Obama promises 2.5M jobs in weekly address

President-elect Barack Obama has asked his economic team to draft a plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs by 2011, the Democrat told the nation in his second weekly radio address Saturday morning.

“I have already directed my economic team to come up with an Economic Recovery Plan that will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011 a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face that I intend to sign soon after taking office,” he said in the address.

His remarks, taped Friday, will be posted on the transition Web site and YouTube page, Change.gov. His first address was viewed more than 890,000 times on YouTube.

Mr. Obama said it would be a two-year, nationwide effort “to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy.”

He reprised his promises from the campaign trail, saying he would put people to work rebuilding the nation’s roads and bridges and with jobs in the new energy sector as part of a broad plan to stem effects of climate change.

“These arent just steps to pull ourselves out of this immediate crisis; these are the long-term investments in our economic future that have been ignored for far too long,” Mr. Obama said. “And they represent an early down payment on the type of reform my Administration will bring to Washington a government that spends wisely, focuses on what works, and puts the public interest ahead of the same special interests that have come to dominate our politics.”

Mr. Obama cited the 1.2 million jobs lost this year and noted that experts warn the nation could lose “millions” more “if we dont act swiftly and boldly.”

He said Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 is a chance for a new start but cautioned the economic crisis is “likely to get worse before it gets better.”

The Obama transition team would not confirm reports that he will be selecting New York Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary, but the markets soared when news leaked about it Friday afternoon.

Calvin Mitchell of Mr. Geithner’s communications team said Friday his phone had been ringing off the hook all afternoon, but declined to comment on the reports.

“I must direct all questions to the Obama-Biden transition team,” he said.

Obama aides also declined to offer any guidance on when they would release the president-elect’s choices for his economic team.

Monday is a good bet for an announcement, because Mr. Obama previously had said he wanted to name a treasury officer first, and the transition team said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was on track to be named Secretary of State after Thanksgiving.

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