OPTIMISM

Obama: Crisis Also a ‘Great Opportunity’

Obama began his weekly address today with some depressing figures: 4.4 million jobs have been lost to the recession and America now faces unemployment in excess of 8 percent, the highest rate in the last quarter-century. But the “Toward a Better Day” address struck an optimistic tone nonetheless: If we act quickly and intelligently, Obama argued, America will “discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis.” The president focused mostly on reassuring America that the government is on track. He listed the work he accomplished in the last week: plans to help homeowners with their mortgages, lending initiatives, the end of no-bid contracts, and the health care summit. Obama’s health care bill, which he says he hopes will be complete by the end of the year, will push for “quality, affordable health care for every American that no longer overwhelms the budgets of families, businesses and our government.” Meanwhile, the GOP’s weekly radio address, delivered by Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, criticized Obama’s health care initiative: “I’m concerned that if the government steps in it will eventually push out the private health care plans millions of Americans enjoy today. This could cause your employer to simply stop offering coverage, hoping the government will pick up the slack.”