Overly Confident on the Economy? The White House Says No ‘Mission Accomplished Banners’ Yet

Mar 13, 2009 4:33pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama, after meeting with Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chairman Paul Volcker today, said that while Americans are facing tough times, he is confident the nation will get though this. “If we are keeping focused on all the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy, all the outstanding companies, workers, all the innovation and dynamism in this economy, then we’re going to get through this. And I’m very confident about that.” Obama said that even amid these very hard times, American businesses and workers are still performing. “The bottom line is, is that those businesses that were creating outstanding products and services two years ago, they are still creating outstanding products and services. And those workers who were getting up every day and doing outstanding work, they’ve still got an incredible desire to — to work hard and grow this economy and do right by their families.” He expressed confidence — not only coming from the administration — but said Americans, and some business executives also share this outlook. “What we need to do is to make sure that we’re putting in the pillars economically to deal with the short-term emergency, to stabilize the economy, and to put in the foundation for long-term economic growth. That’s a overarching package that I think the American people are hungry for. They feel confident about America. The business executives I met with yesterday are confident about our ability to grow long term. We’ve got to get through this difficult period.” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the administration does see part of the economy improving, specifically mentioning, “glimmers of hope” in retail sales, and “progress” in consumer spending, making the president “confident and hopeful” that the steps the administration is taking is moving the nation down a better path. “We saw revised growth estimates in the fourth quarter far greater than most predicted,” Gibbs said, and then explained the balancing act that the president has between showing confidence and still reflecting the dire situation, “What the president believes his job is, in discussing the economy, is to be very honest with the American people about where we are. But also he believes that the administration is taking steps to instill the confidence that Americans need, to put in place the pillars for continued renewed economic growth, and I think the president wouldn’t just give you one of those, the president would give you both of those.” Even while expressing this confidence, Gibbs admitted that the president does still believe that things could get worse before they get better, a common line the president has said since taking office. “Is there reason to be hopeful? Yes. … But what’s important, whether things get a little bit worse or a little bit better, the president is taking steps to put us on a path towards job creation, economic growth, income growth, and more importantly, to address the long-term challenges that we’ve faced for so long.” Cautioning against over-confidence, Gibbs cautioned that the administration is not declaring success yet. “It’s important to stress that we’ve unfurled no ‘mission accomplished’ banners.  And I think any suggestion of that would be quite premature.” Gibbs said part of the confidence is coming from the president who is by nature an optimistic person. “He’s a very optimistic person. I think he would tell you that there are many situations that probably where things might not always be as bad as they seem or not as good as they may seem.” — Sunlen Miller

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