Feb. 18, 2009
"In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home-mortgage crisis. And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen a crisis which is unraveling homeownership, the middle class and the American Dream itself."
President Obama, promising Americans billions in federal dollars to help homeowners refinance and restructure their mortgages, while on the stump in Mesa, Ariz.
With criticism of the focus on Wall Street growing, the President promised a few weeks back that he'd personally deliver on a mortgage plan, and he does just that while on the road in Mesa. He tells the crowd he'll use $75 billion to help millions from going into foreclosure. Back in D.C., the Fed predicts a bleaker outlook for 2009 than first expected and warns that the U.S. will face an "unusually gradual and prolonged" period of recovery.
Obama's Attorney General also grabs headlines for calling America a "nation of cowards" on race, in an address to his staff marking Black History Month. Eric Holder says progress has been made, but "the need to confront our racial past and to understand our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country that all endures." The provocative remark brings race to the forefront in a presidency where, ironically, the issue seems to have mattered very little so far since the historic election.
The White House also finally breaks its silence on Burris, with press secretary Robert Gibbs telling reporters "the people of Illinois deserve to know ... the full extent of any involvement" he had with Blagojevich before getting tapped to fill the vacant Senate seat. Burris holds a presser of his own in Chicago, saying he'll no longer engage with the media and have "facts drip out in selective sound bites."