In his first news conference since Election Day, President-elect Barack Obama said the United States is ''facing the "greatest economic challenge of our lifetimes."
Obama met with his economic advisers Friday, and flanked by his advisers, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and White House Chief of Staff appointee Rahm Emanuel, Obama met the press for the first time since Nov. 4. "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," he said.
"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," Obama continued. He called for an extension of insurance benefits and a new stimulus package.
"I would like to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later," Obama said. He said if no stimulus package is passed during the lame duck session of Congress, one will come immediately after his inauguration.
It doesn't appear that Barack has any instinct to take a hard line on auto industry bailouts.
Obama also called for attention to the woes of small businesses and the auto industry.
"I would like to see the administration do everything they can to accelerate the retooling assistance that Congress has already enacted," Obama said. "In addition, I have made it a high priority for my transition team to work on additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust, weather the financial crisis, and succeed in producing fuel-efficient cars here in the United States. I have asked my team to explore what we can do under current law and whether additional legislation will be needed for this purpose."