Persistence. That’s the message that President Barack Obama ended with last night as he took a battery of questions from the press during his news conference on the economy.
He held his second presidential press conference after a week in which he unveiled another multi-trillion dollar of packages: the small business leading fix; another bailout for the auto industry — this time for suppliers; and the details of the Treasury Department’s plan to buy toxic assets and clean up the balance sheets of the nation’s banks.
Although my seat number was 203, I was seated in the front row, a few feet away from the president, in what I like to call Broadcaster’s Row. The row is occupied by a number of White House correspondents that you see on cable television each night. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd sat next to me. It was a great position to be an eyewitness to history. I was hopeful that I would get a question but it didn’t happen this time around.
In fact, Ebony’s Washington correspondent Kevin Chappell passed me as he went to his seat rows back and jokingly asked: “Do you want to trade seats?”
I should have taken him up on his offer: he got to ask the question.
I’m sure I’ll get to ask my question in the future. Persistence.
The press conference was another opportunity for Obama to communicate to the American public. He has appeared on “The Tonight Showâ€ with Jay Leno, “60 Minutesâ€ and held a series of town hall meetings in an effort to sell his economic program. It’s his toughest battle. There’s quite a bit of political wrangling around his $36 trillion budget. Republicans deride it as “the most irresponsible budget in history” while some Democrats are dismantling components of the budget.
But the president is still determined to keep his vision of the future intact — one with an emphasis on health care, education, energy, and eventually deficit reduction over the next decade.
It is now 64 days into his term. He used the press conference to talk about the planks of his economic program that has been complete and those yet to do. But, in the end, he discussed the need to “stick to it and keep working at it.” He views it as his guiding philosophy as his administration offers new policies, makes adjustments and tries to get this country on course. Persistence is his charge and the philosophy backed by action, he believes will solve the nation’s problems.
Derek T. Dingle is the editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine.