WASHINGTON-Campaigning for his priorities, the president delivered a lengthy address on the economy. In the setting of Georgetown University, the 45-minute address on economic theory resembled more of a college lecture than a rousing campaign speech.
"This is prose, not poetry," he explained at the outset.
Revisiting the administration's actions over its first 12 weeks, he said, "At the very least, we've been busy." The Obama administration worked to pass the stimulus package, provided more aid for homeowners, expanded bailouts to banks, and curbed executive compensation.
Addressing his critics that say the government has overreached on spending and should be tightening its belt, Obama said government spending during a recession must increase.
"[I]f everybody cuts back . . . the economy gets even worse," he said. "That's why the government has to step in and temporarily boost spending in order to stimulate demand."
Using a biblical allusion, he spoke of the man in the Sermon on the Mount who built his house on a rock, which withstood wind and rain.
"We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand," he said. "We must build our house upon a rock."
Then to he switched to an allusion to Islam-he described "five pillars" to grow the economy-the "five pillars of Islam" form the basic doctrines of that religion. Obama's pillars are reforming regulations on the financial industry, investing in education, investing in renewable energy, investing in health care reform, and reducing the debt in the federal budget. These priorities he has repeated since he took office.
While he called for urgent action to fulfill his priorities-and the stock market dropped as he spoke - he ended on a positive note.
"From where we stand, for the very first time, we are beginning to see glimmers of hope."
Outside the speech, a group of students gathered to protest a pro-abortion president speaking at the Jesuit university.