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President goes on the front foot with economi -

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ELEANOR HALL: The US President Barack Obama has just held a prime time media conference to explain
his economic strategy to a recession weary public.

It's the second time in his first two months that the President has broadcast a major address from
the White House.

And it caps a week long public relations offensive designed to steer public attention away from the
anger over corporate bonuses and towards the President's agenda.

Our Washington correspondent Kim Landers joins us live now.

So Kim, President Barack Obama has acknowledged the US is going through what he calls 'an
extraordinary crisis'. How was he able to reassurance the American people?

KIM LANDERS: Eleanor, Barack Obama has used this prime time opportunity to summarise the steps he
has taken so far to address the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. He is really
trying to bush aside any doubts about his economic agenda.

And while there have been glimmers of improvement in the housing market and the stock market showed
some initial euphoria about his plan to scrub those toxic assets from banks' balance sheets, the
American economy certainly hasn't turned the corner yet.

On top of that, the President has been knocked off his political stride in the past week by the
public anger over those hefty corporate bonuses. So he has been trying to strike a more optimistic
tone today and reassure the American people.

Here is a little of what the President said:

BARACK OBAMA: We'll recover from this recession but it will take time, it will take patience and it
will take an understanding that when we all work together, when each of us looks beyond our own
short-term interest to the wider set of obligations we have towards each other, that is when we
succeed. That is when we prosper and that is what is needed right now.

So let's look towards the future with a renewed sense of common purpose and a renewed determination
and most importantly renewed confidence that a better day will come.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the US President Barack Obama in his prime time address a short time ago.

Kim, has the President managed to dampen that anger over the payment of corporate bonuses?

KIM LANDERS: Well, he has certainly acknowledged that anger again today but I don't think the
American people are ready to forgive and forget just yet.

So now the President is trying to channel some of that anger to justify why his administration
needs some new powers and that is why both the Treasury-Secretary, Tim Geithner and the President
have today launched a full-scale push for government authority to shut down troubled institutions
like the insurance giant AIG to avoid the need for future bailouts.

Here is how the President has explained it.

BARACK OBAMA: We should have obtained it much earlier so that any institution that poses a systemic
risk that could bring down the financial system, we can handle and we can do it in an orderly
fashion that quarantines it from other institutions.

We don't have that power right now. That is what Secretary Geithner was talking about and I think
that there is going to be strong support from the American people and from Congress to provide that
authority.

ELEANOR HALL: That is the US President again.

Kim this is President Obama's second prime time White House broadcast. Is he in danger of
over-using this form of media attention grabber?

KIM LANDERS: He has got to be dangerously close, Eleanor. I mean when you look at these prime time
media conferences, George W. Bush had four. I am talking about the media conferences that are held
in the evenings here in the United States when most of the people are in front of the tele.

George W. Bush had four. Bill Clinton had four. Ronald Reagan had 31 so Barack Obama has a way to
go. I mean the President really does have an intense domestic and foreign policy agenda. Every day
appears to be choc-a-block with announcements.

He has had a heap of media appearances. He is planning an on-line town hall meeting this week via
the White House website. He'll take some big steps onto the world stage next week at the G20
meeting in London ahead of the NATO summit.

He is certainly everywhere all of the time but the opinion polls are showing that so far 63 per
cent of Americans are happy with how he is doing his job, Eleanor.

ELEANOR HALL: Kim Landers in Washington, thank you.