Obama to Meet With Bernanke
As part of a week-long shift back to economic issues, Barack Obama will meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday, his campaign confirmed.
The two are expected to discuss the current credit crisis and Sen. Obama's plans to enforce tougher oversight of financial institutions if elected president. The likely Democratic nominee is also scheduled to speak to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson by phone Tuesday, campaign officials said.
Barack Obama after a meeting with some of his top economic advisers in Washington Monday. He said that ballooning debt 'was not an accident or a normal part of the business cycle that led us to this situation. There were some irresponsible decisions that were made on Wall Street and in Washington.'
The meetings come as Sen. Obama tries to pivot back to economic issues after returning from a 10-day foreign trip that sparked Republican criticism over his foreign policy credentials.
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is also focused on domestic issues. On Monday he held a town-hall style meeting to argue in favor of lifting the ban on offshore drilling as a way to reduce high gas prices and give the ailing economy a boost.
Sen. John McCain says to reduce gas prices and improve the economy, the U.S. must open up offshore drilling. Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama suggests another stimulus package to jump-start the economy.
Mr. Bernanke frequently holds private meetings with lawmakers to discuss the economy. But the Tuesday meeting marks the first time he has met with Sen. Obama since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June.
On Monday, the Illinois senator convened a panel of top economic advisers and business leaders at a Washington hotel. The group included former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, also a member of the panel, said the group didn't go into a detailed discussion about reducing the nearly half-a-trillion deficit, but that Sen. Obama "made clear his opposition to a number of the steps that have been taken over the last eight years both on the tax and spending side that have had the affect of loading the budget deficit."
Sen. Obama has been generally supportive of the Republican-appointed Mr. Bernanke. "I think that Chairman Bernanke was handed a pretty tough hand and I think some of the decisions he's made have been the right ones," Sen. Obama told Reuters on Sunday.
He told the newswire service that he didn't second-guess the central bank's decision to expand its role in the financial system in order to offer assistance to troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"The Fed is just one actor among many who have enormous influence on the U.S. economy or for that matter the global economy," Sen. Obama said.
Mr. Bernanke's term as Fed chairman ends in January 2010 and as president, Sen. Obama or rival Sen. McCain, must decide whether to nominate him for another term.
Sen. Obama also planned to meet Tuesday with Pakistan's new leader, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, according to the campaign. President Bush met with Mr. Gilani Monday.
U.S.-Pakistan relations have been strained by the war in Afghanistan and questions about the whereabouts of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who some believe may be hiding along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The U.S. has been pressuring Pakistan to take action against strongholds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters believed to be in that nation's frontier.
Sen. Obama has called for increasing U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan and has said that as president he would take unilateral action if Mr. bin Laden were found to be in Pakistan, a statement that angered Pakistanis when Sen. Obama first made it last year.
Sen. Obama made the point again earlier this month, saying "if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights."
Obama to Meet With Bernanke - WSJ.com