Obama's week 1: Sales pitch begins

In his first week in office, Barack Obama worked to secure public and congressional support for a speedy recovery plan. He didn't get a bill, or a Treasury secretary, however.

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By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After a call for "bold and swift" action on the economy in his first moments as president on Tuesday, President Barack Obama got right to work, maneuvering to reach a bipartisan agreement on his sweeping economic recovery plan.

In his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, the President said "if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse."

On Friday, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with Democratic and Republican congressional leadership to discuss his stimulus proposal, trying to sell both sides on a plan that includes both tax cuts and massive spending efforts.

The president offered more detail on his plan to restore economic growth. He said he'd take a three-pronged approach to recovery: stabilize the financial system, fix market regulation and pass the stimulus plan.

Those negotiations are set to continue next week, as the House is expected to hold a vote on its stimulus plan on Wednesday. The Senate is set to begin its deliberation over its stimulus proposal, after announcing its own plan on Friday to meet Obama's goal of creating three to four million jobs.

There was some indication this week that despite the push to stimulate the economy quickly, the proposed tax cuts wouldn't reach consumers before June. (Full story)

Lobbying push: As Obama continues to push his plan, Congress isn't the only group that he is lobbying. The president began his first week in office by delivering a rousing inauguration speech that depicted the severity of the recession, calling on Americans to meet the challenges facing the economy.

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time," Obama said Tuesday after taking the oath of office. "But know this, America -- they will be met."

Presidential speech experts say Obama tried to sell the public on his initiatives by outlining the the severity of the economic situation and the desperate need to address it, much in the way that President Franklin Roosevelt did at his first inauguration.

"Franklin Roosevelt is the closest parallel to the way Obama talked about the economy in his speech," said Jeremy Meyer, associate professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. "He talked about greed, fairness and themes that mirror the New Deal."

Daily briefings: On Friday, Obama affirmed that he has and will continue to receive a daily economic briefing in addition to the usual security briefing.

"We are monitoring what's happening and, frankly, the news has not been good," Obama said. "Each day brings, I think, greater focus on the problems that we're having, not only in terms of job loss but also in terms of some of the instabilities in the financial system."

Secretary in the wings: Perhaps the most glaring item the president didn't get to cross off his to-do list involved his most important economic appointee: Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner.

Geithner, former New York Federal Reserve Bank, was grilled by members of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

The confirmation got hung up by the disclosure of Geithner's failure to pay self-employment taxes when he was working for the International Monetary Fund.

Early Thursday, the committee voted 18-5 to recommend Obama's nominee to the full Senate, and a vote was expected on Monday.

Stimulus debate: The week brought the start of a congressional debate on Obama's proposed $825 billion package of spending plans and tax cuts aimed at reviving the economy.

Some policy analysts had earlier believed that the bill would be ready for him to sign in his first week in office.

That, of course, didn't happen. The legislation did move out of two key House committees, while Republicans voiced objections, arguing that much of the bill's proposed spending is excessive.  To top of page

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