March 24 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will hold a prime-time news conference on Tuesday to explain his economic strategy to a recession-weary public angry over executive bonuses and concerned about the government’s direction.
Here are a few issues he will likely address:
TOXIC DEBT PLAN
The Obama administration hopes to persuade private investors to buy up to $1 trillion in soured bank assets that are blocking lending and exacerbating the recession, but questions remain about how the assets should be priced.
FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM
Obama aims to overhaul financial regulations to improve monitoring and managing financial risk and establish a clear process for unwinding troubled non-bank financial firms. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to announce details on Thursday.
Congress is moving to apply punitive taxes to employees of troubled insurer AIG who received $165 million in bonus pay after the company received billions in government bailout money. Obama has said he is angered by the bonuses, but questions remain about why his administration did not do more to prevent them from being paid out in the first place.
AUTO INDUSTRY RESCUE
A White House task force is trying to overhaul the troubled auto industry, but General Motors bondholders have resisted efforts to reduce the company’s debt before a deadline at the end of the month.
Opinion polls show Obama’s approval rating dropping as public anger mounts over the bank bailout. How concerned is he about his declining support?
Geithner is under fire for his handling of the economic crisis and the AIG bonuses. Obama has said several times that he has complete confidence in Geithner, who is still working with a skeleton staff.
SELLING THE BUDGET
Obama is facing resistance in Congress to his massive $3.55 trillion budget plan from Republicans and some Democrats who say it is too costly. Last weekend, he enlisted his network of grass-roots volunteers to build public support and pressure wavering lawmakers.
Obama has admitted the United States and its allies are not winning the war in Afghanistan and has ordered a strategy review that will include an exit plan and a greater emphasis on economic development.
At an April 2 meeting in London, Obama and other leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies will discuss how to coordinate their fiscal and monetary firepower to combat the worst global recession since the 1930s, as well as ways to regulate the financial industry.
Obama has made several overtures to Iran, in a sharp departure from the confrontational approach taken by former President George W. Bush. Iranian leaders have cautiously welcomed the Obama administration, but have said they are waiting for “practical steps,” not just talk. (Compiled by Andy Sullivan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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