serve not big agribusiness or Washington influence-peddlers, but family farmers and the American people.

That is the kind of leadership embodied by Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack. Ken will bring to the Department of the Interior an abiding commitment to this land we love. His family has farmed and ranched the same land in Colorado for five generations. As a Senator from the great state of Colorado, he has been a champion for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities – from building a clean energy economy to setting aside 250,000 acres of Rocky Mountain National Park as wilderness.

Before serving in the United States Senate, Ken was Attorney General in Colorado, where he worked on a number of land, water, and environmental issues. As a water lawyer for a decade, Ken was also chosen to lead Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources. In that role, he promoted responsible water management, balanced use of our energy resources, and built one of the most successful land conservation efforts in the nation.

Few are better equipped to meet the energy and natural resource challenges we face in the 21st century. Among the many responsibilities Ken will bear as our next Secretary of the Interior is helping ensure that we finally live up to the treaty obligations that are owed to the First Americans. We need more than just a government-to-government relationship; we need a nation-to-nation relationship. And Ken and I will work together to make sure that tribal nations have a voice in this administration.

To lead a Department of Agriculture that helps unlock the potential of a 21st century agricultural economy, I can think of no one better than Tom Vilsack. As Governor of one of our most abundant farm states, he led with vision, promoting biotech to strengthen our farmers and fostering an agricultural economy of the future that not only grows the food we eat, but the energy we use. Tom understands that the solution to our energy crisis will be found not in oil fields abroad but in our farm fields here at home. That is the kind of leader I want in my cabinet.

As our next Secretary of Agriculture, Tom will not only help ensure that rural America has a true partner in implementing the Farm Bill and pursuing agricultural research, but that Washington is looking out for everyone from the small family farms that are feeding our communities to the large farms that are feeding the world. When President Lincoln established the Department of Agriculture nearly a century and a half ago, he called it the “people’s department” for it was meant to serve the interests of those who lived off the land. And I know it will be the people’s department once more when Tom is at the helm.

With the appointments I announced earlier this week, and those I am announcing today, I am confident that we have the team we need to make the rural agenda America’s agenda, to create millions of new green jobs, to free our nation from its dependence on oil, and to help preserve this planet for our children. In the end, that is not only our responsibility as Americans, it is our obligation as stewards of God’s Earth.

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President-Elect Barack Obama: Announcement of Energy and Environment Team (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Announcement of Energy and Environment Team
December 15, 2008
Chicago, Illinois


Good afternoon. Over the past few weeks, Vice President-Elect Biden and I have announced key members of our economic and national security teams. In the 21st century, we know that the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: energy. So today, we’re pleased to introduce the team that will lead our efforts on energy and the environment.

In the next few years, the choices that we make will help determine the kind of country – and world – that we will leave to our children and grandchildren. All of us know the problems rooted in our addiction to foreign oil – it constrains our economy, shifts wealth to hostile regimes, and leaves us dependent on unstable regions. These urgent dangers are eclipsed only by the long-term threat of climate change, which – unless we act – will lead to drought and famine abroad, devastating weather patterns and terrible storms on our shores, and the disappearance of our coastline at home.

For over three decades, we’ve listened to a growing chorus of warnings about our energy dependence. We’ve heard President after President promise to chart a new course. We’ve heard Congress talk about energy independence, only to pull up short in the face of opposition from special interests. We’ve seen Washington launch policy after policy. Yet our dependence on foreign oil has only grown, even as the world’s resources are disappearing.

This time must be different. This time we cannot fail, nor be lulled into complacency simply because the price at the pump has – for now – gone down from $4 a gallon. To control our own destiny, America must develop new forms of energy and new ways of using it. This is not a challenge for government alone – it is a challenge for all of us. The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained, all-hands-on-deck effort because the foundation of our energy independence is right here, in America – in the power of wind and solar; in new crops and new technologies; in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs, and the dedication and skill of our workforce. Those are the resources we must harness to move beyond our oil addiction and create a new, hybrid economy.

As we face this challenge, we can seize boundless opportunities for our people. We can create millions of jobs, starting with a 21st Century Economic Recovery Plan that puts Americans to work building wind farms, solar panels, and fuel-efficient cars. We can spark the dynamism of our economy through long term investments in renewable energy that will give life to new businesses and industries, with good jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. We will make public buildings more efficient, modernize our electric grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect and preserve our natural resources.

We must also recognize that the solution to global climate change must be global. I spoke a few days ago with Senator John Kerry, who updated me on the recent climate negotiations in Poland. Just as we work to reduce our own emissions, we must forge international solutions to ensure that every nation is doing its part. As we do so, America will lead not just at the negotiating table – we will lead, as we always have, through innovation and discovery; through hard work and the pursuit of a common purpose.

The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment. They are leading experts and accomplished managers, and they are ready to reform government and help transform our economy so that our people are more prosperous, our nation is more secure, and our planet is protected.

Dr. Steven Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has been working at the cutting edge of our nation’s effort to develop new and cleaner forms of energy. He blazed new trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies. Steven is uniquely-suited to be our next Secretary of Energy as we make this pursuit a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission. The scientists at our national labs will have a distinguished peer at the helm. His appointment should send a signal to all that my Administration will value science, we will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action.

For my Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, I have chosen Lisa Jackson. Lisa has spent a lifetime in public service at the local, state and federal level. As Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, she has helped make her state a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new sources of energy, and she has the talent and experience to continue this effort at the EPA. Lisa also shares my commitment to restoring the EPA’s robust role in protecting our air, water and abundant natural resources so that our environment is cleaner and our communities are safer.

Nancy Sutley will be an integral part of this team as the Chair of my Council on Environmental Quality in the White House. In recent years, we have seen states and cities take the initiative in forging innovative solutions on energy. Nancy has been at the cutting edge of this effort – working as a Regional Administrator for the EPA, at the state level in Sacramento, and recently as the Deputy Mayor for Energy and the Environment in Los Angeles. Now, she will bring this unique experience to Washington, and be a key player in helping to make our government more efficient, and coordinating our efforts to protect our environment at home and around the globe.

Finally, the scope of the effort before us will demand coordination across the government, and my personal engagement as President. That is why I’m naming Carol Browner to a new post in the White House to coordinate energy and climate policy. Carol understands that our efforts to create jobs, achieve energy security and combat climate change demand integration among different agencies; cooperation between federal, state and local governments; and partnership with the private sector. She brings the unmatched experience of being a successful and longest-serving Administrator of the EPA. She will be indispensable in implementing an ambitious and complex energy policy.

Later this week, I will be announcing my designee for Secretary of the Interior, which will fill out my energy and environmental team. The Interior Department will play a critical role in meeting the challenges that I have discussed today.

Looking ahead, I am confident that we will be ready to begin the journey towards a new energy frontier on January 20th. This will be a leading priority of my presidency, and a defining test of our time. We cannot afford complacency, nor accept any more broken promises. We won’t create a new energy economy and protect our environment overnight, but we can begin that work right now if we think anew, and act anew. Now, we must have the will to act, and to act boldly.

Thank you.

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President-elect Barack Obama Weekly Address (Video/Transcript

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
Radio Address on the Economy
Saturday, December 13, 2008


Good morning.

Earlier this week, we learned that the number of Americans filing their first claim for unemployment insurance rose to a nearly 30-year high. This news reflects the pain that’s been rippling across our entire economy. Jobs are being cut. Wages are being slashed. Credit is tight and people can’t get loans. In cities and towns all across this country, families enter a holiday season with unease and uncertainty.

To end this economic crisis, we must end the mortgage crisis where it began. This all started when Americans took out mortgages they couldn’t afford. Some were reckless, aware of the risks they were accepting, but many were innocent, tricked by lenders out to make a quick buck. With banks creating securities they could not value, and regulators looking the other way, the problem began infecting the whole economy, leading to the crisis we’re now facing.

One in ten families who owns a home is now in some form of distress, the most ever recorded. This is deeply troubling. It not only shakes the foundation of our economy, but the foundation of the American Dream. There is nothing more fundamental than having a home to call your own. It’s not just a place to live or raise your children or return after a hard day’s work -- it’s the cornerstone of a family’s financial security.

To stem the rising tide of foreclosures and strengthen our economy, I’ve asked my economic team to develop a bold plan that will dramatically increase the number of families who can stay in their homes. But this plan will only work with a comprehensive, coordinated federal effort to make it a reality. We need every part of our government working together -- from the Treasury Department to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the agency that protects the money you’ve put in the bank. And few will be more essential to this effort than the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

From providing shelter to those displaced by Katrina to giving help to those facing the loss of a home to revitalizing our cities and communities, HUD’s role has never been more important. Since its founding, HUD has been dedicated to tearing down barriers in access to affordable housing -- in an effort to make America more equal and more just. Too often, these efforts have had mixed results.

That is why we cannot keep doing things the old Washington way. We cannot keep throwing money at the problem, hoping for a different result. We need to approach the old challenge of affordable housing with new energy, new ideas, and a new, efficient style of leadership. We need to understand that the old ways of looking at our cities just won’t do. That means promoting cities as the backbone of regional growth by not only solving the problems in our cities, but seizing the opportunities in our growing suburbs, exurbs, and metropolitan areas. No one knows this better than the outstanding public servant I am announcing today as our next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development -- Shaun Donovan.

As Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City, Shaun has led the effort to create the largest housing plan in the nation, helping hundreds of thousands of our citizens buy or rent their homes. Prior to joining Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, Shaun worked both in business, where he was responsible for affordable housing investments, and at one of our nation’s top universities, where he researched and wrote about housing issues. This appointment represents something of a homecoming for Shaun, who worked at HUD in the Clinton administration, leading an effort to help make housing affordable for nearly two million Americans. Trained as an architect, Shaun understands housing down to how homes are designed, built, and wired.

With experience that stretches from the public sector to the private sector to academia, Shaun will bring to this important post fresh thinking, unencumbered by old ideology and outdated ideas. He understands that we need to move past the stale arguments that say low-income Americans shouldn’t even try to own a home or that our mortgage crisis is due solely to a few greedy lenders. He knows that we can put the dream of owning a home within reach for more families, so long as we’re making loans in the right way, and so long as those who buy a home are prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership.

In the end, expanding access to affordable housing isn’t just about caring for the least fortunate among us and strengthening our middle class -- it’s about ending our housing mess, climbing out of our financial crisis, and putting our economy on the path to long-term growth and prosperity. And that is what Shaun and I will work to do together when I am President of the United States.

Thank you.

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President-elect Barack Obama's Weekly Address (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
Radio Address on the Economy
Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good morning.

Yesterday, we received another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing when we learned that 533,000 jobs were lost in November alone, the single worst month of job loss in over three decades. That puts the total number of jobs lost in this recession at nearly 2 million.

But this isn’t about numbers. It’s about each of the families those numbers represent. It’s about the rising unease and frustration that so many of you are feeling during this holiday season. Will you be able to put your kids through college? Will you be able to afford health care? Will you be able to retire with dignity and security? Will your job or your husband’s job or your daughter’s or son's job be the next one cut?

These are the questions that keep so many Americans awake at night. But it is not the first time these questions have been asked. We have faced difficult times before, times when our economic destiny seemed to be slipping out of our hands. And at each moment, we have risen to meet the challenge, as one people united by a sense of common purpose. And I know that Americans can rise to the moment once again.

But we need action – and action now. That is why I have asked my economic team to develop an economic recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street that will help save or create at least two and a half million jobs, while rebuilding our infrastructure, improving our schools, reducing our dependence on oil, and saving billions of dollars.

We won’t do it the old Washington way. We won’t just throw money at the problem. We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve -- by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.

Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.

Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.

Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.

As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.

In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.

These are a few parts of the economic recovery plan that I will be rolling out in the coming weeks. When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately. We need to act with the urgency this moment demands to save or create at least two and a half million jobs so that the nearly two million Americans who’ve lost them know that they have a future. And that’s exactly what I intend to do as President of the United States.

Thanks for listening.


Gov. Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary-designate (Video/Transcript)


Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama--as prepared for delivery
Announcement of Commerce Secretary
Chicago, Illinois
December 3, 2008

Last week, Vice President-Elect Biden and I began the process of announcing our economic team. Today, we are pleased to name another key member of this team: our nominee for Secretary of Commerce, my friend, Governor Bill Richardson.

With each passing day, the work our team has begun, developing plans to revive our economy, becomes more urgent. Earlier this week, we learned that the U.S. economy has been in recession since December of 2007 and that our manufacturing output is at a 26 year low -- two stark reminders of the magnitude of the challenges we face.

But while I know rebuilding our economy won’t be easy -- and it won’t happen overnight -- I also know this: right now, somewhere in America, a small business is at work on the next big idea. A scientist is on the cusp of the next breakthrough discovery. An entrepreneur is sketching plans for the startup that will revolutionize an industry. Right now, across America, the finest products in the world are rolling off our assembly lines. And the proudest, most determined, most productive workers in the world are on the job -- some, already on their second shift of the day; many, putting in longer hours than ever before.

After nearly two years traveling across this country, meeting with workers, visiting businesses large and small, I am more confident than ever before that we have everything we need to renew our economy -- we have the ingenuity and technology, the skill and commitment -- we just need to put it to work. It’s time to not just address our immediate economic threats, but to start laying the groundwork for long-term economic prosperity -- to help American businesses grow and thrive at home, and expand our efforts to promote American enterprise around the world.

This work is the core mission of the Secretary of Commerce. And with his breadth and depth of experience in public life, Governor Richardson is uniquely suited for this role as a leading economic diplomat for America.

During his time in state government and Congress, and in two tours of duty in the cabinet, Bill has seen from just about every angle what makes our economy work and what keeps it from working better.

As Governor of New Mexico, Bill showed how government can act as a partner to support our businesses, helping create 80,000 new jobs. And under his leadership, New Mexico saw the lowest unemployment rate in decades.

As a former Secretary of Energy, Bill understands the steps we must take to build a new, clean-energy industry and create the green jobs of the twenty-first century. Jobs that pay well and won’t be shipped overseas -- jobs that will help us end our dependence on foreign oil.

And as a former Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill brings both international stature and a deep understanding of today’s global economy. He understands that the success of today’s business in Detroit or Columbus often depends on whether it can sell products in places like Santiago or Shanghai. And he knows that America’s reputation in the world is critical not just to our security, but to our prosperity -- that when the citizens of the world respect America’s leadership, they are more likely to buy America’s products.

To this crucial work of restoring America’s international standing, Bill will bring a leadership style all his own. Bill has never been content to learn just from briefing books -- never satisfied with only the official version of the story. During his time in Congress, he held more than 2,500 town-hall meetings, so he could hear directly from constituents. He was a regular in the U.N. cafeteria, mixing it up with U.N. employees over lunch. And during his 2002 campaign for Governor, he actually broke a world record by shaking nearly 14,000 hands in just eight hours.

All of this reflects a determination to reach out and understand where people are coming from, what they hope for, and what he can do to help. This approach, I believe, has been the key to Bill’s success as a negotiator and will be key to his work on the critical functions of the Commerce Department -- from administering our census and monitoring our climate to protecting our intellectual property and restoring our economic diplomacy.

In the end, Bill Richardson is a leader who shares my values -- and he measures progress the same way I do. Are we creating good jobs, instead of losing them? Are incomes growing, instead of shrinking? I know that Bill will be an unyielding advocate for American business and American jobs, at home and around the world. And I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.

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Governor Bill Richardso:

Mr. President-Elect, this is a great honor.

There are some who speak of a team or rivals. But I've never seen it that way. Past competitors, yes, but rivals implies something harder-edged and less forgiving. And in the worlds of diplomacy and commerce, you open markets and minds not with rivalry but instead with partnership and innovation and hard work.There is a vital role of the department of commerce in our economic recovery.

The official role of our department is job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improving living standards, the same goals of your economic plan, Mr. President-Elect.

The unique strength of the department and its talented public servants, make it the natural agency to serve as programmatic nerve center in the American struggle to rejuvenate our economy.

The catchphrases of your economic plan -- investment, public-private partnerships, green jobs, technology, broadband, climate change and research -- that is the department of commerce.

Boosting commerce between states and nations, is not just a path to solvency and growth, it’s the only path. With your leadership, Mr. President-Elect, American will be once again on the forefront of innovation, especially on the new frontier of energy independence and clean-energy jobs. We will create technology the world is seeking, while creating millions of new jobs that can never be outsourced. We will revitalize our nation’s historic strength in manufacturing, while restoring our position of respect in the world.

And finally let me say how proud I have been to serve as a governor of the state that I love, New Mexico I will never forget you and I will for ever be grateful. And to Barbara, my wife and the rest of my family, thank you.

Governor Bill Richardson addresses the Spanish-Speaking-Audience in Spanish:

"Al resto de la comunidad Latina, gracias por su apoyo y su confianza. Gracias por sus votos a nuestro candidato y ahora presidente-electo. Como el nos dijo, si se puede. Y nuestro voto ha sido nuestra voz. Esta eleccion ha demostrado nuestra fuerza y nuestro unidad. Tenemos que seguir luchando por nuestros derechos al mismo tiempo que perseguimos el sueno Americano para todos. A los millones de habitantes de America Latina y el Caribe, hay que fortalecer nuestros nexos y recordar la importancia de una -- unido."

Governor Bill Richardson closing remarks:

And it will be a great honor to serve once again a president who recognizes that America's diverse heritage is its greatest strength. Thank you.


Clinton 'Proud' to Join Obama (Video/ Transcript)


President elect. Thank you for this honor. If confirmed I will give this assignments your administration. And our country mile. They also want to thank my fellow New Yorkers. Who have for eight years given me the joy of a job I'd love. With the opportunity to work on issues I care about deeply in -- state that I cherish. And you've also helped prepare me well for this new role. After all New Yorkers are afraid to speak their minds and do so in every language.

Leaving the senate is very difficult for me but during the last few weeks I thought often about our troops serving bravely under difficult circumstances in Iraqi, Afghanistan and elsewhere. I thought of those other Americans in our foreign and civil services, working hard to promote and protect our interest around the world. And I thought of the daunting tasks ahead for our country, an economy that is reeling, a climate that is warming and as we saw with the horrible events in Mumbai, threats that are relentless. The fate of our nation

By electing Barak Obama, our next president, the American people have demanded, not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America’s standing in the world as force for positive change. We know, our security, our values and interest can not be protected and advanced by force alone, nor indeed by Americans alone. We must pursue vigorous diplomacy using all the tools we can muster to build a future with more partners and fewer adversaries, more opportunities and fewer dangers for all who seek freedom, peace and prosperity.

American is a place founded on the idea that everybody should have the right to live up to his or her God-given potential. And it is that same ideal that must guild America’s purpose in the world today. And while we are determined to defend our freedoms and liberties at all cost, we also reach out to the world again, seeking common cause and higher ground.

And so I believe the best way to continue servering my country, is to join President-elect Obama, Vice-President-elect Biden, the leaders here and the dedicated public servants of the state department, on behave of our nation at this defining moment. President Kandy once said, that engaging the world to meet the threats we face was the greatest adventure of our century. Oh Mr. President-elect, I am proud to join you on what will be a difficult and exciting adventure in this new century. And may god bless you and all that serve with you, and our great country.

President-elect Obama commemorates 20th Annual World AIDS Day (Video )

This is not a transcript of the video!

Official statement from the Obama-Biden Transition Team
to mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day
December 1st, 2008

World AIDS Day is a day of both commemoration and promise for the many millions of people around the world who are affected by HIV/AIDS. This year’s theme, Leadership, is a particular reminder to me that World AIDS Day cannot be confined to a single day of the year. For that reason, I have committed my administration to developing and implementing a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce HIV infections, increase access to treatment and care and reduce HIV/AIDS-related health disparities.

Today, the United States faces an alarming rate of HIV/AIDS infections. Through the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we will set a series of goals to prevent and reduce HIV/AIDS infections and improve treatment throughout the United States, particularly among communities of color which have been disproportionately affected. I will ensure that the federal government is accountable for achieving these goals.

Too many people are unaware that while HIV/AIDS is incurable, it is 100 percent preventable. And far too many people have become infected because they lack basic information about how this disease is spread. I intend to confront the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS – a stigma which is too often tied to racism, sexism and homophobia. That is what Michelle and I tried to do by taking a public HIV test in Kenya a few years ago.

We must engage in honest, open dialogue and reach out to those most at risk. My administration will educate people about HIV/AIDS, ensure people living with HIV/AIDS have access to treatment, and work with Congress to enact an extensive program of prevention, including access to comprehensive age-appropriate sex education for all school age children.

We will also keep faith with the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world by continuing to support the work of the Global AIDS Fund and maintaining our strong leadership through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.

And after a year of important work to end HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day 2009 will offer an opportunity for us to take measure of the progress we have made.

Finally, to all those living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and throughout the world, their families and partners and caregivers, know that I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers today and throughout the coming year.

Courtesy of

The National Security Team (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
Announcement of National Security Team
December 1st, 2008
Chicago, IL


Good morning, everybody. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Last week, we announced our economic team, which is working as we speak to craft an Economic Recovery Program to create jobs and grow our struggling economy. Today, Vice President-elect Biden and I are pleased to announce our national security team.

The national security challenges we face are just as grave -- and just as urgent -- as our economic crisis. We are fighting two wars. Old conflicts remain unresolved, and newly assertive powers have put strains on the international system. The spread of nuclear weapons raises the peril that the world’s deadliest technology could fall into dangerous hands. Our dependence on foreign oil empowers authoritarian governments and endangers our planet.

America must also be strong at home to be strong abroad. We need to provide education and opportunity for our citizens, so every American can compete with anyone, anywhere. And our economic power must sustain our military strength, our diplomatic leverage, and our global leadership.

The common thread linking these challenges is the fundamental reality that in the 21st century, our destiny is shared with the world's. From our markets to our security; from our public health to our climate -- we must act with the understanding that, now more than ever, we have a stake in what happens across the globe. And as we learned so painfully on 9/11, terror cannot be contained by borders, nor safety provided by oceans alone.

Last week, we were reminded of this threat once again when terrorists took the lives of six American among nearly 200 victims in Mumbai. In the world we seek, there is no place for those who kill innocent civilians to advance hateful extremism. This weekend, I told Prime Minister Singh that Americans stand with the people of India in this dark time. And I am confident that India's great democracy is more resilient than killers who would tear it down.

And so, in this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning -- a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests, and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world: democracy and justice; opportunity and unyielding hope -- because American values are America’s greatest export to the world.

To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that.

In their past service and plans for the future, these men and women represent all of those elements of American power, and the very best of the American example. They have served in uniform and as diplomats; they have worked as legislators, law enforcement officials, and executives. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America's role as a leader in the world.

I have known Hillary Clinton as a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel, and as a campaign opponent. She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and toughness, and a remarkable work ethic. I am proud that she will be our next Secretary of State. She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence; who knows many of the world's leaders; who will command respect in every capitol; and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world.

Hillary’s appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances. There is much to do -- from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea, to seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to strengthening international institutions. I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead our State Department, and to work with me in tackling this ambitious foreign policy agenda.

At a time when we face an unprecedented transition amidst two wars, I have asked Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense, and I'm pleased that he's accepted. Two years ago, he took over the Pentagon at a difficult time. He restored accountability. He won the confidence of military commanders, and the trust of our brave men and women in uniform, and their families. He earned the respect of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for his pragmatism and competence. He knows that we need a sustainable national security strategy -- and that includes a bipartisan consensus at home.

As I said throughout the campaign, I will be giving Secretary Gates and our military a new mission as soon as I take office: responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control. We will also ensure that we have the strategy -- and resources -- to succeed against al Qaeda and the Taliban. As Bob said not too long ago, Afghanistan is where the war on terror began, and it is where it must end. And going forward, we will continue to make the investments necessary to strengthen our military and increase our ground forces to defeat the threats of the 21st century.

Eric Holder has the talent and commitment to succeed as Attorney General from his first day on the job, which is even more important in a transition that demands vigilance. He has distinguished himself as a prosecutor, a Judge, and a senior official, and he is deeply familiar with the law enforcement challenges we face– from terrorism to counter-intelligence; from white collar crime to public corruption.

Eric also has the combination of toughness and independence that we need at the Justice Department. Let me be clear: the Attorney General serves the American people. And I have every expectation that Eric will protect our people, uphold the public trust, and adhere to our Constitution.

Janet Napolitano offers the experience and executive skill that we need in the next Secretary of Homeland Security. She has spent her career protecting people -- as a US Attorney, an Attorney General, and as Governor of Arizona. She understands the need for a Department of Homeland Security that has the capacity to help prevent terrorist attacks and respond to catastrophe -- be it manmade or natural.

Janet assumes this critical role having learned the lessons -- some of them painful -- of the last several years, from 9/11 to Katrina. She insists on competence and accountability. She knows firsthand the need to have a partner in Washington that works well with state and local governments. She understands as well as anyone the danger of an unsecure border. And she will be a leader who can reform a sprawling Department while safeguarding our homeland.

Susan Rice will take on the crucial task of serving as Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations. Susan has been a close and trusted advisor. As in previous Administrations, the UN Ambassador will serve as a member of my cabinet and integral member of my team. Her background as a scholar, on the National Security Council, and Assistant Secretary of State will serve our nation well at the United Nations.

Susan knows that the global challenges we face demand global institutions that work. She shares my belief that the UN is an indispensable -- and imperfect -- forum. She will carry the message that our commitment to multilateral action must be coupled with a commitment to reform. We need the UN to be more effective as a venue for collective action -- against terror and proliferation; climate change and genocide; poverty and disease.

Finally, I am convinced that General James Jones is uniquely suited to be a strong and skilled National Security Advisor. Generations of Joneses have served heroically on the battlefield -- from the beaches of Tarawa in World War II, to Foxtrot Ridge in Vietnam. Jim's Silver Star is a proud part of that legacy. He will bring to the job the dual experience of serving in uniform and as a diplomat. He has commanded a platoon in battle, served as Supreme Allied Commander in a time of war, and worked on behalf of peace in the Middle East.

Jim is focused on the threats of today and the future. He understands the connection between energy and national security, and has worked on the frontlines of global instability – from Kosovo to northern Iraq to Afghanistan. He will advise me and work effectively to integrate our efforts across the government, so that we are effectively using all elements of American power to defeat unconventional threats and promote our values.

I am confident that this is the team that we need to make a new beginning for American national security. This morning, we met to discuss the situation in Mumbai and some of the challenges that we face in the months and years ahead. In the coming weeks, I will be in close contact with these advisors, who will be working with their counterparts in the Bush Administration to make sure that we are ready to hit the ground running on January 20. Given the range of threats that we face -- and the vulnerability that can be a part of every presidential transition -- I hope that we can proceed swiftly for those national security officials who demand confirmation.

We move forward with the humility that comes with knowing that there are brave men and women protecting us on the front lines. Diplomats and intelligence officers in dangerous corners of the world. Troops serving their second, third, or fourth tours. FBI agents in the field, cops on the beat, prosecutors in our courts, and cargo inspectors at our ports. These selfless Americans whose names are unknown to most of us will form the backbone of our effort. If we serve as well as they do, we will protect our country and promote our values.

And as we move forward with respect for America's tradition of a bipartisan national security policy, and a commitment to national unity. When it comes to keeping our nation and our people safe, we are not Republicans and we are not Democrats: we are Americans. There is no monopoly of power or wisdom in either party. Together, as one nation, as one people, we can shape our times instead of being shaped by them. Together, we will meet the challenges of the 21st century not with fear, but with hope.

Courtesy of


President-elect Barack Obama's Thanksgiving address (Video/Transcript)


Good morning.

Nearly 150 years ago, in one of the darkest years of our nation's history, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. America was split by Civil War. But Lincoln said in his first Thanksgiving decree that difficult times made it even more appropriate for our blessings to be -- and I quote -- "gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people."

This week, the American people came together with family and friends to carry on this distinctly American tradition. We gave thanks for loved ones and for our lasting pride in our communities and our country. We took comfort in good memories while looking forward to the promise of change.

But this Thanksgiving also takes place at a time of great trial for our people.

Across the country, there were empty seats at the table, as brave Americans continue to serve in harm’s way from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq. We honor and give thanks for their sacrifice, and stand by the families who endure their absence with such dignity and resolve.

At home, we face an economic crisis of historic proportions. More and more Americans are worried about losing a job or making their mortgage payment. Workers are wondering if next month's paycheck will pay next month's bills. Retirees are watching their savings disappear, and students are struggling with the cost of tuition.

It's going to take bold and immediate action to confront this crisis. That's why I'm committed to forging a new beginning from the moment I take office as President of the United States. Earlier this week, I announced my economic team. This talented and dedicated group is already hard at work crafting an Economic Recovery Plan that will create or save 2.5 million new jobs, while making the investments we need to fuel long-term economic growth and stability.

But this Thanksgiving, we are reminded that the renewal of our economy won't come from policies and plans alone -- it will take the hard work, innovation, service, and strength of the American people.

I have seen this strength firsthand over many months -- in workers who are ready to power new industries, and farmers and scientists who can tap new sources of energy; in teachers who stay late after school, and parents who put in that extra hour reading to their kids; in young Americans enlisting in a time of war, seniors who volunteer their time, and service programs that bring hope to the hopeless.

It is a testament to our national character that so many Americans took time out this Thanksgiving to help feed the hungry and care for the needy. On Wednesday, I visited a food bank at Saint Columbanus Parish in Chicago. There -- as in so many communities across America -- folks pitched in time and resources to give a lift to their neighbors in need. It is this spirit that binds us together as one American family -- the belief that we rise and fall as one people; that we want that American Dream not just for ourselves, but for each other.

That's the spirit we must summon as we make a new beginning for our nation. Times are tough. There are difficult months ahead. But we can renew our nation the same way that we have in the many years since Lincoln's first Thanksgiving: by coming together to overcome adversity; by reaching for -- and working for -- new horizons of opportunity for all Americans.

So this weekend -- with one heart, and one voice, the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come.

Courtesy of

Presidential Pardon and Blanket Pardons

President George W. Bush is on his way out the door. So his final pardon is coming. Bush has just spared the national Thanksgiving turkey on Wednesday, honoring a tradition that dates to Harry Truman's presidency.

A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it. It is granted by a sovereign power, such as a monarch or chief of state or a competent church authority.

In the United States, the pardon power for Federal crimes is granted to the President by the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 2, which states that the President:

shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Pardons are supposed to be offered to persons who, it is claimed, have been wrongfully convicted.

As Kathleen Dean Moore, who teaches philosophy at Oregon State University, puts it "Pardon is justified in retributive justice as a way to bring an offender's liability in line with moral desert, to make sure that the offender gets 'just deserts,' no more and no less.''

Nonetheless, it seems to me that many pardons are not about a wrongfully conviction but clearing some one for political or even personal reasons. Just look at the famous Lewis "Scooter" Libby case, a former chief aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, who had received a prison sentence last August after he was convicted in connection with leaking the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame. He was pardoned by President Bush although Libby had never applied through the formal Justice Department process. Wasn’t that a political act?

Now the question remains, is President Bush going to use his power to issue blanket pardons which cover groups of unnamed? This blanket pardons were suggested by one of the country's best known conservative legal scholars, Steven G. Calabresi for "all officials involved in making decisions bearing on the war on terror."

If President Bush would issue blanket pardons, wouldn’t he not only mark the presidential pardon power but also give the idiocy of terrorist groups more fuel for their recruitment? How would such presidential pardon further blemish the moral standing of the United States of America?

President-elect Obama names Volcker and Goolsbee (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Economic Recovery Advisory Board
November 26, 2008
Chicago, Illinois


Good morning.

It has become increasingly clear in recent months that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. At this defining moment for our nation, the old ways of thinking and acting just won't do. We are called to seek fresh thinking and bold new ideas from the leading minds across America. And as we chart a course to economic recovery, we must ensure that our government -- your government -- is held accountable for delivering results.

Today, I'm pleased to announce the formation of a new institution to help our economic team accomplish these goals: the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. This Board is modeled on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board created by President Eisenhower to provide rigorous analysis and vigorous oversight of our intelligence community by individuals outside of government -- individuals who would be candid and unsparing in their assessment. This new board will perform a similar function for my Administration as we formulate our economic policy.

The Board will be composed of distinguished individuals from diverse backgrounds outside of government -- from business, labor, academia and other areas – who will bring to bear their wisdom and expertise on the formulation, implementation and evaluation of my Administration's economic recovery plan. The Board will report regularly to me, Vice President-Elect Biden and our economic team as we seek to jump-start economic growth, create jobs, raise wages, address our housing crisis and stabilize our financial markets.

The reality is that sometimes policymaking in Washington can become too insular. The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking -- and those who serve in Washington don't always have a ground-level sense of which programs and policies are working for people, and which aren't. This board will provide that perspective to me and my Administration, with an infusion of ideas from across the country and from all sectors of our economy -- input that will be informed by members' first-hand observations of how our efforts are impacting the daily lives of our families.

I'm pleased to announce that this Board will be chaired by one of the world's foremost economic policy experts, a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and one of my most trusted advisors, Paul Volcker.

Paul has been by my side throughout this campaign, providing a deep understanding of financial markets, extensive experience managing economic crises, and keen insight into the global nature of this particular crisis. Paul has served under both Republicans and Democrats and is held in the highest esteem for his sound and independent judgment. He has a long and distinguished record of service to our nation, and I am pleased that he has answered the call to serve once again.

I am also happy to announce that Austan Goolsbee, another one of my key economic advisors, has agreed to serve as Staff Director and Chief Economist of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board and act as the primary liaison between the Board and the Administration. I also plan to nominate Austan to serve as one of the three members of my Council of Economic Advisers.

Austan is one of America's most promising economic minds, known for his path-breaking work on tax policy and industrial organization. He is one of the economic thinkers who has most shaped my own thinking on economic matters, and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration in the White House.

I plan to announce the remaining members of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board in the coming weeks, and I look forward to their contributions to our urgent work to rebuild our economy and restore prosperity across America.

Thank you, and I'm now happy to take questions.

Courtesy of


The Bush administration continue to dictate ...

As its clock runs out for the Bush administration, President George Walker Bush and his team under the leadership of Richard Bruce Cheney continue to dictate their ideological ideas onto the American people and the world.

As one of their last acts the Bush administration allowed the Bureau of Land Management to announce a last-minute plan to lease huge swaths of majestic wilderness in eastern Utah for oil and gas extraction. They cynically chose November 4, one month before President-elect Obama takes office, hoping that the public would not notice this shady deal.

The plan is to open-up drilling all over the Rockies and Alaska, to green-light oil shale leasing, and to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Though sad, it's no surprise, coming as it does from the same crowd that designed a misguided national energy policy in secret meetings with the oil, gas and coal industries.

Even in as the clock winds down to the last 54 days before the new President Barack Obama takes office, the Bush administration continues secretly to undermine Environmental Protections Laws so that they can secure the profit of the oil companies and their own interests.

Don’t forget that Richard Bruce Cheney was once the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, a Fortune 500 company and market leader in the energy sector. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million.

George W. Bush served on the board of directors for Harken. Harken Energy Corporation is an American oil and gas company, headquartered in Southlake, Texas. Bush while a director of the company, sold stock in Harken shortly before the company announced substantial losses.

Now looking at this history, one should not wonder about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s intentions. However, we should wonder about the environmental impact this has on one of America's few remaining wilderness treasures.


Economic Team Announcement (Video/Transcript)


Good morning.

The news this past week, including this morning's news about Citigroup, has made it even more clear that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Our financial markets are under stress. New home purchases in October were the lowest in half a century. Recently, more than half a million jobless claims were filed, the highest in eighteen years -- and if we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.

While we can't underestimate the challenges we face, we also can&'t underestimate our capacity to overcome them -- to summon that spirit of determination and optimism that has always defined us, and move forward in a new direction to create new jobs, reform our financial system, and fuel long-term economic growth.

We know this won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight. We'll need to bring together the best minds in America to guide us -- and that is what I've sought to do in assembling my economic team. I've sought leaders who could offer both sound judgment and fresh thinking, both a depth of experience and a wealth of bold new ideas -- and most of all, who share my fundamental belief that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers; that in this country, we rise and fall as one nation, as one people.

Today, Vice President-elect Biden and I are pleased to announce the nomination of four individuals who meet these criteria to lead our economic team: Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury; Lawrence Summers as the Director of our National Economic Council; Christina Romer as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors; and Melody Barnes as Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Having served in senior roles at Treasury, the IMF and the New York Fed, Tim Geithner offers not just extensive experience shaping economic policy and managing financial markets, but an unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency. Tim will waste no time getting up to speed. He will start his first day on the job with a unique insight into the failures of today's markets -- and a clear vision of the steps we must take to revive them.

The reality is that the economic crisis we face is no longer just an American crisis, it is a global crisis -- and we will need to reach out to countries around the world to craft a global response. Tim's extensive international experience makes him uniquely suited for this work. Growing up partly in Africa and having lived and worked throughout Asia; having served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs -- one of many roles in the international arena; and having studied both Chinese and Japanese, Tim understands the language of today’s international markets in more ways than one.

Tim has served with distinction under both Democrats and Republicans and has a long history of working comfortably, and as an honest broker, on both sides of the aisle. With stellar performances and outstanding results at every stage of his career, Tim has earned the confidence and respect of business, financial and community leaders; members of Congress; and political leaders around the world -- and I know he will do so once again as America's next Treasury Secretary, the chief economic spokesman for my Administration.

Like Tim, Larry Summers also brings a singular combination of skill, intellect, and experience to the role he will play in our Administration.

As Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and then Secretary of the Treasury, Larry helped guide us through several major international financial crises -- and was a central architect of the policies that led to the longest economic expansion in American history, with record surpluses, rising family incomes and more than 20 million new jobs. He also championed a range of measures -- from tax credits to enhanced lending programs to consumer financial protections -- that greatly benefitted middle income families.

As a thought leader, Larry has urged us to confront the problems of income inequality and the middle class squeeze, consistently arguing that the key to a strong economy is a strong and growing middle class. This idea is the core of my own economic philosophy and will be the foundation for all of my economic policies.

And as one of the great economic minds of our time, Larry has earned a global reputation for being able to cut to the heart of the most complex and novel policy challenges. With respect to both our current financial crisis, and other pressing economic issues of our time, his thinking, writing and speaking have set the terms of the debate. I am glad he will be by my side, playing the critical role of coordinating my Administration's economic policy in the White House -- and I will rely heavily on his advice as we navigate the uncharted waters of this economic crisis.

As one of the foremost experts on economic crises -- and how to solve them -- my next nominee, Christina Romer, will bring a critically needed perspective to her work as Chair of my Council of Economic Advisors.

Christina is both a leading macroeconomist and a leading economic historian, perhaps best known for her work on America's recovery from the Great Depression and the robust economic expansion that followed. Since 2003, she has been co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research Monetary Economics program. She is also a member of the Bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee -- the body charged with officially determining when a recession has started and ended -- experience which will serve her well as she advises me on our current economic challenges.

Christina has also done groundbreaking research on many of the topics our Administration will confront -- from tax policy to fighting recessions. And her clear-eyed, independent analyses have received praise from both conservative and liberal thinkers alike. I look forward to her wise counsel in the White House.

Finally, we know that rebuilding our economy will require action on a wide array of policy matters -- from education and health care to energy and Social Security. Without sound policies in these areas, we can neither enjoy sustained economic growth nor realize our full potential as a people.

So I am pleased that Melody Barnes, one of the most respected policy experts in America, will be serving as Director of my Domestic Policy Council -- and that she will be working hand-in-hand with my economic policy team to chart a course to economic recovery. An integral part of that course will be health care reform -- and she will work closely with my Secretary of Health and Human Services on that issue.

As Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, Melody directed a network of policy experts dedicated to finding solutions for struggling middle class families. She also served as Chief Counsel to the great Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, working on issues ranging from crime to immigration to bankruptcy, and fighting tirelessly to protect civil rights, women's rights and religious freedom.

Melody's brilliant legal mind -- and her long experience working to secure the liberties on which this nation was founded and secure opportunity for those left behind -- make her a perfect fit for DPC Director.

I am grateful that Tim, Larry, Christina, and Melody have accepted my nomination, and I look forward to working closely with them in the months ahead. And that work starts today, because the truth is, we don't have a minute to waste.

Right now, our economy is trapped in a vicious cycle: the turmoil on Wall Street means a new round of belt-tightening for families and businesses on Main Street -- and as folks produce less and consume less, that just deepens the problems in our financial markets. These extraordinary stresses on our financial system require extraordinary policy responses. And my Administration will honor the public commitments made by the current Administration to address this crisis.

Further, beyond any immediate actions we may take, we need a recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street -- a plan that stabilizes our financial system and gets credit flowing again, while at the same time addressing our growing foreclosure crisis, helping our struggling auto industry, and creating and saving 2.5 million jobs -- jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing our schools, and creating the clean energy infrastructure of the twenty-first century. Because at this moment, we must both restore confidence in our markets -- and restore the confidence of middle-class families, who find themselves working harder, earning less, and falling further and further behind.

I have asked my economic team to develop recommendations for this plan, and to consult with Congress, the current Administration and the Federal Reserve on immediate economic developments over the next two months. I have requested that they brief me on these matters on a daily basis, and in the coming weeks, I will provide the American people and the incoming Congress with an overview of their initial recommendations. It is my hope that the new Congress will begin work on an aggressive economic recovery plan when they convene in early January so that our Administration can hit the ground running.

With our economy in distress, we cannot hesitate or delay. Our families cannot afford to keep on waiting and hoping for a solution. They cannot afford to watch another month of unpaid bills pile up, another semester of tuition slip out of reach, another month where instead of saving for retirement, they're dipping into their savings just to get by.

Again, this won't be easy. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making -- and the economy is likely to get worse before it gets better. Full recovery won't happen immediately. And to make the investments we need, we'll have to scour our federal budget, line-by-line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices as well -- something I'll be discussing further tomorrow.

Despite all of this, I am hopeful about the future. I have full confidence in the wisdom and ingenuity of my economic team -- and in the hard work, courage and sacrifice of the American people. And most of all, I believe deeply in the resilient spirit of this nation. I know we can work our way out of this crisis because we've done it before. And I know we will succeed once again if we put aside partisanship and politics and work together, and that is exactly what I intend to do as President.

Thank you, and I'm now happy to take questions.

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