The reporters, gathered at on Jan 11, at a Sunday afternoon panel at the New York Times Center in New York City, largely concurred with the assessment that turning around the economy now trumps the issues Obama focused on from the stump until the market meltdown in August.
It was suggested Obama would tackle smaller-scale issues related to his major agenda items as a kind of political 'down payment' on his promises, but for now, would retreat from even some of his firmest pledges. One of the reporters said: “You"re not going to see universal health care, I don"t think, this year. You"re not going to see a cap on carbon emissions, as he has promised, probably, this year."
And for all of his campaign trail talk about collective sacrifice, Obama has seemed reluctant to call for austerity in a challenging economic moment, the NYT claimed. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who has covered the Bush administration for the Times, suggested Obama would use his inauguration, which takes place in eight days, as an opportunity to ask for patience from an uneasy public.
Ironically, the White House team said, Obama may have found an unexpected cheering section in the form of the Bush administration. Outgoing White House officials who recognize the current president"s unpopularity are hoping the president-elect will be able to carry out parts of the Bush team"s policy vision, particularly with respect to Iraq, that are currently incomplete.
“They think that Obama is not going to change things as dramatically" as people think," one of the panelists said.