Alexander to Secretary Geithner: “President Obama Needs to Say ‘I Will Fix The Banks’”

Tells Treasury Secretary That Administration Needs to Restore Confidence and Focus On The Problem: Banking

Posted on March 12, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that President Obama needs to regain the confidence of the American people and focus his administration on the mission of fixing the banks and restoring credit markets. “President Obama needs to borrow a lesson from President Eisenhower and simply say, ‘I will fix the banks. I will get credit flowing again. And I will make everything else second and subordinate until that job is honorably done,’” Alexander told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee. “Eisenhower focused on one job – he said, ‘I shall go to Korea.’ And he left for Korea on November 29, 1952, shortly after his election. Part of the president’s job is to see the strategy and let the country know about it. The American people haven’t been persuaded yet, and until the administration persuades us, confidence won’t come back.” In his now-famous “I Shall Go to Korea” speech on October 25, 1952, President Dwight D. Eisenhower promised to direct all his administration’s energies toward ending the Korean War, which he did. Alexander urged President Obama to take an equally focused approach to solving the banking crisis. “I believe that the American people are persuaded that our new president is impressive and intelligent,” Alexander said. “I’m convinced that he can do many things at once and do many things well, but I am also convinced he doesn’t need to scare the American people anymore. They are scared enough in Tennessee about what’s going on. He doesn’t need to explain the problem with banking and credit anymore; he needs to convince us that he is going to fix it.” In a speech on the Senate floor following the hearing, Alexander also called for the Obama Administration to reassure the American people.