March 20, 2009
"This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."
President Obama in a video message to the Iranian people
"Poorly designed compensation policies can create perverse incentives that can ultimately jeopardize the health of the banking organization."
Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, speaking in Phoenix at the Independent Community Bankers of America national convention
President Obama offers an olive branch to the Iranians in honor of the start of the Persian New Year. In a YouTube video he says he wants Iran to "take its rightful place in the community of nations," but that such a right comes with responsibilities that can't be reached through terrorism or arms. Tehran receives Obama's calls for cooperation cautiously, saying it welcomes the message but that "minor changes will not end the differences " between the two countries.
Meanwhile, economy talk dominates the day for the Administration, with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke discussing the banking crisis in Phoenix and Obama sitting down with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell at the White House to brainstorm about the stimulus.
Michelle Obama spends her day outside, marking the first day of spring by breaking ground on the new White House organic kitchen garden on the South Lawn, which will include 55 kinds of vegetables, like peppers, spinach, arugula and more.