Obama’s first interview on CBS Nov 16th

I have taken the time to listen and read on President Elect Obama on his first interview after his election on CBS last night with Steve Kroft. I have extracted some of the issues that I found important: The economy, the financial system; closure of Guantanamo , the use of torture; national security; and finally to free himself from ideology and get best workable solutions where they are available.

Mr. Obama: I think it’s a top priority. I think that we have to restore a sense of trust, transparency, openness in our financial system. And keep in mind that the deregulation process, it wasn’t just one party. I think there’s a lot of blame to spread around.

But, hopefully, everybody’s learned their lesson. And the answer is not heavy-handed regulations that crush the entrepreneurial spirit and risk taking of American capitalism. That’s what’s made our economy great. But it is to restore a sense of balance.

His first legislative goal will be to get Congress to pass an economic stimulus package that he hopes will create jobs and put money in the pockets of ordinary citizens, construction programs to shore up the nation’s creaky infrastructure, a tax cut for the middle class and his first initiatives on health care. But some things he can do with the stroke of a pen.

Mr. Obama: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture. And I’m gonna make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.

Mr. Obama: Well, I’ve said during the campaign, and I’ve stuck to this commitment, that as soon as I take office, I will call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops. Particularly in light of the problems that we’re having in Afghanistan, which has continued to worsen. We’ve got to shore up those efforts.

Kroft: Where does capturing or killing Osama bin Laden fall?

Mr. Obama: I think it is a top priority for us to stamp out al Qaeda once and for all. And I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al Qaeda. He is not just a symbol, he’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against US targets.

Mr. Obama: Two points I’d make on this. Number one, although there are some parallels to the problems that we’re seeing now and what we say back in the ’30s, no period is exactly the same. For us to simply recreate what existed back in the ’30s in the 21st century, I think would be missing the boat. We’ve gotta come up with solutions that are true to our times and true to this moment. And that’s gonna be our job. I think the basic principle that government has a role to play in kick starting an economy that has ground to a halt is sound.

I think our basic principle that this is a free market system and that that has worked for us, that it creates innovation and risk taking, I think that’s a principle that we’ve gotta hold to as well. But what I don’t wanna do is get bottled up in a lot of ideology and is this conservative or liberal. My interest is finding something that works.

And whether it’s coming from FDR or it’s coming from Ronald Reagan, if the idea is right for the times then we’re gonna apply it. And


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