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Barack Obama: Investor-in-Chief

By Dave Cook / March 3, 2009

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown walk through the Colonnade following a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House.

AFP/NEWSCOM

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On the day after the stock market dropped to its lowest level since 1997, Barack Obama got a new title.

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Meeting Tuesday in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, President Obama was asked about the stock market's slide to a 12 year low. He responded, "What you are now seeing is profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you've got a long term perspective on it."

That comment prompted veteran Washington correspondent Paul West of the Baltimore Sun, who was in the Oval Office representing other newspapers, to dub Mr. Obama " Investor-in-Chief" in his pool report.

The President downplayed the market's day to day gyrations. "The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down day to day, and if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong," he said.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below the 7,000 level for the first time since 1997. Overseas markets also declined. In Britain, the major stock market index dipped 5.3 percent.

While optimistic about the long term, the President cautioned that recovery is "not going to happen overnight. And my main message to the American people is just to recognize that we dug a very deep hole for ourselves;there were a lot of bad decisions that were made;we are cleaning up that mess."