Obama: Not a 'Run of the Mill' Recession

Obama said it was "not acceptable" for Pakistan to have safe havens for terrorists on its border and he wants his administration to be "effective partners" with the Pakistani government.

Obama said his advisers are in discussions with the Pentagon and reviewing a policy that bans the media from photographing flag-draped coffins of U.S. troops killed overseas.

Obama called Rodriguez's admission he used steroids "depressing news" and said he is most concerned about the message it sends to kids.

Obama Hits the Road to Push for Stimulus

The White House appeared to be caught flat-footed last week as Republican opponents of the stimulus plan took to the airwaves in strong opposition of the package and the administration found itself mired in the tax controversies of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, Obama's pick to be the federal government's chief performance officer.

The press conference and town hall meetings outside of Washington are part of an effort by the White House to try to reframe the stimulus debate on its own terms.

On a campaign-style trip to Indiana today, Obama stressed the urgent need for Congress to pass the economic stimulus plan and warned of dire consequences for Americans if they do not get relief soon.

"Folks here in Elkhart and across America need help right now, and they can't afford to keep on waiting for folks in Washington to get this done," the president said to an audience of about 1,700 at a town hall meeting at Concord Community High School in Elkhart. "[W]e can't afford to wait. We can't wait and see and hope for the best. We can't posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place."

In remarks at the start of the town hall meeting, Obama said that behind the troubling economic statistics are stories of Americans who are struggling in northwest Indiana and around the country.

"Those are the stories I heard when I came here to Elkhart six months ago and that I have carried with me every day since," the president said, noting that his last campaign event and his first presidential road trip took place in the Hoosier state.

"I promised you back then that if elected president, I would do everything I could to help this community recover. And that's why I've come back today, to tell you how I intend to keep that promise."

Obama Admits Stimulus Plan Is Flawed

The questions from audience members were specific, focusing on the provisions of the stimulus bill and what the package will do for everyday Americans like themselves.

Ticketholders were lined up outside the high school for hours, including Byron Gilbert of South Bend who lost his job at a local auto manufacturer last year and has been working odd jobs and scrimping to support his family.

Gilbert said his top concern is unemployment and he came to hear Obama explain how the stimulus plan will help the local economy.

"The numbers are real. It just keeps getting worse every day. You can't open a newspaper, watch any of the news broadcasts without seeing devastating results of this economy," Gilbert said. "When you think of thousands of people getting laid off at one time you wonder, where's it going to end?"

Obama admitted that the stimulus package on Capitol Hill is flawed but said that it is the right thing to get the economy back on track.

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