Democrat Barack Obama said today that his to-do list as president is likely to be decided by the state of the economy.
Asked on CNN which would be his top priority among healthcare reform, energy independence, tax cuts for the middle class, education spending, or immigration reform, Obama answered, "Top priorities may not be any of those five. It may be continuing to stabilize the financial system. We donít know yet whatís going to happen in January. And none of this can be accomplished if we continue to see a potential meltdown in the banking system or the financial system. So thatís priority number one, making sure that the plumbing works in our capitalist system.
"Priority number two of the list have put forward I think has to be energy independence. We have to seize this moment because it is not just an energy independence issue, it is also a national security issue and it is a jobs issue. And we can create 5 million new green energy jobs with a serious program," Obama continued. "Priority number three would be health care reform. I think the time is right to do it. Priority number four is making sure that we have tax cuts for the middle class and part of a broader tax reform effort. Priority number five I think would be making sure that we have an education system that works for our children."
He also clarified, "One thing I want to make a point of though, that the tax cut that I talked about may be part of my priority number one because I think thatís going to be part of stabilizing the economy as a whole. I think we are going to need a second stimulus. One of my commitments is to make sure that that stimulus includes a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans. That may be the first bill that I introduce."
In the interview with Wolf Blitzer, Obama also declined to commit to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which has become more deadly for US troops than Iraq.
"I know that General Petraeus has discussed the possibility of trying to peel away more moderate factions within the Taliban and I think talking to our commanders on the ground and based on sound intelligence, if we can peel off some support from the hard core militants that are aligned with al Qaeda, that would be beneficial," Obama said. "I donít think that we necessarily are the best intermediary in that kind of discussion and Iíd want to see some proof, some evidence that in fact there are aspects of the Taliban that are susceptible to reasonable dialogueÖ. if I am the president elect to have some very rapid discussions with General Petraeus who I think has done a very good job in Iraq. I want to get his assessment and I would want to see some evidence that in fact the possibility of that model working existed in Afghanistan."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.