Obama Praises Senate, Stumps for Stimulus in the Sunshine State

By Lindsey Ellerson

Feb 10, 2009 3:13pm

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller report:

President Obama took his stimulus salesmanship on the road for the second straight day, to Ft. Myers, Fla. this afternoon.

Five questions into the town hall event the president was handed a note, a signal that the Senate had passed their stimulus bill.

“I just wanted to announce that the Senate just passed our recovery and reinvestment plan. That’s good. So that’s good news,” Obama said, “And I want to thank all the members of the Senate who moved the process forward. We’ve still got to get the House bill and the Senate bill to match up before it gets sent to my desk, so we’ve got a little more work to do over the next couple of days, but it’s a good start.”

Obama continued to call on Congress throughout his speech to work on this “mission” in a way that “transcends party.”

“When the town is burning, we don’t check party labels,” Obama said, “Everyone needs to grab a hose.”

Obama said that the plan is not perfect. “It was produced in Washington,” he admitted with a smile. “Doing nothing is not an option. You didn’t send me to Washington to do nothing.”

Mr. Obama said that the time for talk is over and that while he believes in hope, hope alone is not enough –- that there must be action.

Stumping the stimulus in the part of Florida hit by the highest foreclosure rate in the country, Mr. Obama made special time to address struggling homeowners, referencing the plan Treasury Secretary Tom Geithner outlined this morning.

“We know that in order to address our economic crisis, we must address our foreclosure crisis,” Obama said, “My Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, outlined a plan to address these challenges this morning. And we know that, in order to address our economic crisis, we’re going to have to help homeowners, not just banks, but homeowners, as well.”

During the Question and Answer session Obama said that he would be personally making an announcement on housing soon – separate from the parts outlined by Geithner today.

“I’m going to be personally making an announcement in the next couple of weeks about what our overall housing strategy is going to be,” Obama said, “People may be getting squeezed on their job, their incomes are lowering, and they’re still doing what they’re supposed to do.  They’re still making these payments every day, but it’s getting harder and harder and harder.”

Obama was asked how the American people – who are “notorious” for being impatient – should be patient when awaiting for the affects in their lives of the stimulus plan.

“I won’t lie to you,” Obama answered, “I expect to be judged by results.”

Obama said that if in a few years from now people don’t feel like the economy is turned around, then they can judge him then, “I’m not going to make any excuses. If stuff hasn’t worked and people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction, then you’ll have a new president.”

- Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller

UPDATE: Watch Yunji de Nies’ webcast report on Ft. Myers town hall meeting:

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