Day of reckoning has arrived, Obama tells Americans

Washington, February 25: President Barack Obama has asked Americans to ‘confront boldly the challenges we face’, saying the ‘day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here’.

‘Now is the time to act boldly and wisely – to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity,’ he said in his first speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress.

Obama said his first budget due to be unveiled Thursday was a ‘vision for America – as a blueprint for our future’, but not something that will solve every problem or address every issue.

‘It reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited – a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis and a costly recession. Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars. And that includes me,’ he said.

Hoping to do what Franklin Roosevelt did with his fireside chats – lay out America’s problems in plain English, not with lofty rhetoric – Obama called on the Americans to ‘pull together’ and ‘take responsibility for our future’.

‘We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,’ he said, urging Americans to ‘confront boldly the challenges we face’.

The answers to the country’s problems ‘don’t lie beyond our reach’, he added.

‘They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on earth,’ Obama said.

Striking a more optimistic tone than he has in recent days, he laid out what officials described as a ‘game plan’ to beat the financial crisis.

He touched on foreign policy briefly with mentions of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other threats around the world.

Obama’s speech was dominated by four issues that all relate to the president’s broader economic message: financial stability and responsibility, education, energy independence and health care.

Because Obama’s presidency is a month old, the speech is not technically considered a State of the Union address.