Hi everyone. We are live-blogging President Obama‘s first prime-time presidential press conference. Refresh often. Thanks!
— 9:00: POTUS offers, “Thank you guys.” And that’s a wrap.
— 9:00: No questions on Daschle/Solis/tax problems.
— 8:57: Obama doesn’t mention he “inherited” debt, but says they doubled it. Adds Republicans don’t “have a lot of credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility”
— 8:56: Whew! Glad I brought my homemade banana chocolate chip cookies with me to the White House tonight! Live blogging is exhausting!
— 8:54: NPR gets thirteenth and last question, it’s on the stimulus process and how hard it’s been for Obama to bring Republicans on board.
— 8:52: Question 12 goes to Huffington Post, and reporter asks about whether he’ll pursue charges against former President Bush.
— 8:50: The question (No. 11) is on Pakistan and whether he knows of any country in Middle East with nuclear weapons.
— 8:49: POTUS calls on maven Helen Thomas, calling it an “inaugural moment” and says “I’m really excited.”
— 8:47: Wash Post gets tenth question. Which was on A-Rod. 8:48: I couldn’t hear because everyone in the briefing room was laughing.
— 8:45: POTUS gets first laughs from the room, saying he can’t remember exactly what VPOTUS was referring to.
— 8:45: Fox gets ninth question, on VP Biden saying there was a 30 percent chance the White House would get stimulus plan wrong.
— 8:43: NY Times gets eighth question as POTUS makes up for long answers early.
— 8:43: “I don’t yet have a timetable for how long that is going to take.”
— 8:41: “With respect to Afghanistan, this is going to be a big challenge.”
— 8:39: CNN questions on Afghanistan troop levels and transparency at Pentagon.
— 8:39: CNN gets seventh question — and he asks TWO!
— 8:38: POTUS: “I don’t have a crystal ball … but my hope is that after a difficult year … and biz start investing again and start making decisions … if we get things right then starting next year” things will get better.
— 8:36: ABC gets sixth question, on — surprise! — the economy.
— 8:35: POTUS: “We don’t know yet whether we’re going to need additional money or how much additional money we are going to need.”
— 8:34: British journo Toby Harnden points out to me on Twitter that I wrote “I will be live-blogging the first POUTS press conference tonight at http://www.washingtontimes.com.” Harnden asked, “POUTS. Is that a president who doesn’t get his way?”
— 8:32: Bloomberg star Julianna Goldman gets fifth question, asks won’t the government need more money to help with credit crunch.
— 8:30: “The party now is over.”
— 8:28: Moving on to fourth question from NBC, also on the economy, asking what got us into the fiscal crisis.
— 8:28: Still on third question, Obama says, “Doing nothing not an option.”
— 8:25: POTUS still talking about economy, presser nearly half over.
— 8:24: Joe Curl emails that someone in the room “held up a sign that said Israel” and yelled. That didn’t come through on our audio feed in the press room, but could provide for some drama.
— 8:23: Reminds everyone again “I inherited” the fiscal situation.
— 8:23: POTUS still talking about bipartisanship.
— 8:19: CBS gets third question, which is on bipartisanship.
— 8:19: POTUS says there is possibility for relationship of mutual respect with Iran.
— 8:17: A reporter in press room quips that POTUS comment about past relations with Iran being “not helpful” was “polite.”
— 8:16: Reuters question on Iran and timetable for Iraq withdrawal.
— 8:15: POTUS still on first question. At this rate, he’s not going to be taking all that many.
— 8:14: Obama notes that tomorrow Treasury Secretary Geithner will outline “clear and specific plans” to loosen up credit.
— 8:13: POTUS says he did not pluck $800+ billion price tag “out of a hat.”
— 8:10: Responding to AP question on his dire economic language, POTUS says a delay could force the U.S. to end up “like Japan.” He adds what is first money line of the night: “This is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill recession.”
— 8:09: AP gets first question.
— 8:08: Obama thanks members of Congress, asks them to “act without delay.”
— 8:07: Take that No. 43! My administration “inherited deficit of over 1 trillion dollars.”
— 8:07: POTUS says stimulus “does not contain a single pet project … [but] the plan is not perfect.”
— 8:06: Plan must be “big enough and bold enough.” Adds the current plan has “compromises” from both parties.
— 8:05: First shot at Republicans comes: “Tax cuts alone can’t solve all of our economic problems” [especially those for the wealthy] “We have tried that strategy time and time again and it’s only helped lead us to the crisis we face right now.”
— 8:04: Obama offers details on tax credits, saying they will put money in pockets of Americans most likely to spend it.
— 8:03: Talking point - stimulus will “save or create up to 4 million jobs.” “Because that is what America needs right now.”
— 8:03: Obama mentions long line for firefighter jobs in Miami, a recent talking point from the White House.
— 8:02: POTUS mentions his trip earlier to Elkhart, Indiana, where the unemployment rate stands at 15.3 percent.
— 8:01: It begins. Reporters stand.
— 7:59: Two minute warning heard over the speakers. Sigh of relief from those of us left behind.
— 7:59: Meanwhile, back in the press room, we aren’t hearing any audio, trying not to worry. “I’m not hearing anything from anywhere!” one worried scribe exclaimed.
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