He’s not starting out using ‘war on terror’ rhetoric:
‘Here in America we compete vigorously in elections and challenge each other’s ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done.’
He cast America’s economic woes in a grim light. ‘Tens of millions of families are struggling to figure out how to pay the bills and stay in their homes,’ he said. Simple figures bear that out, especially after new figures on Friday showed that the economy had lost 240,000 jobs in October. That was the 10 successive month of losses and America has now shed 1.2 million jobs so far this year.
The tone of Obama’s words provided a contrast with Bush. Though he repeated a vow to help Obama in establishing a smooth transition, he also addressed the issue of foreign policy, using a familiar line about the threat from Islamic extremists. ‘This will also be America’s first wartime presidential transition in four decades. We’re in a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us – and they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people,’ Bush said.
Despite pressure from the Polish president, he’s not committing to proceeding with America’s missile defence shield, which has so angered Russia:
US President-elect Barack Obama has not given a commitment to go ahead with plans to build part of a US missile defence system in Poland, an aide says.
He was speaking after Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s office said a pledge had been made during a phone conversation between the two men.
But Mr Obama’s foreign policy adviser, Denis McDonough, denied this.
Two small, yet highly significant and welcome starts. I know very well that both positions might change, but the signal which is being sent at this stage I think is important. I can’t help but wonder if there was a misunderstanding with the Polish president, or if he was trying to blackmail Obama into a position he didn’t want, particularly following Russian President Medvedev’s confirmation in his aggressive State of the Union that he would deploy missiles on the border with NATO to counter the missile shield. Given how stupid the missile defence shield is, I hope that circumstances will allow for the project’s dismantling – I’d hate to see it become a self-fulfilling prophecy.