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Full text of Obama and Bernanke not talking about huge new deficit number

August 25, 2009 |  2:00 pm

Democrat president Barack Obama reappoints Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve 8-24-09

Here is the transcript, as provided by the White House, of the island vacation-interrupting remarks (note tie-less principals) today by President Obama and Ben S. Bernanke.

The Democrat could have reappointed Bernanke chairman of the Federal Reserve last week or next week.

But today was the day chosen. Here's our coverage of the Bernanke reappointment earlier today. It was an opportunity for Obama to argue that despite any anecdotal evidence individual Americans may see to the contrary, the administration's $787-billion economic stimulus package is really working and pulled the nation back from en economic precipice. And he praises Bernanke for his role, although this Bernanke looks an awful lot like the Bernanke who chaired the Fed under the last failed president.

Today's event was also an opportunity for Bernanke to thank his Fed team and family.

And if this Monday financial reappointment distracts even 100 people from the positively colossal, mind-numbing new federal deficit numbers also released by the White House today, then this reappointment will have served its PR purpose.

Turns out the White House was off in its 10-year April deficit estimate by about $2 trillion out of about $7 trillion, as The Ticket chronicled here earlier today. That's a miscalculation of 2,000 billion dollars.

That kind of differential doesn't come from not carrying over a 4. But, hey, that's Washington and no doubt somehow largely attributable to the eight years of failed Bush-Cheney policies and will somehow be used in coming weeks to argue that the nation must spend even more money in order to save more money.

Whatever your side, such a deficit won't be successfully hidden by an August Friday leak and an ensuing Monday morning news dump and has now officially entered the autumn healthcare debate.

-- Andrew Malcolm

For less than one trillion dollars (a trillion dollars less, to be exact) you can get Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item by clicking here. Or follow us @latimestot

White House transcript of remarks by President Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Aug. 25, 2009, Oak Bluffs School, Mass.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I apologize for interrupting the relaxing that I told all of you to do, but I have an important announcement to make concerning the Federal Reserve.

The man next to me, Ben Bernanke, has led the Fed through one of the worst financial crises that this ...

... nation and the world has ever faced. As an expert on the causes of the Great Depression, I'm sure Ben never imagined that he would be part of a team responsible for preventing another.

But because of his background, his temperament, his courage and his creativity, that's exactly what he has helped to achieve. And that is why I am re-appointing him to another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Ben approached a financial system on the verge of collapse with calm and wisdom; with bold action and out-of-the-box thinking that has helped put the brakes on our economic freefall. Almost none of the decisions that he or any of us made have been easy.

The actions we've taken to stabilize our financial system, to repair our credit markets, restructure our auto industry, and pass a recovery package have all been steps of necessity, not choice. They've faced plenty of critics, some of whom argued that we should stay the course or do nothing at all.

But taken together, this "bold, persistent experimentation" has brought our economy back from the brink. They're steps that are working. Our recovery plan has put tax cuts in people's pockets, extended health care and unemployment insurance to those who have borne the brunt of this recession, and is continuing to save and create jobs that otherwise would have been lost.

Our auto industry is showing signs of life. Business investment is showing signs of stabilizing. Our housing market and credit markets have been saved from collapse.

Of course, as I've said before, we are a long way away from completely healthy financial systems and a full economic recovery. And I will not let up until those Americans who are looking for jobs can find them; until qualified businesses, large and small, who need capital to grow can find loans at a rate they can afford; and until all responsible mortgage-holders can stay in their homes.

That's why we need Ben Bernanke to continue the work he's doing, and that's why I've said that we cannot go back to an economy based on overleveraged banks, inflated profits, and maxed-out credit cards.

For even as we've taken steps to rescue our financial system and our economy, we must now work to rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity. We have to build an economy that works for every American, and one that leads the world in innovation, in investments, and in experts -- exports.

Part of that foundation has to be a financial regulatory system that ensures we never face a crisis like this again. We've already seen how lax enforcement and weak regulation can lead to enormous wealth for a few and enormous pain for everybody else.

And that's why even though there is some resistance on Wall Street from those who would prefer to keep things the way they are, we will pass the reforms necessary to protect consumers, investors, and the entire financial system. And we will continue to maintain a strong and independent Federal Reserve.

We will also keep working towards the reform of a health insurance system whose costs and discriminatory practices are bankrupting our families, our businesses, and our government. We will continue to build a clean energy economy that creates the jobs and industries of the future within our borders.

And we will give our children and our workers the skills and training they need to compete for these jobs in the 21st century.

Much like the decisions we've made so far, the steps we take to build this new foundation will not be easy. Change never is. As Ben and I both know, it comes with debate and disagreement and resistance from those who prefer the status quo. And that's all right, because that's how democracy is supposed to work.

But no matter how difficult change is, we will pursue it relentlessly because it is absolutely necessary to lift this country up and create an economy that leads to good jobs, broad growth, and a future our children can count on. That's what we're here to do, and that's what we will continue to do in the months ahead. So I want to congratulate Ben on the work that he's done so far, wish him continued success in the hard work that he has before him. Thank you so much, Ben.

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to express my gratitude to President Obama for the confidence he's shown in me with this nomination, and for his unwavering support for a strong and independent Federal Reserve.

It has been a particular privilege for me to serve with the extraordinary colleagues throughout the Federal Reserve System. They have demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness, dedication, and stamina under trying conditions. Through the long nights and weekends and the time away from their families, they have never lost sight of the critical importance of the work of the Fed for the economic well-being of all Americans. I am deeply grateful for their efforts.

I especially want to thank my own family -- my wife Anna and our children, Joel and Alyssa. Without their support and sacrifice, I could not undertake this task.

The Federal Reserve, like other economic policymakers, has been challenged by the unprecedented events of the past few years. We have been bold or deliberate as circumstances demanded, but our objective remains constant: to restore a more stable financial and economic environment in which opportunity can again flourish and in which Americans' hard work and creativity can receive their proper rewards.

Mr. President, I commit today to you and to the American people that, if confirmed by the Senate, I will work to the utmost of my abilities -- with my colleagues at the Federal Reserve and alongside the Congress and the administration -- to help provide a solid foundation for growth and prosperity in an environment of price stability. Thank you, sir.

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Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters
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