Obama: Second Depression ‘no longer a possibility’ thanks to stimulus

Jon Ward Contributor
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President Obama on Wednesday took a new tack in claiming credit for preventing a second Great Depression, arguing that the $787 billion stimulus passed a year ago has made such an event “no longer a possibility.”

Obama has for the last month spoken about his efforts in a way that could be construed as taking credit for the $787 billion bank bailout, which passed under President George W. Bush. The Daily Caller reported Tuesday on the pattern of Obama’s rhetoric over the past month.

On Wednesday, Obama added some flourishes to what has become a regular part of every speech when he talks about the economy. Instead of inferring that he stopped the economy from crashing in the fall of 2008, the president linked the stimulus, which was his first signature piece of legislation, to preventing a future depression.

The president said that when he entered office a year ago, economists were warning that “if dramatic action was not taken to break the back of the recession, the United States could spiral into another depression.”

“We acted because failure to do so would have led to catastrophe,” Obama said when explaining the decision to pass the stimulus.

The catastrophe in question, however, has generally been understood to mean what everybody feared in 2008: a complete meltdown of the financial system. In the context of Obama’s comments on Wednesday, however, it appears he is talking about preventing a catastrophic crisis down the road.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the changes in language.

Here is the Daily Caller story from Tuesday. And here is a comparison of the full text of Obama’s comments on Wednesday to his past statements.