LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
At this moment at the White House, President Barack Obama is giving a nationally televised news conference. For the third time this week, he's speaking about the economy. He announced a new head of the Counsel of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsbee, already one of the president's advisors on the economy. And the president continued to press his case that Republicans are responsible for the bad economy, and they are presenting no new ideas on how to fix it.
BARACK OBAMA: If the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that will get us back into a mess, then I think the Democrats will do very well.
WERTHEIMER: Mara, the president said this morning that he could have a middle class tax cut next week if a minority of Republicans would not hold it up.
MARA LIASSON: And this was another venue for him to make this argument, which he and the Democrats believe is a very good one for them, going into the fall campaigns.
WERTHEIMER: So far, though, they haven't made much progress, and many Americans tell pollsters that they are prepared to make that change, to change back.
LIASSON: But yes, he's facing a pretty dire situation. People have rejected his economic policies because they haven't worked enough.
WERTHEIMER: One of the questions he got was essentially what took you so long, why have you waited so long to do what you're doing now.
LIASSON: Right. And he said, well, we've been trying to do all of these other things. We've been working all along. And I think that's a very good question. Because a lot of Democrats wished that he'd had this kind of package out there earlier for them. I think the White House's Plan A was that the economy was going to be doing better now. They were really caught flat-footed and they didn't have a Plan B in place fast enough.
WERTHEIMER: So here he goes with his - with his Plan B. Mara Liasson, thank you very much.
LIASSON: Thank you, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson speaking to us about President Obama's nationally broadcast news conference.
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