Obama asked about Romney's advisors: America's political differences end at the waters edge:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. One of Mitt Romney's economic advisors recently wrote in a German publication that your recommendations to Europe and to Germany in particular reveal ignorance of the causes of the crisis, and he said that they have the same flaws as your own economic policies. I want to get your response to that, and also to follow up on Ben's question. Europe has been kicking the can down the road for years, so why are you any more convinced that we won't see another three-month fix emerge out of Brussels at the end of the month?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, with respect to Mr. Romney's advisors, I suggest you go talk to Mr. Romney about his advisors. I would point out that we have one President at a time and one administration at a time, and I think traditionally the notion has been that America's political differences end at the water's edge. I'd also suggest that he may not be familiar with what our suggestions to the Germans have been. And I think sometimes back home there is a desire to superimpose whatever ideological arguments are taking place back home on to a very complicated situation in Europe.
The situation in Europe is a combination of things. You've got situations where some countries did have undisciplined fiscal practices, public debt. You had some countries like Spain whose problems actually arose out of housing speculation and problems in the private sector that didn’t have to do with public debt.
I think that there's no doubt that all the countries in Europe at this point recognize the need for growth strategies inside of Europe that are consistent with fiscal consolidation plans -- and by the way, that's exactly what I think the United States should be thinking about. The essence of the plan that I presented back in September was how do we increase growth and jobs now while providing clarity in terms of how we reduce our deficit and our debt medium and long term.
And I think that's the right recipe generally -- not just for us, but across the board.
You had a second question. What was it?
Q Why are you --
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Why am I confident? Well, look, I don't want to sound Pollyanna-ish here. Resolving the issues in Europe is difficult. As I said, there are a lot of players involved. There are a lot of complexities to the problems, because we're talking about the problems of a bunch of different countries at this point. Changing market psychology is very difficult. But the tools are available. The sense of urgency among the leaders is clear. And so what we have to do is combine that sense of urgency with the tools that are available and bridge them in a timely fashion that can provide markets confidence. And I think that can be done.
Hopefully -- just to give an example -- when Spain clarifies exactly how it intends to draw down and utilize dollars -- or not dollars, but euros to recapitalize its banking system, given that it's already got support from other European countries, given that the resources are available, what's missing right now is just a sense of specifics and the path whereby that takes place. When markets see that, that can help build confidence and reverse psychology.
So there are going to be a range of steps that they can take. None of them are going to be a silver bullet that solves this thing entirely over the next week or two weeks or two months. But each step points to the fact that Europe is moving towards further integration rather than breakup, and that these problems can be resolved -- and points to the underlying strength in Europe's economies.
These are not countries that somehow at their core are unproductive or dysfunctional; these are advanced economies with extraordinarily productive people. They’ve got a particular challenge that has to do with a currency union that didn’t have all the best bells and whistles of a fiscal or a monetary union, and they're catching up now to some of those needs. And they just need the time and the space to do it. In the meantime, they've got to send a strong signal to the market, and I'm confident they can do that.
All right. Thank you very much, everybody.