Obama supports U.S. economic recovery efforts

WASHINGTON Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:04pm EDT

1 of 2. Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama greets supporters during a rally at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida September 19, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said on Friday he supported efforts by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve to shore up confidence in the financial markets and said he would hold off from presenting his own economic recovery plan.

"The events of the last few days have made it clear that we must take further bold and decisive action to shore up confidence in our financial markets and avoid a deepening economic crisis that could jeopardize the life savings and well-being of millions of Americans," Obama said in a statement.

Obama said he supported efforts by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to work with the Congressional leadership to find a solution to the deepening crisis.

As Wall Street grapples with the worst crisis since the Great Depression, the financial turmoil has become the top theme on the campaign trail where Obama is locked in a tight race with his Republican rival John McCain.

The Illinois senator said he would be discussing the Fed-Treasury proposal with his top economic advisers on Friday morning. Among those who have been advising Obama on his response to the financial crisis are former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former U.S. Treasury secretaries Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin.

"Given the gravity of this situation, and based on conversations I have had with both Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, I have asked my economic team to refrain from presenting a more detailed blue-print of how an immediate plan might be structured until the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have had an opportunity to present their proposal."

Obama said it was critical that the markets and public have confidence in the Fed and Treasury's efforts and that their work be "unimpeded by partisan wrangling."

On Thursday Obama urged the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to take emergency steps to keep credit flowing to the troubled housing market, saying it would help stem the crisis sweeping financial markets.

In his statement on Friday, Obama said the government needed to also take action to create jobs and help support distressed homeowners and communities.

He also said any taxpayer-funded support plan by the U.S. government needed to have a long-term goal of creating a stable financial market and a growing economy.

"This plan must be temporary and coupled with tough new oversight and regulations of our financial institutions," he said. "There must be a clear process to wind down this plan and restore private sector assets into private sector hands after restoring stability to the system."

Obama also urged that the plan be part of a globally coordinated effort.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles, editing by Philip Barbara)

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