Obama Focuses on Economy after Vacation

January 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
President-Elect Barack Obama is back in Chicago Friday morning.After 12 days in Hawaii, Obama and his family flew back home to Chicago. Over the next couple of days the soon-to-be first family will say goodbye to their friends, neighbors, and their private lives and fly to Washington D.C. over the weekend.

The Obama's left Hawaii, ready to face much colder weather in Chicago, then Washington. The incoming president faces some of the most daunting international and domestic challenges.

On the top of the list, convincing Congress to support what some economists say could be a trillion-dollar stimulus package to shock the economy out of a deepening recession. But that will require a presidential lobbying campaign of lawmakers, with the first formal approach scheduled for Monday, when the president-elect is expected to meet with congressional leaders.

"The Congress is ready to spend money. And he can really do a great big series of economic measures, including he could do some important things on health care," said Cokie Roberts.

Other domestic challenges include reforming education and weaning the U.S. off of its dependence on foreign oil by developing green technologies.

Peace in the Middle East has skyrocketed to the top of the President-Elect's agenda, as the fighting between Israel and Hamas escalates. There's also stamping out the seeds of extremism with roots in Pakistan, and the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"He's got the Bush people that put the, were in the war at the end of the administration. He's got to get us out in some lengthy timetable that probably has to be 18-months or less," said ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd.

Political watchers said the scope of the economic problems may require the president-elect to break some campaign promises right away, like raising taxes on those making more than $250-thousand a year.


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