Barack Obama said today the crisis gripping the US is the "winter of our hardship" as he pounded home the need for Congress to set aside petty differences and pass an $800-plus billion stimulus fund to fight an economic collapse not seen in 80 years. In opening remarks at his first news conference as president, Obama again spoke of the dire state of the American economy and financial system and pushed Congress to act.
"The federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life," he said, adding that failure to act "could turn a crisis into a catastrophe." Acknowledging that no one knew with certainty how to solve the economic crisis, Obama said he could say "with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis." He has no crystal ball, he said, but "if we get things right, we can begin seeing some improvement next year."