Transcript: Gibson Interviews Barack Obama

And then what we've got to do is to deal with a fundamental imbalance in our economy. Part of the problem here is that the average person has seen their wages and their incomes going down. And they were relying on the hope that their home prices would continually go up. So that was the asset that was going to help fund college, help fund retirement. And that was unrealistic. So we've got to go back to basics, which is if you're going to be able to send your kids to college or retire, you've got to be earning enough money to save. And that's why it's so important that we get people back to work. That's why it's so important that we develop an energy strategy that works. That's why we've got to fix our health care system because that's the real looming nightmare out there when it comes to our budget deficits and our national debt. And that's why we've got to have an education system that works.

So those four fundamentals, those are going to be the lynchpins of our long-term economic growth. In the short term, what we're going to have to do is make sure that our financial institutions are regulated sufficiently, that we don't end up seeing these enormous risks, huge mountains of debt that are used to speculate, essentially, at trillion dollar levels and that put the entire economy, not just domestically but globally, at risk.

GIBSON: Somebody else said to us where's the passion in these guys. Where's the anger? People that lost trillions of dollars in their stock accounts, in their pension plans, in their 401(k)s. You said out there at this rally fear and panic cannot pervade us.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And yet fear does right now. And people look to leaders to turn that around or to counter that.

OBAMA: Well, I think that, you know, one of the reasons that we are doing well right now in the campaign -- and we've still got four weeks, which is eternity in politics -- I think the people looked at my approach over the last three or four weeks during this economic crisis, which was consistent, which set out very clear principles from the first day, principles, by the way, that ended up being adopted by Secretary Paulson and were embedded in this rescue plan, that they saw I wasn't trying to play politics with the issue, that, you know, a measured, calm, steady response to the crisis but one that recognizes that it's outrageous we're in this position to begin with and that we've got to make sure that whatever we do is working for ordinary people.

I think that has all helped. I mean -- and, frankly, you know, Senator McCain ended up lurching from place to place on this issue. And that, I think, is not the kind of leadership that we're going to need if we're going to be able to guide the economy out of this perilous position.

GIBSON: You also said at this rally we need new direction, we need new leadership in Washington. What would you be doing right now that's any different than what the Bush Administration has done and is doing?

OBAMA: Well, I'll tell you what. I do think that the administration is hampered by the fact that people don't have a lot the confidence in the president. I mean, if you think about previous crises -- you know, FDR. There were a whole bunch of programs that he tried that didn't work. But what he was able to provide to people was a sense that somebody's in charge and we're going to get through this.

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