Economy Main Talk of Obama's News Conf.

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President Barack Obama continued to take the case for his economic stimulus plan directly to Americans, Monday, bypassing the debate in Congress surrounding the bill to hold his first prime-time news conference less than one month into his presidency.

Before taking his first question, Obama admitted his $838 billion plan is "not perfect" but said it needed to be passed before the economy gets worse.

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News Jennifer Wishon followed by Pat Robertson's interview with CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody.

"I can't tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope," Obama said, "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."

 Click here to watch President Obama's entire prime-time news conference from Monday night.

Obama later added that it's too early to tell whether another bank bailout will be needed, saying the country "averted catastrophe" by passing the $700 billion to the financial system.

Still, he said oversight and lack of clarity prevented the U.S. from getting "as big of a bang for the buck" in the first round of bailout funds.

Obama's current economic recovery plan passed 61-36 in a Senate test vote Monday afternoon-- barely meeting the 60 vote majority needed for passage.

In response to a question on the lack of bipartisan support of the bill, he urged legislators to put party ties aside before it came time to vote on even tougher issues like health care.

"I think that old habits are hard to break," Obama said, citing politics as a large contributor to opposition of his stimulus plan.

The President never slacked on addressing the recession Americans are facing. Eight of the thirteen questions he took were related to the economy.

"This is not your ordinary, run of the mill recession," Odama charged.  He said the U.S. must avoid the kind of economic pain Japan endured in the nineties when the country saw no economic growth.

As the evening progressed, the President did have a chance to acknowledge a few questions on foreign policy and national security.

Speaking on Iran, he said his national security team would be "reviewing" existing policy and "looking at areas where we can have constructive dialogue, where we can directly engage with them."

"My expectation is that in the coming months we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table face to face," he said.

Obama also talked briefly about the war on terror, saying he does not have a timetable for how long it will take to end the war but that he's "not going to allow al-Qaida and (Osama) bin Laden to operate with impunity, planning attacks."

The President held the nearly one-hour news conference in the East Room of the White House.

For the most part, his comments repeated themes he has emphasized in recent weeks.

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CBN News
Cicely Gosier

Cicely Gosier

CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming by cable, satellite, and the Internet, 24-hours a day. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.