Sunlen Miller reports:
If the first two questions at CNBC’s town hall with President Obama today were any indication, Americans are not feeling like the recession is over.
Two disillusioned voters, who indicated they once supported the president in his campaign expressed doubt in President Obama’s ability to change the nation.
“Quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now,” an African American woman and CFO said, “I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people. And I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting. I -- I don't feel it yet.”
“Is this my new reality,” she concluded by asking.
A 30-year-old law graduate, having trouble even paying the interest on his student loans and still looking for a job, expressed a similar sentiment.
“Like a lot of people in my generation, I was really inspired by you and by your campaign and the message that you brought, and that inspiration is dying away. It feels like the American dream is not attainable to a lot of us,” the man said, “is the American dream dead for me?”
To both Obama tried to express optimism, saying that the American dream is “absolutely not” dead.
“My goal here is not to try to convince you that everything's where it needs to be. It's not. That's why I ran for president. But what I am saying is, is that we're moving in the right direction.”
The hour-long town hall at the Newseum in Washington, DC today brought together a cross section of Americans chosen be CNBC of students, CEOs union workers, teachers, small business owners, and unemployed.
On the National Bureau of Economic Research declaring that the recession ended in June 2009, Obama said that for many people the recession does not feel like it’s over.
“Even though economists may say that the recession officially ended last year, obviously, for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, it's still very real for them.”
The president said that the financial system is stabilized, thanks he says to the economic programs that his administration put in place, but admitted that it is not as strong as it was in 2006 and 2007.
“The challenge is, is that the hole was so deep that a lot of people out there are still hurting, and probably some folks here in the audience are still having a tough time. And so the question then becomes, what can we now put in place to make sure that the trend lines continue in a positive direction, as opposed to going back in the negative direction?”
The president said the plans put in place that can make improvements are “slow and steady as opposed to the long of “quick fix” that he said a lot of people would like to see.