Friday, November 07, 2008

Walking the President-in-Waiting Walk

With all the demurrals about one president at a time, what Barack Obama said and didn't say today will be closely parsed by markets, publics and political leaders everywhere.

His appearance, flanked by a team of economic advisors, was meant to show a nervous world that he is on the case, ready to move on January 20th and as involved as he can be in the role of President-Elect.

"(A)s we monitor and address these immediate economic challenges," he said, "we will be moving forward in laying out a set of policies that will grow our middle class and strengthen our economy in the long term. We cannot afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign, including clean energy, health care, education, and tax relief for middle-class families.

"My transition team will be working on each of these priorities in the weeks ahead, and I intend to reconvene this advisory board to discuss the best ideas for responding to these immediate problems."

But Obama made it clear he favors "a stimulus package passed, either before or after inauguration...sooner rather than later,” if not in the lame-duck Congressional session, as soon as he takes office, and he called for an extension of unemployment benefits.

In the minuet between now and then, the President-in-Waiting is deferring to the one in the White House but making it clear he is ready to take new steps on his own. A worried world clearly would like to see the dance speeded up.

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