1st President Elect Weekly Transition Address – 08 Nov 2008
1st President Elect Weekly Transition Address
Broadcast 8 November 2008
On Tuesday, Americans stood in line[s] that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen. It didn’t matter who they were or where they came from or what they looked like or what Party they belonged to; they came out and cast their ballot because they believed that in this country our destiny is not written for us, but by us.
We should all take pride in the fact that we once again displayed for the world the power of our democracy, and reaffirmed that the great American ideal that this is a nation where anything is possible.
This week, I spoke with President Bush, who graciously offered his full support and assistance in this period of transition. Michelle and I look forward to meeting with him and the First Lady on Monday to begin that process.
This speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America we can compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other’s ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done. And that is particularly important at a moment when we face the most serious challenges of our lifetime.
Yesterday, we woke up to more sobering news about the state of our economy. The 240,000 jobs lost in October marks the tenth consecutive month that our economy has shed jobs. In total, we’ve lost nearly 1.2 million jobs this year; and more than 10 million Americans are now unemployed. Tens of millions of families are struggling to figure out how to pay the bills and stay in their homes. Their stories are an urgent reminder that we are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime; and we must act swiftly to resolve them.
In the wake of these disturbing reports, I met with members of my Transition Economic Advisory Board who will help guide the work of my transition team in developing a strong set of policies to respond to this crisis; though we must recognize that we only have one President at a time, and that President Bush is the leader of our government. I want to ensure that we hit the ground running on January 20th because we don’t have a moment to lose.
We discussed several of the most immediate challenges facing our economy and key priorities on which to focus in the days and weeks ahead to ease the credit crisis, help hard-working families, and restore growth and prosperity.
First, we need a rescue plan for the middle class that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provides relief to families that are watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear. Then, we’ll address the spreading impact to the financial crisis on other sectors of our economy and ensure that the rescue plan that passed Congress is working to stabilize financial markets while protecting tax payers, helping home owners, and not unduly rewarding the management of financial firms that are receiving government assistance.
Finally, we will move forward with a set of policies that will grow our middle class and strengthen our economy in the long term. We can’t afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign, including clean energy, health care, education, and tax relief for middle-class families.
Let me close by saying I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead. We’ve taken some major actions to date and we will need further actions during this transition and subsequent months. Some of those choices will be difficult, but America is a strong and resilient country. I know that we will succeed, if we put aside partisanship and work together as one nation. And that is what I intend to do.