Americans in 'Winter of Our Hardship'
Obama presses stimulus in first news conference as prez
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2009 8:26 PM CST
President Barack Obama answers a question during his first prime time televised news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – 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."