President-elect Barack Obama indicated Tuesday that his friends in Chicago and Springfield shouldn't expect special treatment for their debt-ridden governments. Obama made the remark while taking questions after his news conference announcing Peter Orszag as his budget director-designate.
After Obama said, "Where's Andy Shaw? We're going local here," ABC 7's Shaw asked the President-elect how his stimulus plan would benefit local governments and made specific reference to the street addresses of Chicago City Hall and the Springfield statehouse. "Hundreds of your friends are wondering what you're going to do because they're in desperate straights from the standpoints of their budgets," Shaw said.
After emphasizing the role local governments will have in his economic recovery plans, Obama quickly rebutted the political implications of Shaw's question:
"Part of the charge [of the budget team] is to make sure that we are proceeding on projects and investments based on national priorities and not based on politics. Now you mentioned, sort of, my friends. I want to be clear friendship doesn't come into this. That's part of the old way of doing business.
"The new way of doing business is, let's figure out what projects, what investments are going to give the American economy the most bang for the buck. How can we protect taxpayer dollars so this money is not wasted; restore a sense of confidence among taxpayers that when we spend their money, it's on things that are actually gonna improve their quality of life; create the jobs that are so desperately needed; help to spur on economic growth and business creation in the private sector? That's all part of the new way of doing business."
Watch the exchange:
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