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« Moran Airs First Radio Ad | Blog Home Page | Paterson Breaks Polling Record »

The Stock Market As A Tracking Poll

It's worked before.

President Obama urged Americans not to read too much into the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock market, comparing it to a daily tracking poll and saying a broader view is needed before jumping to conclusions about his economic plans.

"I'm looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing," Obama said in the Oval Office after a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down day to day, and if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."

The media has come lately to using the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a barometer of Obama administration policies. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's announcement of principles of a financial system reform effort was panned when the Dow plummeted. It took another dip when the market feared nationalization of banks. Press secretary Robert Gibbs even jokingly took credit for a rally the next day when he downplayed those fears, noting an uptick of more than a hundred points during his briefing.

Obama did concede, however, that the banking system "has been dealt a heavy blow," and said there are a number of factors "working their way through the system." "As people absorb the depths of the problem that existed in the banking system, as well as the international ramifications of it, that there's going to be a natural reaction," he said. Coordinating with other G20 countries, as Brown has suggested, could be a step toward rebuilding confidence in the global economy, Obama added.

The meeting of Brown and Obama, the first between the new president and a European leader at the White House, comes one month before a meeting of global leaders next month in London. Obama reinforced the notion of a "special relationship" between the two countries, calling a question by a British journalist about whether he has less of a Euro-centric view than his predecessors "misguided."

"Great Britain is one of our closest, strongest allies and there is a link, a bond there that will not break," he said.

Brown, eager to use the photo op to boost sagging popularity across the pond, tried his best to be chummy with the president.

"I've enjoyed every conversation that we've had, both on the telephone and when we've met. I don't think I could ever compete with you at basketball -- perhaps tennis," he suggested.

"I hear you got a game," Obama responded.