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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
President Obama's First Address to the Nation and Congress
Aired February 24, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to "AC360," All through this next hour we are remaining live to give you the latest on the President's speech and the Republican response. All the politics, all the polling, reaction from around the country and around the world.
First, though, we want to play you another extended clip from the President's remarks just a few -- a short time ago. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector; jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing wind turbines and solar panels, laying broadband and expanding mass transit.
Because of this plan there are teacher who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids. And health care professionals can continue caring for our sick. There are 57 police officers who are still on the streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs their department was about to make.
Because of this plan, 95 percent of working households in America will receive a tax cut. A tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1st. Because of this plan, families who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college.
And Americans -- and Americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm.
Now, I know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work. And I understand that skepticism. Here in Washington, we've all seen how quickly good intentions can turn into broken promises and wasteful spending. And with a plan of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right. And that's why I've asked Vice President Biden to lead a tough, unprecedented oversight effort because nobody messes with Joe.
I have told each of my cabinet as well as mayors and governors across the country that they will be held accountable by me and the American people for every dollar they spend. I've appointed a proven and aggressive inspector general to ferret out any and all cases of waste and fraud. And we have created a new Website, called Recovery.gov so that every American can find out how and where their money is being spent. So the recovery plan we passed is the first step in getting our economy back on track.
But it is just the first step. Because even if we manage this plan flawlessly, there will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis that has severely weakened our financial system.
I want to speak plainly and candidly about this issue tonight. Because every American should know that it directly affects you and your family's well-being. You should also know that the money you've deposited in banks across the country is safe. Your insurance is secure. You can rely on the continued operation of our financial system. That's not the source of concern.
The concern is that if we do not restart lending in this country, our recovery will be choked off before it even begins.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Obama from earlier tonight. We mentioned polling at the top. We have results now just coming in. Candy Crowley has been crunching through them. She joins us now -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson, this is what we call a flash poll. A couple of warnings before I give you these numbers and the first is this is only people who saw this speech. So it doesn't represent all Americans. And because the President is a Democrat and usually how that works out is that the audience is of the party that the President is. These were more Democrats and they were out of line with how many Democrats there are across the nation. So it skews Democratic, is what I'm trying to say.
With all that in mind the fact of the matter is the President did very well. Take a look at this first poll we have. And this is reaction to the President's speech: 68 percent of those who watched it said they had a very positive reaction; 24 percent said they are somewhat positive; only 8 percent said it was negative.
Now, just before we go too crazy with those numbers, which are very good, they are just about in line with the numbers that President Bush got in 2001 when he gave a similar speech in a similar time.
Take a look at one other poll we have. And this is about, do you support the economic plan that President Obama talked about tonight? And he will certainly love this: 82 percent of those who saw it said yes, they did like the outline of the plan tonight in President Obama's speech; only 17 percent opposed.
Again, I have to warn you that this poll skews Democratic and it is only of those who watched it. I would also add that I think some of those numbers which are a lot higher than we've seen in previous polls before this speech are reacting to a plan and plans that we don't yet have a lot of detail for. And sometimes support tends to go down when you start to see the details of a package. But in general, obviously a very good night for President Obama -- Anderson.
COOPER: Candy thanks very much.
We're also going to touching base with you a little bit later on and talk about the Republicans and their response. Bobby Jindal we heard earlier and the politics behind that.
But let's "Dig Deeper" now with our panel: senior political analyst David Gergen; chief business correspondent Ali Velshi; and chief national correspondent John King and political analyst Roland Martin.
David, we just heard those poll numbers. "New York Times"/CBS had a poll also which was fascinating. About three quarters including six and ten Republicans said Mr. Obama had been trying to work with the Republicans, but only three in ten Americans said Republicans were doing the same.
And he certainly seems to be receiving high marks from folks for his efforts at bipartisanship even though they really haven't been successful.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He clearly gained a point for trying. And I think often what you find, Anderson, with a new President, people want to know are you on my side and are you working for me? Are you working hard for me and what I believe in? If you're doing those things, early on they don't hold you that accountable for what actually happens. So he only got three Republican votes, at least he tried.
A year or two from now those kind of measurements are changing and people are looking for results. And he'll be held accountable for that.
I think what's hard, though, for Republicans is they energized their base to a considerable degree through their opposition -- and Ed Rollins can speak to this -- and they clearly lowered the approval rating among Republicans for the President.
But they haven't helped themselves with the public in general. And what you have now is the Republican Party is sort of seen as this "party of no." And that, I think, is starting to drag on them. And how they find their way back -- I don't think the Bobby Jindal speech tonight helped them find their way back.
With all due respect, he's a great rising star, but I don't think he did what he needed to do to help them find their way back.
COOPER: Let's bring in Republican strategist Ed Rollins, Ed, again from this "New York Times"/CBS polls 63 percent of those who responded said Republicans opposed the legislation -- stimulus legislation for political reasons. 79 percent said Republicans should now be working in a bipartisan manner rather than holding fast to their principles. ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, they're going to hold fast to their principle. And the reality is they're not going to be driven by polls in the foreseeable future and they're not going to move polls in the foreseeable future.
To a certain extent, if this program works that the President advocated, he's going to have great success. Democrats will get reelected in 2010 and they'll get reelected in 2012 and they'll continue to be a minority party.
If for some reason it doesn't and they can basically point out and say a lot of promises were made, a lot of money was spent, and we're still in very bad shape, and we were the truth-tellers, and that's what an opposition party does. That's what Democrats did with President Bush.
That's what Democrats did later in the stages with President Reagan. And I think to a certain extent that's where they are. There's no other position.
GERGEN: And I respectfully disagree in one sense, Ed. It is a great strategy for Republicans and that is it does seem to me they have to have some ideas. What -- had Newt Gingrich brought the party back --
GERGEN: Yes, he brought the party back in 1994 after three years into the Clinton presidency by having an agenda that he presented to the country of ideas that they wanted to move the ball forward. And we have not heard much of that.
ROLLINS: It took 15 years for Newt to come up with the agenda. And I think the bottom line is, these guys have come up off their -- and gals have come off their tails. They got knocked on it in November. It's a very short period of time. They have no control of the apparatus at this point in time.
And I think some of these younger members will come up with some ideas and some concepts. The governors are doing that. And I think that's the key to us in the future.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the Republicans the answer is going to be the example of the governors. Governor Jindal may not have given a stream line of a speech tonight but it's a horrible job to follow a President of the United States who is incredibly popular and an enormously good performer.
But governors like him, if you think back to the 1980s, the Newt Gingrich contract for America came out of the work of John Engler in Michigan and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin in welfare reforms and balancing budgets, that that's the business of governors.
And any Republican will tell you that they believe their next candidate for President will be a governor or a former governor; somebody out in the states who will set an example. That's the place to begin.
COOPER: I want to play for our viewers a very important sound bite from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke earlier today. It's got a lot to do with what the President was talking about. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: If actions taken by the administration, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability, and only if that is the case, in my view, there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And he also said, Ali Velshi, that nationalization of banks may not be necessary, would certainly be a last resort. And that rallied the market.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It was a turnaround point.
COOPER: Is what he said today as important as what the President said tonight? Or more important?
VELSHI: I think he teed it up for the President to say that this is the first person in government who has said to us now that there's some chance that this thing could end at some point in the foreseeable future, which then teed up the President to be able to talk about the future beyond this recession.
And he talked about health care and he talked about the environment and he talked about energy and he talked about education. I think that was something that was very, very sorely needed in this economy. We need somebody to say there's an end to this thing.
GERGEN: And sure we've been talking the last few days about a vacuum --
GERGEN: -- of having someone who's credible and authoritative tell us with more force what's going on with this economic situation.
But I'm -- here is John King that had some reporting out of the White House today about the banking which sounded really interesting. And what the President is thinking about this.
KING: Well, they're being very cautious about this because they think that there are a number of moving parts in the banking crisis and they're very different. And so they don't think there's a one size fit all. And they are nervous and acutely aware because of the bad experience they have had.
The market went down on Inauguration Day. It went down when Secretary Geithner announced his plan. It went down when Secretary Donovan announced the housing plan. They're acutely aware that every time they speak to this, the markets react fiercely, and not just in the United States but around the world.
And one thing they are worried about is the problems of Bank of America or Citibank are not the same --
KING: -- as the problem of a regional bank out there somewhere and the global crisis only complicates it --
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And of course Anderson, it will be nice if these same banks could also offer their own ideas. There is Citibank is saying, hey, federal government please come save us. And the American public are saying we're tired of you guys keep asking for dough.
COOPER: We've got to take a break.
MARTIN: Put up your own plan. Yes, I've say it.
COOPER: You did say it; I know you'd say it again.
COOPER: And were polling in Facebook, and the poll saying in the "360" chat room and people are weighing in right now on what they've seen. You can go to "AC360.com" and follow the links to the live chat and to the Facebook. While there, check out Erica Hill's live cast during the commercial breaks.
Up next, two top economy watchers join us, Nobel winner Joseph Stiglitz and the "Wall Street Journal" Stephen Moore and more with our panel ahead as well as Ali Velshi.\
And also ahead Sarah Palin; yes, she is back in the spotlight tonight. We'll tell you why. That and much more when this special edition of "360" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks to the wealthiest two percent of Americans.
Now, let me be clear. Let me be absolutely clear. Because I know you'll end up hearing some of the same claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people.
If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter million dollars a year, you will not see your taxes increase a single dime. I repeat, not one single dime.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: President Obama repeating a message he shared repeatedly on the campaign trail; one of several accomplishments he pointed to tonight. A lot of questions though, about how well his tax cuts for those who are eligible will actually goose the economy. Whether a different mix of tax cuts and spending might be better and what happens down the road when at least some of the bills come due as they will.
Joining us now: Joseph Stiglitz, he's the Nobel lawyer and economist with Columbia University and he's served as Chairman as the Council of Economics Advisers during the Clinton administration and he's the author of "The $3 Trillion War: The True cost of the Iraq Conflict;" also Stephen Moore, senior economic writer for the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page and author of the "The End of Prosperity." I appreciate both of you being with us.
Joseph, the President laid out some very big plans tonight. What did you think?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ, UNIVERSITY PROF. AT COLUMBIA UNIV.: Well, I think it was a good outline. As they say, the devil is in the detail. And we haven't seen those details.
COOPER: So you like everyone else are waiting to hear from Tim Geithner?
The main concern, of course, is the bailout of the banks. He emphasized the need to restart credit. He talked about a new credit facility.
One of the interesting things as I think about it, he talked about $700 billion in TARP money we put into the banks. If we created a new bank, levered it 10 to 1, we would have had $7 trillion of credit; more than the country needs by far.
And so the real question is, if the defense of bailing out the banks is a supply of new credit, where's all the money gone? Why did we go do it the way we did? It's money -- you know, the basic principle in economics are bygones are bygones. Don't have good money chase bad money.
And I'm afraid that's what we've been doing. I hope we don't continue. The way we've done it has actually made things worse because it creates what economists call misalignment of incentives.
It's our money, but we haven't gotten any control. And so they've been spending it in ways that are not in our interest, us as taxpayer. And that's why you saw the money that we gave going out to bonuses, dividends. You felt -- needing to respond to the anger in the country --
STIGLITZ: -- over that behavior. COOPER: Steve, overall how confident are you after hearing what the President said?
STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL PAGE: Well, you know, there is a lot of anger in the country. And Anderson, one of the things I'm hearing is anger about the incredible amount of debt in government expansion and bailouts that we've seen.
I really think there's a kind of silent majority out there that's rebelling against this. When I listened to Barack Obama's speech, and there's no question the guy, I think you referred to him as the Madonna of the Democratic Party. And Republicans could use someone like that in terms of a messenger.
The problem is that I had kind of this miniature calculator going off in my head. Calculating the cost of all of these new programs, for energy programs, and for health care and this is a President who has only been in office for 35 days and he's already increased the national debt by $3 trillion.
That's a very heavy cost that our children are going to pay. And I think it's probably a version of fiscal child abuse, quite frankly.
COOPER: Just for clarity, I didn't say he was the Madonna of the Democratic Party. I said that the losers who waited all day to get a seat near him were like losers waiting for a Madonna concert. Just to be clear.
MOORE: I stand corrected.
COOPER: Joseph, I want to play something for our viewers that the President said in trying to explain so much spending on the bailout. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It's not about helping banks. It's about helping people. Because when credit is available again, that young family can finally buy a new home. And then some company will hire workers to build it. And then those workers will have money to spend.
And if they can get a loan too, maybe they'll finally buy that car or open their own business. Investors will return to the markets. And American families will see their retirements secured once more.
Slowly but surely, confidence will return. And our economy will recover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Does that explanation work for you?
STIGLITZ: Not completely. And that goes to what I was saying before. The objective is to get credit going. But we want to do it in a way that imposes the least cost on the taxpayers, that is to say keep the deficit from growing faster. And he hasn't explained why it is that we have to keep bailing out over and over and over again the banks. There is, I believe, a much better way, a number of alternative ways that do not entail giving this money without getting anything in return.
We got cheated as the current congressional oversight panel pointed out, when we gave them money in the first round.
COOPER: Without even knowing where it's going, basically.
STIGLITZ: And we got preferred shares. And they've looked at the value of what we got. And we got 67 cents on the dollar. And then what we got was the preferred shares that have gone down in value. So we got cheated.
COOPER: Steve, the President is also saying -- go ahead.
MOORE: Let me make one point about this. I'm feeling kind of old-fashioned right now as a conservative economist who believes in the free enterprise system. But we haven't given the free enterprise system much of a chance over the last six months.
Now, this began under George Bush with his $700 billion bailout plan which in my opinion did not work. Now we have a trillion dollar debt plan. Now we have additional $275 billion for the housing and maybe a one to $2 trillion according to Tim Geithner to deal with the banking crisis.
I really believe and I think there are a lot of Americans who believe the same thing -- everything that the government has done in the last six months has made the crisis worse.
COOPER: Joseph, I want to give you the final thought. Do you agree with him?
STIGLITZ: No. I think things are much better than they would have been as it will likely be because of the stimulus bill that was passed. The good part of that bill were these investments; these investments are investments that we need. We lost so much money by not investing in infrastructure.
Talking about hurricane Katrina, if we had spent a few billion dollars we would have saved over $100 billion.
MOORE: Yes, but Joe why is the stock market down by --
STIGLITZ: Those are good investments.
MOORE: The stock market certainly doesn't agree with that.
STIGLITZ: The stock market is not a good metric here.
MOORE: It's a pretty good --
STIGLITZ: If we give money to the banks, the stocks will go up. That's not what we're concerned about. COOPER: We got to leave it there. Joseph Stiglitz, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. And Steven Moore thank you as well for your perspective.
MOORE: Thank you Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up next, the Republican response given tonight by the GOP's answer to President Obama; 37-year-old Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising star in the party.
More extended chunks from the President's speech tonight as well as more from our panel.
And the latest on the one senator in the chamber tonight whose own state colleague wants him to step down. That man, Roland Burris, the man that's sitting in Barack Obama's old seat. The question is for how much longer is he going to sit there? New developments in this strange story when "360" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I know that it's easy to lose sight of this truth, to become cynical and doubtful, consumed with the petty and the trivial. But in my life I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely places. That inspiration often comes not from those with the most power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of ordinary Americans who are anything but ordinary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We continue to play you extended clips of the most important moments from the President's speech tonight to both Houses of Congress. Hope in the American people; that's what the President was talking about.
It's one point Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal can agree on. Tapped to deliver tonight's Republican response, the Governor had two jobs. Paint the GOP as more than just a party of old white guys basically and walk a tight rope between criticizing massive spending and admitting that his party has strayed from their conservative roots over the last eight years.
So how did he do that? Well, for an "Up Close" look let's turn to Candy Crowley -- Candy.
CROWLEY: Anderson, you know you never really want to be the guy that follows a President who has a 60 percent plus approval rating and the nicest podium in the world at the U.S. Capitol.
Nonetheless, Governor Jindal was selected to do that. And he had twin aims: first of all, to show that Republicans are perfectly willing and really want to work with President Obama; but second of all, there is a real big problem here. And so while he talked about education, and he talked about energy, he talked about health care, all the things the President wants, Jindal said, we want to work with the President. However --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LOUISIANA: Democratic leaders in Washington, they placed their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people. In the end it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government.
And we oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses, to grow our economy and to create jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: In the end, Anderson, Governor Jindal talked about many of the same issues President Obama did. The problem is they just seem to be in parallel universes.
COOPER: They certainly did at that. Candy thanks very much.
Let's talk with our panel: Chrystia -- from my left to right, Chrystia Freeland is U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times; Joseph Stiglitz, a university professor at Columbia University, a Nobel Prize Winner and author of the "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True cause of the Iraq Conflict;" Ed Rollins, Republican strategist, CNN contributor; and Pamela Gentry, BET senior political analyst.
So Ed, we just heard the Republican response from Bobby Jindal. How do you think he did? I mean, clearly as Candy said he got a tough job following this President?
ROLLINS: It was a tough job. And obviously he was better on the weekend talk shows when he was answering questions as opposed to trying to give a speech. No one has ever really succeeded at this post and --
COOPER: It's always kind of painful.
ROLLINS: It's always painful and no one has gone on from this to -- everybody thinks it's a great launching pad. I wouldn't recommend to any of my clients, whatever you do don't take the honor.
COOPER: It's true. Every year this person is a rising star and then they seems like they implode and you never see them again.
ROLLINS: I would say this was a good night for Sarah Palin.
COOPER: Well, she actually is back in the news. We're going to talk about her in a moment. And Pamela, I want to play for our viewers some more -- another key moment from the President's speech tonight. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity. Now is the time to jump start job creation, restart lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care and education that will grow our economy even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Certainly sounds good. But there are a lot of folks who are out there who are going to be saying, "Look, he's just saying stuff that sounds good to this crowd. He can't really deliver on it." Can he really do all these things?
PAMELA GENTRY, SR. POLITICAL ANALYST, BET TV: It's an ambitious agenda. But I think that what he's trying to say is let's try. He doesn't want to start out saying he can't get to it.
The problem here is that he has such a domestic issue and, of course, we still have the war that he didn't really talk very much about. He did talk about being strong and fighting terrorism. But he kept this a very domestic policy speech. So he laid everything out there now for people to look at.
COOPER: It's interesting, Joseph. You look at the polls. 75 percent of Americans say they have confidence Obama can help the economy. But then when you look at their confidence in the stimulus plan, only 53 percent say they think the stimulus plan will help the economy.
What do you make of this discrepancy?
STIGLITZ: I don't know. What I -- I'm with those who say that the stimulus plan will make a difference. The problem is, the problems are so serious that the job loss is going to be very large. And what worries me is they'll say, "Ah, the stimulus plan didn't work."
COOPER: Was the fed chairman too optimistic today when he said if things go well, we're talking about a year?
STIGLITZ: What he said was a very kind of two-handed economist. If things go well, things will go well. That is true. But the question is --
COOPER: That's the part I clung to, I guess.
STIGLITZ: The fact is, it will save a large number of jobs. But the likelihood that we will be in a robust recovery in 2010 or even 2011 is very low. We may bottom out. But it's more like an "L" that is not going to be going up very quickly.
COOPER: I'm going to talk to Chrystia Freeland from the Financial Times in just a moment but first we've got to talk a short break. We'll have more with our panel.
We'll also have more on Sarah Palin. That's right. She is in the news again tonight. We'll tell you why ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on your country. And this country needs and values the talents of every American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Obama talking about personal responsibility tonight. He's often said that only in America is his story possible.
Over the next two nights CNN is going to be looking at the black experience in America, a two part special. "Black in America" is going to be airing tomorrow night starting at 8:00 p.m. And again on Thursday night, part two, at 8:00 p.m. as well. You'll want to stay up and watch that.
I want to come back to our panel right now. Chrystia Freeland the U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times; markets reacted quite strongly to fed chairman Bernanke's comments today. Accurate or not. Overly optimistic or incredibly vague. However you want to interpret them.
How do you think the market is going to interpret what the president said tonight?
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, U.S. MANAGING EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: I think Professor Stiglitz made a really important point earlier today. We should -- it's a real mistake for us to see the day-to-day market reaction as sort of a --
COOPER: As being reflective -- FREELAND: -- not just reflective but as being a report card on whether the economic policy is good.
COOPER: Why is that?
FREELAND: Because the markets are actually reacting on what's going to be good for particular stocks. And maybe, for example, an economic policy which rewards the shareholders of banks and, therefore, sends financial stocks up --
COOPER: Which is what happened today.
FREELAND: That could actually be a very bad signal for the economy overall because the right policy for the banks might be to wipe out the existing shareholders.
COOPER: So for the average viewer watching at home, they should not be looking at the Dow Jones Industrials every day going up or down as an indication of the success or failure of this plan?
STIGLITZ: Absolutely and in particular the financial stocks. Just to say what I said before, if you give the banks a lot of money, just throw it at them, the stock price will go up.
COOPER: Essentially what happened with the first half of the TARP money.
STIGLITZ: Yes. And the stock -- you know, if we had a stock of the U.S. government, would our -- your expectations of the risk you've undertaken, if we take it off of the banks' balance sheet, it's on our shoulders. So our stock went down when the stock of the financial industry goes up.
FREELAND: Having said that, Anderson, I think, you know, the question they're getting at is, is this plan going to be enough to restore broader confidence in the economy? Is what we heard tonight going to do that?
And I think, on the one hand the president deserves credit for not indulging in mindless cheerleading. He didn't just go out there and say rah, rah, rah, let's believe in America again. He was much more substantive.
But there's still one really big missing piece in the economic puzzle. That's a clear sense of what the government intends to do with the banks. The president made a strong case for saying credit is essential. But he didn't tell us how he is going to clear out those credit pipes.
COOPER: For that, apparently we have to wait for Tim Geithner to emerge from hiding, wherever he may be although he was there tonight.
FREELAND: He was there. He was there.
COOPER: In silence though. He didn't say anything. A lot of people were listening We had microphones trained in case he said anything that might give us some indication.
I think, Pamela, you talked about parallel universes between President Obama and the response of Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. I want to play for our viewers some side by side talk about the role -- both of these men's belief in the role of government in bailouts. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves. That says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LOUISIANA: Democratic leaders in Washington, they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people. In the end it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you think -- I mean, there weren't a lot of specifics. If you didn't believe there were specifics in President Obama's plan, there certainly weren't a lot of specifics in Governor Jindal's plan?
GENTRY: No. He basically says we believe in individuals and we believe if we help small businesses and give money to small businesses there'll be a trickle down. He basically went back to the same strategy that Republicans have talked about before. He just said we'll cut taxes and we'll make sure that small businesses can get -- get away, and we believe in you. It was very vague and very unclear.
I think the problem with that is that people who are unemployed, who've lost their jobs or who are looking to get a Pell grant, nowhere on the application does it say you're a Democrat or Republican first. They're going to have to come up with solutions that have a little bit broader appeal.
STIGLITZ: And he didn't turn down the money from the federal government to help Louisiana recover.
COOPER: He said he would turn down part of it.
STIGLITZ: Still, the fact is, and the problem was, we didn't invest in those levees. That was the federal government.
COOPER: -- declared that he can just pick and choose what he wants to accept and what's not. Senator Schumer saying that's not --
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The most important player tonight was the person jumping up and down like a high school cheer leader behind the president, Speaker Pelosi. She's the one that basically has to take a very innovative, extensive legislative package and get her own Democrats to vote for it. What Republicans do for the foreseeable future is not going to be relevant. What she does in controlling her own party is going to be very, very important to the president.
FREELAND: In that respect, the fact that the president did say I will have to come back to you for more money for the banking system was an important moment.
GENTRY: Louisiana is losing like 450,000 jobs. They've lost the whole city. They're still losing jobs.
COOPER: We have to take a break. We'll have more from our panel ahead.
We'll also talk to Erica Hill to find out what else is happening today. Let's check in with her with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, Senator Roland Burris refusing to resign despite urging from fellow Illinois Senator, Dick Durbin. Senator Burris now admits he tried to raise money for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich who appointed him to the senate. Burris though insists he's done nothing wrong.
A "360 Follow:" Alaska governor, Sarah Palin will reimburse the state nearly $7,000 for nine trips taken by her children. You may recall the uproar over hose trips during the presidential race. State investigators found there was no wrong doing on the part of the governor. But said the state should only pay for family travel if it is on official business.
On Capitol Hill the man America has embraced is the hero pilot for his successful landing on the Hudson River; warning today the country's airlines risk losing experienced pilots because of pay cuts. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger telling a panel today his salary has been slashed by 40 percent and that he no longer has a pension. The former Air Force pilot has been flying with US Airways for nearly three decades.
TV watching, it turns out, at an all time high, according to a new Nielsen report, the average American now watches more than 150 hours of TV a month which is about five hours a day. And I hope all five hours are right here on CNN.
COOPER: Hey. Best news I've heard all year.
HILL: We love that. Look, it's cheap entertainment, too, right?
COOPER: Thank you, America. That's a good study. We should have more of those kind of studies. Erica thanks.
Coming up next on "360," promises from the president. Mr. Obama's address to Congress unedited; we'll bring you more of the speech in his own words. That's ahead.
Also, tonight's online opinion: more surprising results from our Facebook pulse take. The question -- are you concerned your children will have it worse than you do? Some interesting answers ahead, next.
COOPER: President Obama's address to Congress is over. But here at home and around the world, millions are still talking about it. Many are sharing their thoughts on Facebook. Tonight we're tapping into that huge online community to get their take, your take on what everyone heard.
CNN is working with Facebook to bring your answers to our questions. It's something new that we're trying tonight. Erica Hill has the latest results. She joins us with the Facebook polls -- Erica.
HILL: Yes, Anderson. Our partnership between CNN and Facebook was so successful for the inauguration, we thought we'd bring it back tonight for this address. All day long, to the hundreds of thousands of people who said they would be taking part in watching on CNN and also updating what they thought about on Facebook, we've been asking questions. We call this a Facebook pulse.
You may have gotten one. We're asking you questions like whether or not the president tonight addressed the issues that were most important to you. Sixty percent of those answering the poll said, yes, he did. What are some of those issues? For many people, children and the future they will be leaving their children is a key issue especially in this economy.
We asked, are you concerned your children will have it worse than you do? If you look at the numbers here, 59 percent said absolutely. I am worried that my kids will be worse off. What's interesting with this number too is when you break it down by sex, you'll notice here that women are a little bit more concerned about -- I believe that's the way it broke out -- Were a little bit more concerned that their kids would be worse off than men were when they answered this question. So children obviously a big concern.
Plus we've been talking so much about housing. Ever since we started to learn a little bit more about the president's housing plan, we wanted to know, when looking at the plan, and I think we should have this question up there, when you look at the foreclosure, when you're looking at the plan for foreclosures -- if we can advance to that one -- the question was whether or not when you look at the plan you think the foreclosure pretty much leaves things as they are or whether it rewards irresponsible behavior.
The numbers for that were really interesting. As we see here, 45 percent of respondents say they feel that the president's foreclosure plan does reward irresponsibility behavior. When you break it down by sex, the numbers are pretty much equal. What's interesting is when you break it down by age, when we take a look at these numbers, when people respond, obviously you're going to see a gray circle here, by the way, for the next couple questions -- 13 to 17-year-olds not really homeowners so not participating in these questions.
If you look at some of the older respondents, over here in the 35 to 49 category, that's the yellow circle you see right there, 57 percent say, yes, this does reward irresponsible behavior. Look at 18 to 24. Just over one-third of them make that same statement. Interesting to see the difference there in ages in how they respond to that question.
We also asked about the value of your home. Is your home worth more or less now than when you paid for it? This actually gave us some good news. Pretty much overall I believe it was just about 60 percent, 66 percent -- here we go. Two-thirds of respondents say my house is worth more. That's exactly what you want to hear because everything else seems a little bit more doom and gloom.
Basically the same when we break it down by sex. This is another one that's kind of interesting when you look at it by age. Again, when you see a gray circle pop up, 13 to 17-year-olds, they're not really figuring into this equation. If you look at it, this is pretty much what you would expect. 73 percent of 35- to 49-year-olds, we would hope their homes would be worth more because they probably owned them longer. The group that has the smallest number, for more there, 59 percent 25 to 34, and Anderson, those are people who probably bought their homes most recently. They may have seen a less increase in value.
We're also going to talk coming up about jobs and what people heard tonight or didn't hear tonight about jobs. How they're feeling about that situation.
COOPER: Erica, looking to your blank pie there of 13 to 17-year olds, the way some of these fraudulent mortgages were handed out, I think there were some 13-year-olds who got mortgages.
HILL: There probably were more than we realized, yes.
COOPER: I think it wouldn't surprise me to find that out.
President Obama vowed to unite the country tonight, saying we have to pull together to confront the economic crisis. We're showing you some of the most important parts from the speech tonight. Here's a little bit more from the president in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: My budget does not attempt to 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.
But that does not mean we can afford to ignore our long-term challenges. I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves. That says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.
For history tells a different story. History reminds us that every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas. In the midst of civil war we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry. From the turmoil of the industrial revolution came a system of public high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age.
In the wake of war and oppression, the GI bill sent a generation to college and created the largest middle class in history. And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an America on the moon and explosion of technology that still shapes our world.
In each case, government didn't supplant private enterprise. It catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.
We are a nation that has seen promise amid peril, and claimed opportunity from ordeal. Now we must be that nation again. That is why, even as it cuts back on programs we don't need, the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future -- energy, health care, and education.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Up next on "360." hits and misses from the president's speech. We're also back with our panel digging deeper on Mr. Obama's address and what he needs to do in the days ahead.
COOPER: We'll have more with our panel shortly. But "Larry King Live"" is coming up in about seven minutes from now. Let's check in with Larry for a preview of what's at the top of the hour -- Larry.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Thanks, Anderson.
Senator John McCain is here with his reaction to the president's speech. The DC's mayor Adrian Fenty and the Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, former NBA star will join us.
We'll tell you what it all means, too, for you and your money. We have personal finance experts on the show. You can get your questions ready and we'll answer them. It's a special edition of "Larry King Live" coming up -- Anderson.
COOPER: Sounds good. Larry King. Thanks very much, Larry.
We have a few more minutes with our panel. Let's just get some final thoughts of the evening.
Chrystia Freeland, U.S. managing editor of the "Financial Times;" we heard the president say energy, health care, education, critical to our economic future. A lot of people say these are important but are they critical?
FREELAND: Yes, I think they absolutely are critical. What I thought was interesting about the speech was it seemed to me that the president spoke with more passion and conviction about the medium term and the long term than he did about the short term. In some ways it's great. He clearly is a president who has a plan.
What he was saying today was very consistent with what he said during the campaign. These are the things he was elected to do.
My biggest concern is actually about the first part of the speech. And the part that I worry about was is he sufficiently worried about how deep the crisis is now? Because if the financial crisis can't be solved and we knock on the economic crisis, that is the recession, if the economy doesn't start moving again, then health care, education, and energy projects aren't going to happen.
COOPER: Professor, do you think he is -- is he worried enough?
STIGLITZ: I think he hasn't articulated a worry, a very difficult position. I'm sure he's very sensitive. If he sounds too worried, he has the effect of depressing confidence. If he sounds not worried enough, then the people say where is he?
He's trying to play that middle road. But I think the real question is not whether he articulates whether he's worried or not, what is he doing? And that's where I get very concerned.
The nature, the significance of the foreclosure, I don't think, is enough. The size and the program with the bank is not well thought through. And what we've got through on the -- on the stimulus was not big enough and not well enough designed to get us over the problems. He said he is going to come back; I'm afraid that that's going to be the case.
COOPER: Sounds like sooner rather than later.
To Ed Rollins, he also talked tonight about increasing the number of soldiers and marines in the Armed Forces --
ROLLINS: Which I think is very important. I applaud that and give them the benefits. That's very expensive, though. If you talk about cutting the defense budget by 10 percent and getting rid of World War II and ancient weapons. He's got to move very quickly, a lot of that has been done.
The other thing that he basically talks in terms of this is cutting out big subsidies to agriculture. That's one of the strongest things. That's a tough political issue. And getting the stimulus money out there to spend, it's going to be difficult. Environmental laws and all the rest of it.
COOPER: You have about 30 seconds for us Pamela Gentry. Did he do what he needs to do tonight?
GENTRY: Yes, I think he did. He talked about personal responsibility and he directed it at himself, at Congress, and at the American people. It was a message that will resound with everyone.
COOPER: Appreciate all you panelist staying up with us. Thank you very much.
Our coverage continues, though. We're going to take a short break.
Also a special edition of "Larry King Live" starts at the midnight hour here on the East Coast; seen all around the country and all around the world.
Our coverage will be right back.
COOPER: It has been an important night for President Barack Obama; His first address to a joint session of Congress. It's going to be an important week for the president. We're anticipating tomorrow on troop withdrawals from Iraq, perhaps some surprises there.
Also some budget numbers will be released later on this week. There's going to be a lot in our coverage on "AC360" every night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Thanks very much for watching us.
Right now, now let's turn things over to Larry King.