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A Political Start to Pres. Obama Economic Town Hall

Obama_9.20.jpgCNBC’s “Investing in America” town hall meeting with Pres. Obama got off to a decidedly political start. The event, being held at Washington D.C.’s Newseum in front of an audience — as described by CNBC’s John Harwood — of “CEOs, union workers, teachers and students, small business owners, people who don’t have a job.”

Harwood’s first question was about how Obama’s policies are being perceived differently, depending on whom you ask:

Harwood: “Many leaders in business think you and your policies are hostile to them. And many ordinary Americans think your policies are helping Wall Street and big business. How’d that happen?

Well, first of all, even though economists may say that the recession officially ended last year, obviously for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, it’s still very real for them. And I think we have to go back to what was happening when I was first sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. We went through the worst recession since the great depression. Nothing’s come close. In fact, if you look at the consequences of the recession in the ’80s, the recession in the ’90s and the recession in 2001, you combine all three, it still wasn’t as bad as this recession that we went through. So the month I was sworn in, we lost 750,000 jobs. The month after that, 600,000. The month after that, 600,000. This is before any of our plans has a chance to take effect.

The event will run until 1pmET and will re-air on MSNBC from 3-4pmET.

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