President Obama, Kristen Discuss Economics, Loans, NBA - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

President Obama, Kristen Discuss Economics, Loans, NBA

Posted: Updated:

President Barack Obama unveiled an economic plan for rural America Monday. The plan includes increasing agricultural exports and promoting clean energy resources. The president spoke to local television reporters, including Kristen Remington, about the plan.

The president told Remington that Congress needs to pass legislation to keep student loan interest rates down. He also said his administration is bringing the country out of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but more time is needed for the economy to fully recover.

President Obama also talked sports with Remington. When asked about the NBA Finals, the president wouldn't pick a winner, but he said he is looking forward to the series.

------

I interviewed President Obama in the Cabinet Room in the West Wing. It was a quick interview - just 4 minutes - staffers literally had stop watches.

We started our discussion with more on the rural economic report which says $400-million has been pumped into rural America. So today, I efforted to find out what that means for Nevada.

--

For starters, Mr. President, thank you for your time. You unveiled your economic plan for rural Americans and rural Nevadans.

Small business is a big issue in Nevada. I spoke with some ranchers and farmers in Gardnerville, Nevada after reviewing your report. And their concern is more government money coming in could perhaps mean more government regulations. They want to know are there strings attached?

"No, actually the great thing about what we're seeing is progress in rural America... based primarily on drastically increased exports in other countries. And one of my main missions is to open up markets that have been closed to outstanding American agriculture products. The small business initiative really says at a local level, the SBA partners with private industry to come up with an investment pool to go into small businesses... taxpayers - this doesn't cost them a thing - cause usually these investments end up making money. But it gives the opportunity for small businesses to get access to financing at favorable rates they normally wouldn't have gotten and that's going to be able to create jobs."

President Obama went on to say another $2 billion is slated to be pumped into rural America in the next five years. Of course, it will take much more than this policy to pull Nevada out of our economic troubles - as our housing market is slow to recover.

"Let's talk about interest rates. At an all time low -- averaging 3.67% for a 30-year-fixed mortgage. You saw the Kellers a couple weeks ago."

"Yes, it was a great visit."

"A great visit, glad to hear that. Unlike the Kellers though, a lot of people don't have access to your government-backed loans or they cannot refinance. They say the banks are not working with us. What is your administration doing to ensure that all responsible homeowners have access to these rates?"

"We have a very specific proposal. All that needs to happen is that Congress needs to pass it. At a relatively modest cost, Congress could make sure every single American who's homes are underwater that they could refinance and take advantage of these historically low rates. And like the family I met in Reno, the Kellers, they can be saving $3,000 a year on their mortgage. Ultimately this could be good for the housing market, but it's also good for all businesses because consumers have $3,000 left in their pockets."

Nevada is also combating the worst unemployment numbers in the country at 11.7% well above the national average of 8.2% - numbers that don't bode well for young job seekers.

"You grew much support from young voters in Nevada and also voters who cited the economy as their top concern in 2008. If you fast forward four years, half of our college graduates (new grads) are coming into the work world either underemployed or unemployed. How do you win those voters back and how do you win Nevada in 2012?"

"Well look, we've gone through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We've made significant progress. People obviously recognize we need to make more and young voters, in particular, are out there struggling. A couple things we need to do is make sure they're not bogged down with too much debt - that's why we're asking Congress to ensure that their student loan rates don't get doubled and we've got to continue to expand more opportunities like in Rural Nevada so there are more jobs created and these young people have more opportunity. But we're making steady progress and ultimately, this reelection is going to be a choice between an administration that says we're all in this together and a vision that says everybody is looking out for themselves."

Quickly, who is going to win the NBA final?

"You know, both teams look terrific and I am looking forward to a good series. Hopefully it will go to seven games. But I can't make a prediction right now, they both look pretty tough."

Kristen was one of eight reporters nationwide picked to attend the 'Live at the White House' day.

Other participating cities include:

  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Sioux City, Iowa
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Fresno

----

We hear President Obama saying Congress has to act frequently these days, so tune in Tuesday at 5pm... I'll sit down with Republican Senator Dean Heller for reaction.

After interviewing President Obama, I attended the daily, White House briefing with the White House Press Corps. Surprisingly, Press Secretary Jay Carney called my name to ask a question about the rural economic report.

KRISTEN: (OFF CAMERA) I'm so happy to be here, hi everyone!

*laughter*

ON CAMERA:

"You know, Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 11.7 percent; highest foreclosure; highest loss of income. We're here, obviously, to learn more about the rural economic report as well. How soon do you think that funding will get to small- business owners? And will it really make a difference pulling America out of the recession?"

JAY CARNEY:

"Well, I can tell you broadly speaking that, whether it's the housing situation in Nevada, which hit that state so hard, or the actions that this administration and -- and Congress, working with Congress can take to help small business, that it's -- there's no one single action that will lift different sectors of the economy up after such a terrible recession.

This president has signed into law I believe it's 18 small- business tax -- tax cuts. He is pushing Congress now as part of his to-do list for Congress to extend the production tax credit which has assisted small businesses around the country, and we've seen numerous small businessowners speak to the need to extend that production tax credit. It directly relates to their capacity to hire more workers and grow their businesses.

The -- you know, there -- there are, I think, some positive things going on in the rural economy, things that have happened as a result of some of the initiatives the president has pushed, and Congress has passed, including investments in clean energy, the largest investments in clean energy development in history, that have been of assistance to rural industries. And -- and the president's going to continue to push that."

----

In an effort to provide balanced coverage, we worked to get an interview with Mitt Romney for tonight, but his campaign didn't make him available to us.

His campaign does say President Obama's plan to loosen up money for small businesses is not nearly enough for an economic recovery.

We spoke with the former governor of Virginia - another battleground state - to get his response by phone. "We need to build incentives here and get people to put money into the economy. I think that's a difference in tone you'll see with a Romney administration," says Jim Gilmore.

Other Romney campaign officials tell us President Obama's track record makes them question his sincerity in helping small businesses.

Even though Governor Romney was as close as Utah on Friday, his campaign didn't make him available to us - even by phone.

Instead we spoke to his communications director for Nevada, Mason Harrison who was in Las Vegas on Monday.

"In 2007 he said he'd oppose a special tax on mining. Yet he has endorsed a tax and a fee to disproportionately effect northern Nevada. So when it comes to creating jobs Romney will undo that and start the pipeline and reduce taxes."

Romney's campaign did say they expect him to visit Nevada in the next few weeks and that they would make him available then.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.