Friday, March 27, 2009

President Obama Gaining Momentum

The Obama administration's tenth week in office was a busy one. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner unveiled the next phase of the bank bailout. Congress took up the president's budget. And the government outlined a plan to overhaul regulation of the financial system.

The administration's efforts, along with some faint signs that economic conditions are stabilizing, helped improve the sentiment on Wall Street. Stocks posted strong gains for the week despite a selloff on Friday.

It was also a busy week on Capitol Hill.

Committees in the House and Senate largely supported Obama's priorities for the 2010 budget, with certain caveats, in the early stages of what is expected to be a months-long debate.

Lawmakers also heard testimony from Geithner on how the administration hopes to prevent future meltdowns by increasing oversight of the financial markets and preventing companies from growing too big to fail.

Meanwhile, the president continued to promote his long-term economic agenda, stressing the need to invest in health care, education and energy.

In a new rhetorical tack, Obama sought to draw a direct connection between his budget proposal and the broader themes of economic recovery and future growth.

"This budget is inseparable from this recovery," Obama told reporters Wednesday night. "It is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity."

To promote his message, the president took a number of unconventional steps. He published an op-ed in more than 30 newspapers around the world, held his second prime time news conference, and broke technological ground with an online town hall meeting at the White House.

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