Every day this week, Obama has held a press conference to introduce new members of his team. In each instance, Obama has said . . . not a whole lot.
Here’s a sampling from his opening statements:
Monday: “In the next few years, the choices that we make will help determine the kind of country and world that we will leave to our children and our grandchildren.”
Tuesday: “In the next few years, the decisions we make, about how to educate our children, will shape our future for generations to come.”
Wednesday: “Our wide open spaces are not only a blessing to be enjoyed; they are the foundations of a brighter future.”
Thursday: “We need to restore and renew those rules today, so that every American from Wall Street to Main Street can have the chance to prosper once more.”
Then the thankful appointees do their best imitations of Oscar winners (“Thank you, Mr. President-elect”; “ I wish to thank you, President-elect Obama”).
Then come a few questions, where Obama’s main goal seems to be to not make news:
How quickly will he let California regulate greenhouse-gas emissions?
“One of the key points that I want to make at this press conference -- and I will repeat again and again during the course of my presidency -- is there is not a contradiction between economic growth and sound environmental practices. I think that the future of innovation and technology is going to be what drives our economy into the future.”
When does he think the economy will begin to turn around?
“Well, I want to be completely honest with the American people. I don't have a crystal ball.”
What does he think of the Fed lowering interest rates?
“We are going through the toughest time economically since the Great Depression, and it's going to be -- it's going to be tough, and we're going to have to work through a lot of these difficulties, these structural difficulties that built up over many decades, some of it having to do with the financial industry and the huge amounts of leverage, the huge amounts of debt that were taken on, the speculation and the risk that was occurring, the lack of financial regulation; some of it having to do with our housing market, stabilizing that. It's going to be, I think, critical for us to look at some of the long-term issues that I talked about during the campaign, health care and energy.”
What are his priorities for the Interior Department?
“I want a more proactive Interior Department. I also want an Interior Department that very frankly cleans up its act. There have been too many problems and too much, too much emphasis on big-time lobbyists in Washington and not enough emphasis on what's good for the American people.”
Should Congress approve another batch of bailout money?
“I think it's important that the Treasury, the Fed and all of us do whatever's required to make sure that our financial system is stable and secure. The Fed has not come -- the Treasury has not come forward with a formal request for the second part of the TARP. At the point where the Treasury comes forward, I would expect that they would provide a clear justification for why they need additional dollars and how they intend to -- to use it.”
How will he restore confidence in government?
“What I hope my administration can accomplish is through very specific actions show the American people that we are serious about the business of helping American families, putting people back to work, making sure the economy grows, making sure that some of the shenanigans that have been taking place on Wall Street no longer occur, making sure that we're changing our politics so that people have a sense of restored trust in government; that we are competent; that we do what we're -- we say we're going to do.”