Obama’s first news conference

To prepare for this afternoon’s press conference (rather inconveniently scheduled for 2:30 eastern… we go on the air at 3:00!), I just caught Jared Bernstein outside the subway in Chicago on his cell phone. He was on his way to today’s big meeting with Barack Obama and his team of economic advisors. Bernstein is a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. He’s also been an informal economic advisor to the Obama campaign. I asked Bernstein what he might say to President-elect Obama about the global financial crisis if he gets the man’s full attention for 30 to 60 seconds today. Bernstein began his answer by saying that the question might be impossible to answer. He said there’s no silver bullet for what’s going on right now, and besides, Bernstein said that Obama knows what he needs to be doing and thinking about. Here’s a few minutes of our conversation.  //3:49

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I also spoke with economist James Galbraith this morning. He’s a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and the author of, The Predator State. Galbraith reminded me that Obama is not president yet. He’s taking action now, but Galbraith said Obama is using most of his energy during this time leading up to inauguration day to plan for his administration’s response to the financial crisis. Galbraith is a big fan of Obama’s economic policy as it emerged during the campaign. He’s also a big critic of the Bush administration, as you’ll hear toward the end of our conversation here.  The tape starts with Galbraith’s answer to my question: how important is Obama’s choice for Treasury Secretary?  //9:26

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In case Mr. President-elect needed a reminder that economic matters are not the only urgent concerns right now. Obama got his first in-depth intelligence briefing yesterday.

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About Matthew Bell

Former Middle East Correspondent with PRI's The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH-Boston. It's international news on US public radio stations. And it's good. Check it out here: www.pri.org. Follow @pritheworld
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2 Responses to Obama’s first news conference

  1. Ray Davis says:

    It’s hard not to focus on the economy when we’ve been told things are so dire. I think his presidency is going to be a complex one for complex times.

    I’m curious what you make of the coming Obama administration.

    Today I am asking readers on my blog at The Affirmation Spot to share their hopes, dreams, and concerns about the new Obama administration.

    http://theaffirmationspot.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/obama-won-but-now-what-the-affirmation-spot-for-friday-november-7-2008/

    Please feel free to contribute to the dialogue.

    Be empowered!

  2. belshaw says:

    Interesting interviews! Good to hear from people that have real insights. I grow tired of hearing from reporters that want to package the issues into a tidy little story. Keep talking to folks like these in each of the policy areas. I’d recommend a conversation with Zeke Emmanuel (Rahm’s brother), the NIH Chief and bioethicist extraordinare who clearly will get his views heard by the Obama administration in regards to all issues biological and medical.

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