The Scene is the East Room of the White House. President Obama is holding a news conference.
Reporter: Mr. President, despite nearly a trillion dollars in stimulus and other measures, the economy continues to perform poorly. Have your policies failed?
Obama: Not at all. My policies have succeeded. We’re moving in the right direction. Except for the unemployment rate. That’s moving in the wrong direction.
But, let me be clear, this is all Bush’s fault, and it continues to be. And it will be. Everyone knows Bush is responsible for the economic crisis, as well as the U.S. loss to Ghana in the World Cup this summer.
In fact, the hole Bush dug us is so deep, I think I’m going to need a third term to get us out of it. I mean, he practically dug all the way to China. And when I was a senator, I said, “Hey, dummy, stop digging the hole!” And he just kept right on doing it.
And by the way, let me take this opportunity to announce some further stimulus. This one will work, because it’s about people and the middle class. I’m asking Congress for $50 billion to build sidewalks. That’s right, we built all these roads with the first stimulus but we forgot to build the sidewalks. And now we’re going to build sidewalks, and the little Walk/Dont Walk signs that make tweeting sounds.
Reporter: There has been great controversy over a Mosque that may be built two blocks from Ground Zero. People are confused about your opinion. Can you clarify what you think?
Obama: Yes. Ever since Bush announced plans to put a Mosque near Ground Zero, I’ve been leading and working hard on the issue. In fact, I’ve been working so hard on the issue that I’ve been on both sides of it. So I’ve seen it from different angles.
I have to say, putting a mosque at Ground Zero is an outrage. It’s also a pretty damn good idea. And that’s the way I see it.
And by the way, has anyone ever thought of building the mosque, but putting a church on the third floor? And maybe the gay bar could go on the second floor. See what I mean? We have to think these things through.
Reporter: Iran seems to be ignoring your sanctions and continuing with its effort to produce nuclear weapons. What else can you do to stop them?
Obama: I think this is another issue on which we have to be creative. Much goes on behind the scenes. Some of our latest steps directly target President Ahmadinejad. For example, we’ve taken away all his toys, and we’ve scheduled his bedtime for one hour earlier. We’re in the process of adding three extra syllables to his name, so no one will be able talk to him.
We’re also acting to undermine the Iranian nuclear program. Starting next week, any Iranian nuclear scientist who leaves Iran gets double frequent flier miles. And some of our inspectors who travel to Iran are actually spies. The Iranians have no idea.
And of course, we have our fail-safe plan, which is to let the Israelis bomb the place and then shriek about what a horrible thing they’ve done.
Reporter: Mr. President, some are alleging that while the American people are suffering economically, you and your family are living the high life, with Mrs. Obama traveling to a fancy resort in Spain, you playing golf every weekend, and the two of you feasting on lobsters. Are you overdoing it?
Obama: Let me just take these in order. First of all, Mrs. Obama has a very stressful job trying to wipe out fat kids. I mean, trying to wipe out their fat. Have you seen how many of them there are? So, yes, she needed to go to the spa in that particular hotel to get rested up.
As for my golf, I would remind you that I don’t use a caddy. I carry my own clubs, choose the one I’m going to use without consulting anyone. I wipe my own balls. Well, you know what I mean.
And each and every lobster I’ve eaten since becoming president has been fully paid for. Yes, we’ve had to make some cuts in Medicare and close some corporate loopholes, but the lobsters haven’t cost the taxpayers a penny.
Thank you.- Keith Koffler, Veteran White House Reporter