The Plank

Selling The Bank Bailout

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Obama on the bank bailout:

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. ... The concern is that if we do not re-start lending in this country, our recovery will be choked off before it even begins. ...

while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade. That would be worse for our deficit, worse for business, worse for you, and worse for the next generation.  And I refuse to let that happen.      

Of all the things he'll say tonight, this is one of the toughest sells. Polls show people like Obama, but they remain pretty skeptical about bailing out the banks. As this issue moves forward, it will be fascinating to see whether Obama can use his popularity to move opinion on this issue--or whether opinion on this issue starts to affect his popularity.

Obviously, getting in a few digs at bank executives and their private jets doesn't hurt... 

Note: It won't be any easier selling an auto industry bailout, whatever form it should take. Look for mention of that soon... 

--Jonathan Cohn 

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