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Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Speaks in Chillicothe, Ohio

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Friday, October 10, 2008; 11:12 AM


[*] OBAMA: We meet at a moment of great uncertainty for America. In recent weeks, we've seen a growing financial crisis that's threatening not only banks and businesses, but your economic security, as well. It's getting harder and harder to get a loan for that new car or that startup-business or that college you've dreamed of attending. And yesterday, millions of Americans lost more of their investments and hard-earned retirement savings as the stock market took another significant plunge.

We need action now. The Treasury Department must move as quickly as possible to implement the rescue plan that passed Congress so we can ease this credit crisis that's preventing businesses and consumers from getting loans. And we also must recognize that this is not just an American problem. In this global economy, financial markets have no boundaries. So the current crisis demands a global response. This weekend, finance ministers from the world's major economies will meet in Washington. They must take coordinated steps to restore confidence and to maintain our financial markets and institutions.

There are many causes of this crisis, and it's very important that we respond using all the tools that we have. It's encouraging that Treasury is considering dramatic steps to provide more capital to our financial institutions so they have money to lend. This is not a time for ideology -- it's a time for common sense and a politics of pragmatism. The test of an idea must not be whether it is liberal or conservative -- the test should be whether it works for the American people. That's what we should all be focused on in the days and weeks ahead.

I know these are difficult times. I know folks are worried. But I believe that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis because I believe in this country. Because this is the United States of America. This is a nation that has faced down war and depression; great challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet these challenges -- not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. With resolve. With courage.

We have seen our share of hard times. The American story has never been about things coming easy -- it's been about rising to the moment when the moment is hard; about rejecting panicked division for purposeful unity; about seeing a mountaintop from the deepest valley. That's why we remember that some of the most famous words ever spoken by an American came from a President who took office in a time of turmoil -- "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Now is not the time for fear. Now is not the time for panic. Now is the time for resolve and steady leadership. We can meet this moment. We can come together to restore confidence in the American economy. We can renew that fundamental belief -- that in America, our destiny is not written for us, but by us. That's who we are, and that's the country we need to be right now.

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