Obama On Stimulus: 'I Know We Did The Right Thing'

While aknowledging an "astounding" number of job losses in February, President Barack Obama told critics of his $787 billion economic recovery plan Friday that it is saving jobs and said, "I know we did the right thing." He suggested that critics talk to 25 police recruits in Ohio's capital city who owe their jobs to stimulus spending and "talk to the teachers who are still able to teach our children because we passed this plan."

During a graduation ceremony for the police recruits, he also noted "the nurses who are still able to care for our sick and the firefighters and first responders who are still able to keep our communities safe."

News that 651,000 jobs were lost in February brings to "an astounding 4.4 million" the number of jobs lost since the recession began, Obama said. The unemployment rate spiked to 8.1 percent.

But Obama touted the 114th police recruit class as proof that the stimulus plan, which drew scant Republican support in Congress, is paying dividends.

"I look at these young men and women, I look into their eyes and I see their badges today, and I know we did the right thing," Obama said, the recruits seated behind him on stage.

He said the police recruits had faced a future of joblessness, the same "future that millions of Americans still face right now."

"Well, that is not a future I accept for the United States of America," Obama said, explaining why he signed the stimulus bill on Feb. 17.

The recruit class was laid off in January before they could even start walking the beat. Mayor Michael Coleman, a Democrat, blamed city budget problems.

But last week Coleman announced that the Justice Department had told the city it would get $1.25 million in stimulus funds to cover the officers' salaries through Dec. 31.

The recruits were rehired using money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program. The stimulus bill included $2 billion for that program, and the money is being delivered to local departments by a predetermined formula.

Breann Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Rep. Pat Tiberi, one of eight Ohio Republicans who voted against the stimulus, noted that the money that saved the recruits' job will run out next year. Coleman hasn't said how he'll pay the officers' salaries after that.

Gonzalez said Tiberi "is thrilled" that these officers were hired, but that the question of how to pay for them will confront the city again come January.

"This stimulus represents a very temporary solution to an even larger problem," she said.

The trip was Obama's first as president to Ohio, which he won in the November election.

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  • by Tad Location: Jamesville on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:52 PM
    How could this idiot know he did the right thing when he doesn't know what he is doing, at all?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:22 AM
    Thanks to all you knuckleheads who voted for this clown!
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:21 AM
    Perhaps, we will see. Is our President really that optimistic or his he just clueless? He thinks that we can negotiate with the Taliban.
  • by Anonymous Location: nc on Mar 9, 2009 at 08:51 AM
    Everytime I see Obama on TV, all I can here come out of his mouth is BLA, BLA, BLA,BLA, BLA.Oh and Cactus, I think they have been for awhile now. (Friends) See Obama doesnt worry about how to pay his bills, People in the real world do. Must be nice to have money to take vacations. I have to save every dime I get now.
  • by Scrubbing bubble on Mar 8, 2009 at 06:09 AM
    Obama still thinks the Dow is a type of bathroom cleaner
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Mar 7, 2009 at 05:29 PM
    "Chris, Washington". That statement should be on a billboard here in EC. What say we do that?
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Mar 7, 2009 at 03:34 PM
    Even Hugo Chaves reconizes socialism in our president and ask for Obama to continue toward that goal. Hugo thinks the two should become friends.
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Mar 7, 2009 at 03:09 PM
    Obama has no clue what he is doing. He thinks the Dow is some sort of tracking poll. We have an administration devoid of any intelligent life. It is unbelievable. I actually saw Gietner on television talking about ways to keep people from cheating or not paying their taxes. How does he sleep at night and look at himself in the mirror?
  • by Chris Location: Washington on Mar 7, 2009 at 02:57 PM
    Obama lied and the Market died.
  • by Oh Boy on Mar 7, 2009 at 02:08 PM
    Those of us with some sense tried to warn the rest of you all but you voted him in anyway!
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