Obama rebukes Republican attempts to whittle down stimulus bill

In his first presidential news conference, he appeals to the public for support against what he portrays as partisan paralysis in Washington and rejects ‘the failed theories of the last eight years.’
By Christi Parsons and Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times
February 10, 2009
Reporting from Elkhart, Ind., and Washington — In a sharp rebuke to Republicans who have sought to whittle down and redirect his stimulus plan, President Obama declared Monday that quick and massive government action is vital to repair “a gaping hole in our economy” that could lead to a long-term catastrophe.

“We’ve had a good debate. Now it’s time to act,” Obama said Monday night in his first full-scale news conference since entering the White House. Americans “need help right now,” he said, “and they can’t afford to keep on waiting for folks in Washington to get this done.”

While reiterating his willingness to discuss compromises and changes in his stimulus plan, he bluntly rejected traditional Republican economic strategies.

“What I won’t do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested and they have failed.”

The new, more aggressive language represented a marked shift in White House tactics only three weeks into Obama’s presidency.

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