GOP Criticizes Obama For Taking On Too Much
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. As quickly as President Obama's economic team may have moved, they face the question of whether they are moving quickly enough. The New York Times portrays Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner alone at his desk and says events are getting ahead of him and his skeleton crew of advisors. The comedy program "Saturday Night Live" portrayed Geithner addressing the nation and appealing for ideas.
(Soundbite of TV show, "Saturday Night Live")
Mr. WILL FORTE (Actor, Comedian): (as Secretary Timothy Geithner) Earlier today, I proposed that the federal treasury set aside $420 billion. This $420 billion will be placed in a special fund and will go to the first individual who comes up with a workable plan to solve the banking crisis.
(Soundbite of cheering, applause)
INSKEEP: That's a mock treasury secretary on "Saturday Night Live." To track what the real administration is doing, we turn to NPR's Cokie Roberts as we do for analysis every Monday morning. Cokie, good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Steve. I'm not sure we can top "Saturday Night Live."
(Soundbite of laughter)
INSKEEP: Well, we'll see what we can do, in any event. There must be pressure on the administration, added pressure every time the stock market goes down another 500 or 1,000 points.
ROBERTS: Well, of course. And there's already talk of yet another stimulus package, but most members of Congress are saying it's too soon for that talk. Let this one work its way through the economy and let the plan to deal with the housing crisis work its way through the economy. But they're laying the groundwork for yet more action, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the United States will push for a global stimulus package at the Group of 20 summit next month, because the World Bank is saying that the global economy will shrink this year for the first time since World War II. The trade is its lowest in 80 years. So, you're getting a lot of fear, a lot of complaints that more has to happen.
As you say, criticisms that there are not enough people at Treasury and early Sunday morning, very early, the president named three more to try to staunch that criticism. But meanwhile, some Republicans are saying, look, let's just let some of these banks go. Stop trying to prop them up and let the car companies fail. Let's see what happens if you do that. So the criticism's all over the lot.
INSKEEP: Well, you know, you mentioned some Republicans wanting to let banks fail. Do Republicans agree, as an opposition, on what they want to do with the economy?
ROBERTS: No. Some say the president is doing too much, what he's doing is too much about things they don't necessarily want him to do right now - healthcare, education, energy. And they're worried that he's using this crisis for big changes that they don't want. And, of course, that is the case. The administration will try to do that. But they go between saying that he's a socialist, and the president did seem to feel the need to call a New York Times reporter after an interview this weekend to say he's not a socialist. And the Republicans are saying he should - some Republicans - that he should nationalize the banks. So it is, you know, it is all over the place.
And then some say he should be doing more. Others say he's mortgaging our children's future. So I think that they're just trying to get their voices out there, mainly trying to drown out Rush Limbaugh's voice as the voice of the Republican party.
INSKEEP: Democrats had seemed more unified, but had trouble getting a budget bill through Congress, or an appropriations bill through Congress last week.
ROBERTS: Well, some Democrats are upset with those earmarks that we've learned so much about in that bill and the total amount of spending. They say there's so much confusion among their voters on all of these different pieces of legislation, the troubled asset relief, the stimulus plan, the president's budget, this bill that continues keeping government agencies going, a bill that most parts have never saw the floor of the House or the Senate as separate bills.
Moderates are saying that they're feeling their power, and Democratic moderates in the Senate plan to start regular meetings because they feel that they might have more clout and that they can work with Republican moderates and do some fighting of the House of Representatives - Democrats in the House of Representatives.
INSKEEP: Okay. Thanks very much. That's NPR's Cokie Roberts. She joins us every Monday morning for analysis of the political situation and more.
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