WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama promised a nation facing the worst economic crisis in a quarter-century Tuesday night that he will lead it from a dire “day of reckoning” to a brighter future, summoning politicians and public alike to shoulder responsibility for hard choices and shared sacrifice.
“The time to take charge of our future is here,” Obama declared, delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress.
Cheered robustly as he entered the House chamber, Obama grinned, shook hands and kissed lawmakers and stopped for a lengthy embrace with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, back on the bench only this week after surgery for pancreatic cancer.
To deal with the current crisis, deepening each day, the president said more money will be needed to rescue troubled banks beyond the $700 billion already committed last year. He said he knows the bailout billions for banks are unpopular — “I promise you, I get it” — but he also said that was the only way to get credit moving again to households and businesses, the lifeblood of the American economy.
Offering words of reassurance to an anxious nation, he declared, “Tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”
“We are a nation that has seen promise and peril,” he said. “Now we must be that nation again.”
Along with aid for banks, he also called on Congress to move quickly on legislation to overhaul outdated regulations on the nation’s financial markets.
“I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves necessary,” Obama said. “Because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession.”
To see the phrases and words most commonly used in Obama’s address, click below.