THE BLOG
01/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama: 'We Understand that the Facts Demand Bold Action'

Obama just got done officially announcing his energy and environment team. A few things that jumped out at me:

Not for nothing: the guy's a rhetorical Jedi.

Unless I'm mistaken, the term "clean coal" was not uttered once.

Of Steven Chu, he said: "His appointment should send a signal to all that my Administration will value science, we will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action."

In Q&A, in answer to a question about California's tailpipe standards waiver, Obama made a "key point" that he intends to make "again and again: There is not a contradiction between economic growth and sound environmental practices." Building a new energy economy by upgrading the grid and making buildings more efficient is a "twofer" -- it boosts short-term economic growth and lays a "path to long-term sustainable growth." (He did not answer directly when California might get its waiver.)

Also in Q&A, he stressed that his "21st century investments" will create jobs "that would not otherwise have been created," kickstarting city and state investments that have been put on hold. They aren't intended as a full solution, however, but a means to "jumpstart an era of innovation" in the private sector.

Introducing Carol Browner, he said, "the scope of the effort before us will demand coordination across the government, and my personal engagement as President." How can Americans measure his success and hold him accountable? "By whether I create these jobs," he said.

He concluded:

Looking ahead, I am confident that we will be ready to begin the journey towards a new energy frontier on January 20th. This will be a leading priority of my presidency, and a defining test of our time. We cannot afford complacency, nor accept any more broken promises. We won't create a new energy economy and protect our environment overnight, but we can begin that work right now if we think anew, and act anew. Now, we must have the will to act, and to act boldly.

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