April 3, 2009
Obama News Conference at Conclusion of G-20 Summit
Q Mr. President, — (inaudible) —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think we did okay. You know, when I came here, it was with the intention of listening and learning, but also providing American leadership. And I think that the document that has been produced as well as the concrete actions that will follow reflect a range of our priorities.
We wanted to make sure that we had a strong, coordinated response to growth — and that’s reflected in the document and in the actions that will be taken. We thought it was important to make sure that we had a strong, coordinated regulatory response — and many of the details of the regulatory response draw from principles that we had developed prior to coming here.
We felt that it was very important to strengthen our international financial institutions because developing countries, emerging markets are threatened — even though they may not have been the cause of this crisis — they are threatened by capital flight; they’re threatened by reduced trade finance; drops in consumer demand in developed countries that were their export markets, and so we knew that it was going to be important to provide those countries with assistance. And we have created as fundamental a reworking of the resources available to these international financial institutions as anything we’ve done in the last several decades.
So, overall, I’m pleased with the product. And I’ll leave it to others to determine whether me and my team had anything to do with that. All right?
Chuck Todd. Chuck.
Q What concrete items that you got out of this G20 can you tell the American people back home who are hurting, the family struggling, seeing their retirement go down, or worrying about losing their job — what happened here today that helps that family back home in the heartland?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as I said before, we’ve got a global economy, and if we’re taking actions in isolation in the United States, but those actions are contradicted overseas, then we’re only going to be halfway effective — maybe not even half.
You’ve seen, for example, a drastic decline in U.S. exports over the last several months. You look at a company like Caterpillar, in my home state of Illinois, which up until last year was doing extraordinarily well; in fact, export growth was what had sustained it even after the recession had begun. As a consequence of the world recession, as a consequence of the contagion from the financial markets debilitating the economies elsewhere, Caterpillar is now in very bad shape. So if we want to get Caterpillar back on its feet, if we want to get all those export companies back on their feet, so that they are hiring, putting people back to work, putting money in people’s pockets, we’ve got to make sure that the global economy as a whole is successful.