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« Taxation Plus Representation For D.C.? | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Skin in the game »

Obama to Congress: 'Show Me Your Ideas'

With his recovery plan already facing complaints on the Hill, President-elect Barack Obama made a blanket pledge to consider any idea lawmakers have to fix the economy, offering his own twist on "Show me the money."

"I want this to work," he told reporters this morning during a press conference at his transition office. "This is not an intellectual exercise, and there is no pride of authorship. If members of Congress have good ideas, if they can identify a project for me that will create jobs in an efficient way that does not hamper our ability to over the long term get control of our deficit, that is good for the economy, than I'm going to accept it."

Obama would not answer questions about whether he was willing to allow his plan to grow even more expensive. He instead continued promising to keep an open mind to both Democratic and Republican views.

"Just show me. If you can show me that something is going to work, I will welcome it. If it works better than something I have proposed, I will welcome it. What is not an option is for us to sit and engage in posturing or the standard partisan fights while the American people are out there struggling," he said.

At a press conference called to announce his top picks for intelligence posts, Obama faced multiple questions on the economy instead. He prefaced remarks with a statement about new and higher unemployment numbers, calling it a "stark reminder about how urgently action is needed."

"There is a devastating economic crisis that will become more and more difficult to contain with time. For the sake of our economy and our people, this is the moment to act, and to act without delay," he said.

There were no surprises in Obama's choices for directors of National Intelligence and the CIA: Dennis Blair and Leon Panetta, respectively. He said his entire intelligence team is reflective of his "practical, pragmatic approach to foreign policy." He did not specifically address concerns that have been raised about Panetta's lack of direct experience with the CIA, but tried to make clear that in him the Agency has "a director who has my complete trust and substantial clout."

The president-elect was asked if his choices reflected a reassessment of his views on interrogation techniques or a softening of U.S. policy toward Iran. On the former, he reiterated his opposition to torture and promised that the country would abide by Geneva Convention standards, which he said will "make us safer and will help us in chainging hearts and minds." On Iran, he stated only that he'd speak more after taking office, but did say that "we should be willing to initiate diplomacy as a mechanism to achieve our national security goals."

The press conference ended on a lighter note, with Obama asked for his view of the BCS results. He congratulated Florida for their victory, but said: "If I'm Utah, if I'm USC, or if I'm Texas, I may still have some quibbles."