WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, pressuring lawmakers to urgently approve a massive economic recovery bill, criticized Republicans who have balked at the legislation Monday night and said, "I can’t afford to see Congress play the usual political games." Obama used the first prime-time news conference of his presidency to warn that a failure to act swiftly and boldly "could turn a crisis into a catastrophe."
With the nation falling deeper into a long and painful recession, Obama defended his program against Republican criticism that it is loaded with pork-barrel spending and will not create jobs.
"The plan is not perfect," the president said. "No plan is. I can’t tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans."