Obama began his press conference by acknowledging the new and rising unemployment rates. (SJ, what struck you about Obama's comments?) The fact he led off with the job losses is significant. (Politically that's what a lot of Americans needed to hear but economically is that what he needed to tackle first?) SJ: He needs to be honest with people, there's been too much dancing around the truth lately. He did emphasize that Bush is still president until January so there's only so much he can do until then. (What do the job losses mean for people outside this country?) SJ: It means the U.S. economy is slowing down and it's harder to sell goods to the U.S. we're probably in a global recession already. (Some of the people Obama has been meeting with, they're familiar characters and what does this tell us about Obama's direction?) SJ: it's a tough moment because he wants to emphasize change but he also has to work with people who are experienced and who have really worked in the top levels of corporations and know what's going on. So all the people you mentioned are experience but that also means less new. (Here was a question about the letter of congratulations from Iran's President and Obama responded by saying Iran building a nuclear weapon and supporting terrorists is not acceptable. He also said how we deal with Iran is something that needs to be thought through. Will Obama's comments on Iran send the right message to the rest of the world?) MT: I think so. I think as the president-elect he's showing he's taking his time and wants to make the right decisions. With Iran, the sense is he's going to take the opportunity to use and deploy diplomacy. The President of Iran is showing the same signs. (MT, make the link for us from the economic meltdown and what the White House wants to do overseas.) I think the other place that should be put on the map is Pakistan, which is related to Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama has said he's concerned about human rights and violations of criminal law, so he's mentioning Darfur and Congo. I think those issues might have to sit on the shelves while he deals with the economy and Afghanistan and Iraq. (What would you tell Obama about foreign policy?) I would tell him that we need to resolve Iraq and get out, and it seems he'll be in a good position to do that because the government in Iraq wants the same.