President Obama may have started yesterday with the intention of selling his stimulus plan to the American people with a full-court media press, but he ended it defending his stake on change. On the NBC Nightly News Obama handled ex-nominee Tom Daschle's tax problems by confessing to Brian Williams: "I screwed up." Check out how Obama maintained that he's ushering in the era of responsibility, and other highlights from last night.
- On Tom Daschle's withdrawal: Oh it made me angry and disappointed and it's something I have to take responsibility for. I appointed these folks. I think they are outstanding people. I think Tom Daschle as an example could have led this health care effort, a difficult effort better than just about anybody. But as he acknowledged, this was a mistake.
- On whether politics as usual has won: [T]he fact of the matter is Tom Daschle pulled out today. And I'm here on television saying I screwed up and that's part of the era of responsibility, is not never making mistakes, it's owning up to them and trying to make sure you never repeat them and that's what we intend to do.
To read what the President wants to do to bailout regular Americans,
- On how the stimulus plan will help regular Americans: Now the recovery package that we've put together, has not only immediate relief to families, if they've lost their job, they're going to get extended unemployment insurance, they're going to get to keep their health insurance. We're going to make sure that states don't have to lay off teachers and that they can train teachers for the math and science that is so important for our children.
- On whether the stimulus package is getting "pecked to death": Well look, it's got to go through Congress. That means there are 535 people who have an opinion about what's good policy. . . And I want to continue to work with Democrats and Republicans to find some common ground. But what I can't accept is the politics as usual where we think about scoring points . . . instead of acting. We've lost a million jobs in the last two months. We can't afford another four million jobs lost this year and every economist I talk to projects that if we don't act quickly, we could end up seeing a much more severe situation than we're seeing right now.