Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Sen. Barack Obama Holds Press Conference on U.S. Credit Market Crisis in Tampa, Florida
Tuesday, September 23, 2008; 3:18 PM
SPEAKER: SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.
[*] OBAMA: Yesterday, the President said that Congress should pass his proposal to ease the crisis on Wall Street without significant changes or improvements. Now, there are many to blame for causing the current crisis, starting with the speculators who gamed the system and the regulators who looked the other way. But all of us now have a stake in solving it and saving our financial institutions from collapse. Because if we don't, the jobs and life savings of millions will be put at risk.
Given that fact, the President's stubborn inflexibility is both unacceptable and disturbingly familiar. This is not the time for my- way-or-the-highway intransigence from anyone involved. It's not the time for fear or panic. It's the time for resolve, responsibility, and reasonableness.
And it is wholly unreasonable to expect that American taxpayers would or should hand this Administration or any Administration a $700 billion blank check with absolutely no oversight or conditions when a lack of oversight in Washington and on Wall Street is exactly what got us into this mess.
Now that the American people are being called upon to finance this solution, the American people have the right to certain protections and assurances from Washington.
First, the plan must include protections to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to further reward the bad behavior of irresponsible CEOs on Wall Street. There has been talk that some CEOs may refuse to cooperate with this plan if they have to forgo multi- million-dollar salaries. I cannot imagine a position more selfish and greedy at a time of national crisis. And I would like to speak directly to those CEOs right now: Do not make that mistake. You are stewards for workers and communities all across our country who have put their trust in you. With the enormous rewards you have reaped come responsibilities, and we expect and demand that you to live up to them. This plan cannot be a welfare program for Wall Street executives.