President Obama returned to a familiar theme tonight—hope—as he sought to reassure Americans buffeted by the recession. "The day of reckoning has arrived," he told a joint session of Congress, but American ingenuity can save us. "Now is the time to act boldly and wisely—to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity," said Obama. "It's not about helping banks," he added. "It's about helping people."
The president sketched out a broad agenda on a range of topics including the economy, health care reform (it "will not wait another year"), education (making the US No. 1 in terms of college graduates), the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and energy independence. He criticized the "era of irresponsibility" that preceded his presidency, citing not only "gutted" regulations on Wall Street but people who bought houses they could not afford. Obama will flesh out policy details Thursday when he unveils his budget.