President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that the country is facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime and "we're going to have to act swiftly to resolve it."
However in his first news conference since winning the presidency Tuesday, Obama deferred to President George W. Bush and his economic team, noting that the country has only one government and one president at a time.
But, he said, "immediately after I become president I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity."
"I'm confident a new president can have an enormous impact," he added.
Lynn Sweet, columnist for the Sun-Times, asked Obama about what he's doing to bone-up on presidential wisdom before stepping into the Oval Office, and whether his family has made a choice about what kind of dog they'll get.
Obama replied that he's been re-reading remarks of President Lincoln, as well as talking with all the living ex-presidents about what the job really entails.
On the dog question, Obama said that topic has generated the most buzz on his Web site. The deciding factor may be getting a breed that won't bother daughter Malia's allergies, he said, although the family would like to get a shelter dog.
The president-elect spoke after he and Vice President-elect Joe Biden met privately with economic experts to discuss ways to stabilize the troubled economy.
Earlier in the day, Obama attended parent-teacher conferences at his daughters’ school with his wife, Michelle, before heading into a critical meeting with his Transition Economic Advisory Board at the Chicago Hilton.
That board will help guide the work of the Obama-Biden transition team in developing policies to respond to the economic crisis, according a release from the Obama camp.
After a meeting with Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and the advisory board (members listed below)
Before the first post-election news conference began, there was quite a pecking order among reporters for who sits where. The network reporters and main wire services got front row, with Chicago reporters sent to the third row at the Hilton. Outside the hotel there was a ring of satellite dishes as even Japan waited to hear the new president's words.
Obama will also attend additional transition meetings, receive his daily intelligence briefing, record the Democratic Radio Address and return additional post-election political and protocol phone calls.
Both Barack and Michelle Obama will head to Washington, D.C., on Monday to meet with President Bush.
The Transition Economic Advisory Board includes:
- David Bonior (Member House of Representatives 1977-2003)
- Warren Buffett (Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway)-will participate via speakerphone
- Roel Campos (former SEC Commissioner)
- William Daley (Chairman of the Midwest, JP Morgan Chase; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Commerce, 1997-2000)
- William Donaldson (Former Chairman of the SEC 2003-2005)
- Roger Ferguson (President and CEO, TIAA-CREF and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)
- Jennifer Granholm (Governor, State of Michigan)
- Anne Mulcahy (Chairman and CEO, Xerox)
- Richard Parsons (Chairman of the Board, Time Warner)
- Penny Pritzker (CEO, Classic Residence by Hyatt)
- Robert Reich (University of California, Berkeley; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Labor, 1993-1997)
- Robert Rubin (Chairman and Director of the Executive Committee, Citigroup; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Treasury, 1995-1999)
- Eric Schmidt (Chairman and CEO, Google)
- Lawrence Summers (Harvard University; Managing Director, D.E. Shaw; Former Secretary, U.S. Dept of Treasury, 1999-2001)
- Laura Tyson (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; Former Chairman, National Economic Council, 1995-1996; Former Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisors, 1993-1995)
- Antonio Villaraigosa (Mayor, City of Los Angeles)
- Paul Volcker (Former Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve 1979-1987)