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The Obama Administration: March 21 Thru April 10, 2009

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Day60/March 21st/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President focused on the four principles that must be preserved after debate and passage of his budget: 

               (1) It must reduce our dependence on dangerous foreign oil and finally put this nation on a path to a  clean, renewable energy future.

(2) The budget must renew our nation’s commitment to a complete and competitive education for every American child.

(3) The budget must make a serious investment in health care reform – reform that will bring down costs, ensure quality, and guarantee people their choice of doctors and hospitals.

(4) The budget must reduce the deficit even further. The President claimed, “We are scouring every corner of the budget and have proposed $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.  In total, our budget would bring discretionary spending for domestic programs as a share of the economy to its lowest level in nearly half a century.  And we will continue making these tough choices in the months and years ahead so that as our economy recovers, we do what we must to bring this deficit down.” Transcript 

The President spent the weekend at Camp David with his family.

Day61/March 22nd/Sunday: In an interview with Steve Kroft on CBS 60 Minutes (Transcript & Video), the President was asked if he was surprised at the depth of the recession when he took office. The President told Kroft:

 "I don't think that we anticipated how steep the decline would be, particularly in employment. I mean if you look at just, you know, hundreds of thousands - now millions - of jobs being shed over the course of two months or three months, that slope is a lot steeper than anything that we've said we've seen before. Now, there's a potential silver lining, which may be that things are so accelerated now, the modern economy is so intertwined and wired, that things happen really fast for ill, but things may recover faster than they have in the past."

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Day62/March 23rd/Monday: United StatesTreasury Secretary Tim Geitner released details of his plan to get banks lending again. Public and private money will be used to buy up as much a $1 trillion of the toxic assets (referring to them as “legacy assets”) of banks. The public stake will be $500 billion against another $500 billion from private investors. The prices will be determined through competitive bidding (auction). The government will offer low-interest loans to investors. Both government and investors will hold those toxic assets as long-term investments. As the economy improves and the value of the assets goes up, both the government and the investors will make money. Participants will not have compensation limits. Private investors will be by invitation only.

The President  picked Neal Wolin to become the Deputy Secretary of the United States Treasury and Lael Brainard for Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

 In room 450 of theDwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the President spoke about the clean energy proposals in his budget. He announced $1.2 billion dollars will be funded through the Department of Energy’s national labs to companies innovating the creation and manufacturing of clean energy technologies. The President said, “We can remain the world's leading importer of foreign oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can allow climate change to wreck unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs preventing its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can create those jobs right here in America. Transcript

The Administration announced the annual Easter egg roll will be April 13th, but tickets will be available online so that more kids and their families could come to the White House for the event. Tickets will no longer be distributed on the Elipse the week before the event. Information on the event at www.whitehouse.gov\eastereggroll

Day63/March 24th/Tuesday: The President spoke to the crew of the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Discovery.

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An op-ed , authored by President Obama, ran in over 30 newspapers around the world, expressing an “urgent need for global economic cooperation.” A list of the publications and the full text of the op-ed can be found here.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today several Southwest border initiatives designed to crack down on Mexican drug cartels through enhanced border security. The plan calls for additional personnel, increased intelligence capability and better coordination with state, local and Mexican law enforcement authorities. text of press release  The President, also, addressed this issue in the Presidential News Conference he held at 8PM:  We are sending millions of dollars in additional equipment to provide more effective surveillance. We are providing hundreds of additional personnel that can help control the border, deal with customs issues. We are coordinating very effectively with the Mexican government and President Calderon….the steps that we’ve taken are designed to make sure that the border communities in the United States are protected and you’re not seeing a spillover of violence….    Even as he (President Calderon) is doing more to deal with the drug cartels sending drugs into the United States, we need to do more to make sure that illegal guns and cash aren’t flowing back to these cartels. That’s part of what’s financing their operations. That’s part of what’s arming them. That’s what makes them so dangerous. And this is something that we take very seriously, and we’re going to continue to work on diligently in the months to come.” 

The United States Senate confirmed Gary Locke as Secretary of Commerce. Locke is a former governor of the state of Washington.

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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.

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