Obama pledges to tackle US economy

President-elect makes first public appearance since his victory in US elections.

    Obama, far right, has been holding talks with his economic advisory team [EPA]

    Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds says that the meeting and news conference are aimed at showing the president elect is "on the case" over the financial crisis.

    '"This way he aims to show he can have the effect of calming people down and increasing confidence that he can help people get out of this economic mess," he says.

    The meetings comes amid continuing speculation over appointments in Obama's new administration, including the likelihood of David Axelrod, the chief strategist of his election campaign team, becoming his senior adviser.

    On Thursday Rahm Emanuel, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, accepted Obama's offer to become White House chief-of-staff.

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    Obama and the vice-president elect, Joe Biden, held talks with 17 members of their transition economic advisory board -  including former White House officials and high-ranking executives from companies such as Time Warner, Google and the Hyatt hotel company.

    Warren Buffett, the renowned billionaire investor, also reportedly participated via telephone.

    "Throughout his campaign the president-elect has been talking about what we need to do,"  Larry Summers, a treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, the former US president, and one of the members of the advisory board, told NBC news.

    "We need to put the middle class at the centre of the policy approach in a way that it hasn't been these last years.''

    The latest evidence emerged of the US slumping into recession on Friday as the US government reported that the unemployment rate had risen from 6.1 per cent in September to 6.5 per cent in October.

    Exit polls conducted with voters after the US election showed that the economy was paramount in voter concerns.

    Assembling cabinet

    Obama has been meeting privately with his transition team since winning the presidential election, in addition to recieving intelligence briefings and congratulatory calls from world leaders and, most crucially, deciding appointments in his future administration.

    In addition to Emanuel's appointment and reports of Axelrod's move, there are also reports that Obama was set to appoint Robert Gibbs, a former spokesman for John Kerry, the prior Democratic presidential candidate as the White House press secretary.

    Several members of Bill Clinton's administration are also being mentioned as possible Obama cabinet members, including the head of Obama's transitional team, John Podesta, a former senior aide to Clinton.

    After Friday's meetings, Obama and his wife, Michelle, are scheduled to visit the White House on Monday at the invitation of George Bush, the US president.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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