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Obama tells mayors to spend stimulus money wisely

Posted February 20, 2009

— Invoking his own name-and-shame policy, President Barack Obama warned the nation's mayors Friday that he will "call them out" if they waste the money from his massive economic stimulus plan.

"We have asked for the unprecedented trust of the American people to deal boldly with the greatest economic crisis we have seen in decades – and the privilege of investing unprecedented amounts of their hard-earned money to address this crisis," Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House.

"With that comes an unprecedented obligation to do so wisely, free from politics and personal agendas," the president said. "On this I will not compromise or tolerate any shortcut."

Durham Mayor Bill Bell, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy were among the dozens of mayors who attended the event.

The $787 billion economic plan passed by Congress and signed by Obama will inject a sudden boost of cash into infrastructure, education, energy and health care.

Bell has said Durham has $95 million in local projects that are ready to begin as soon as stimulus money is awarded to the city.

Now the political focus shifts to how all that taxpayer money will be spent on meaningful, job-creating projects.

Obama has staked his reputation on it.

He said Friday that legislation will allow the country "to watch the taxpayers' money with more rigor and transparency than ever."

The White House released excerpts of Obama's comments shortly before he spoke in the East Room.

"If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it, and put a stop to it," Obama said.

"But I want everyone here to be on notice that if a local government does the same - I will call them out on it as well, and use the full power of my office and our administration to stop it," he said.

The president did not specify how, exactly, he would call out one of his administration's own agencies or a local government.

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  • beachboater Feb 20, 2009

    If you think this is a good bill.....well, congress must believe it because they sure can't prove it. They didn't even have time to read it!!

    Pork? Nah. Look at the Harry Reid Express, and Pelosi's pet projects. Pork......nah.

  • icdumbpeople Feb 20, 2009

    Now that is calling the kettle black....

  • confederateyankee Feb 20, 2009

    "Name-and-shame." Isn't that how Obama makes his cabinet selections? What is the latest count? I think it was 4 tax cheats (so far) and 17 lobbyists. How I miss the days of far more competent and honest government under Bush and Clinton.

    In 28 days in office--just one month--Barack Obama signed a bill spending more money than the entire federal government spent from our nation's founding in 1776 until our bicentennial in 1976. Think about that for a moment, and let it sink in.

    And now he wants more, for deadbeats that lied on their mortgage applications, who were abusing lax lending laws forced though by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, on behalf of ACORN, which as everyone knows, is one of the socialist/communist front groups "community organizer" Barack Obama worked with in his meteoric rise from a nobody to a more famous no-nothing.

    We have never before had such deadly incompetence in the White House. I merely hope we can all survive the next few years of "hope" and "change."

  • podtalk Feb 20, 2009

    He tells mayors not to waste money yet the government is wasting it like no tomorrow. This whole thing is unreal. Hurry up and pass 4 years so we can get rid of this clown, if it's not to late by then.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Feb 20, 2009

    Only someone who has these kool-aid drinking idiots following him around can come out and say he will "call out by name any wasteful spenders", while HE has signed into legislation a Nancy Pelosi pork package which will do little to solve the crisis. Why do you think Wall St. is falling as it is? They know economics, he doesn't.

  • muttley - back by popular demand Feb 20, 2009

    I think its great that Obama has forewarned the mayors. This will no doubt cause the mayors to double their efforts in spending stimulus money wisely, else risk being called out by Obama. I'm so proud to be an american today, we FINALLY have a president that cares!!!!!

  • Iwasasoldier4u Feb 20, 2009

    The new president is also a comedian, telling politicians to spend taxpayers money wisely. That is way to funny.

  • ncsuprof Feb 20, 2009

    It probably is not a good idea to give Durham an infusion of money if there is a concern about it being wasted. Durham continuously makes bad decisions and its citizens continue to elect the same type of leaders. No one wants to live in Durham that knows anything about the area. They built that large theatre in town but you question going because you are afraid to park your car out there at night. One can't look at the American Tobacco Campus and say "oh this is great...durham is really revitalized." Look where the majority of crime and corruption lies in the triangle and ask why. Also ask what has changed or what will change with a cash influx that will make Durham a better place to live or work. Nothing

  • leo-nc Feb 20, 2009

    "We are already bankrupt, there has been a lot of complaining but no other solutions have been raised......"----

    WRONG. Solutions HAVE been suggested, but the people who voted for this bill didn't listen. They didn't even ask for feedback. Where was the waiting period for signing? Guess what? $500,000.00 of our tax money went up in smoke when Obama decided to fly to Denver to sign this train wreck of a bill! It's obvious that you haven't been following this much, and that you're blindly trusting the new prez without even so much of a blink.

  • computer trainer Feb 20, 2009

    So, is the money going to the states or to certain cities? And why would DURHAM get this $$? That is scary.

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