ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: This morning NBC aired more from Matt Lauer’s interview with President Obama, taped yesterday at the White House. The full transcript can be read here.
Obama promised to establish an independent review board to oversee the government’s economic stimulus package.
“My job as president, and Congress’s job, to make sure that there’s some rules of the road that people are going to abide by. And that we’ve got transparency and accountability; that this stuff is being posted. One of the things we’re going to do is put together an independent board on the recovery package that actually looks at these programs and the money before it goes out the door.”
Obama would not answer if he is planning on setting up a “bad bank” to buy up the toxic debts – but said stay tuned for an announcement next week.
“I don’t want to preempt an announcement next week. There’s a lot of technical aspects to it. And if I say that we’re doing one thing, then the markets might interpret it differently from what it ends up being. But the basic principle that we’re going to have to see some of this debt written down; that the government is going to have to support some banks; that others that are not viable, that essentially we’re going to have do something with those assets.”
The President said that it is likely that some banks have not fully acknowledged all the losses that they’re going to experience – and that they’re going to have to write down their loses, and some bad banks won’t make it.
“All deposits are gonna be safe for ordinary people,” Obama said to offer assurances, “But we’re gonna have to wring out some of these bad assets.”
Obama said that he’s confident that the administration is going to get this right but change won’t come overnight, “There’s no silver bullets to this. The fact of the matter is that we are suffering from a massive hangover from a binge of risk-taking.”
The President says he knows that he is the one person to be held accountable, “A year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress. But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years — then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
SALMONELLA & PEANUT BUTTER
President Obama said that the FDA has not been able to catch “some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch,” following the outbreak of salmonella stemming from a peanut processor in Georgia, “So we’re gonna be doing a complete review of FDA operations.”
Obama spoke about his youngest daughter’s appetite for peanut butter and said that families should be able to count on the government to keep their children safe.
“That’s what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week. And you know, I don’t wanna have to worry about whether she’s gonna get sick as a consequence to having her lunch.”
Obama said he knew he was taking a risk by signing Executive Orders his first week in office to take steps to ultimately close the Guantanamo Bay detention center – but defended his decision by using the world’s reaction to his move.
“It will ultimately make us safer,” Obama said, “You’ve already seen, in the reaction around the world, a different sense of America by us taking this action.”
Obama was asked to respond to Friday’s Washington Post article which reported that some big donors invited to his inaugural festivities were “shocked” by how easy it was to get access to him – and expressed concerns that not enough was being done to secure him.
“I have complete confidence in Secret Service,” Obama answered, “These guys and gals are unbelievably professional. They know what they’re doing. And I basically do what they tell me to do. Now, sometimes I’m the first one to admit that it chafes a little bit, being inside this bubble. It’s the hardest adjustment of being president. Not being able to just take a walk.”
Not only is Obama using the White House gym, but he’s getting familiar with the other sporting equipment in the White House as well.
The Obamas have been using the White House bowling alley – but Mr. Obama said that still has not helped his infamous poor bowling skills.
“The bowling alley doesn’t seem to be improving my game. We took the kids down and I wanted to use to bumpers,” Obama joked but then said his Mrs. Obama said no.
Obama said that he has been playing HORSE on the basketball court – and looks forward to using the horse shoe pitch.
“There’s a horseshoe pitch out there so I’m gonna have to practice that a bit.”
MORE ON HIS DAUGHTERS ADJUSTMENT
Obama again expressed confidence that his daughters, Malia and Sasha, would continue to adjust to their new life at the White House smoothly.
“If there were a pair of kids who could handle this weird fish bowl it’s those two.”
But the President also expressed a little apprehension about what would change when his oldest daughter, Malia gets into her teenage years.
“Malia is 10 and so three yrs from now she is 13 – who knows what happens to teenagers.”
- Sunlen Miller