WASHINGTON - To a nation reeling from recession and facing long-festering problems, President Barack Obama has a simple reminder: "We are not quitters."
Whatever the problems, the new president promised in the first prime-time speech of his term, "We will rebuild, we will recover and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."
Standing before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, Obama optimistically sketched an agenda that began with jobs, then broadened quickly to include a stable credit system, better schools, health care reform, reliable domestic sources of energy and an end to the war in Iraq. Specifics will follow, he said, although he conceded more billions may be necessary to stabilize the banking system.
The president drew loud cheers as he made his way down the center aisle, again when he stood, alone, at the podium to speak, and several more times in an address delivered in a hall packed with lawmakers, members of his administration, Supreme Court justices and diplomats..