Barack Obama is not the president

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That was one thing the president-elect made crystal clear in his press conference today, declaring at least twice that the U.S. only has one president at a time and it won’t be him until January 20. As for his economic plans, the focus of the event, he didn’t say anything major that he hadn’t said already. The one possible bit of news was that, when a reporter asked him whether he was going to put off his planned tax increases for those making more than $250,000 a year until the economy is doing better, Obama didn’t say yes. Instead, he said that (1) “my priority is to grow the economy,” (2) he didn’t think his overall tax plan–which includes cuts for the under-$250,000 crowd–was inconsistent with economic growth, and (3) he and his economic team would be looking at this over the coming weeks.

He also didn’t announce his choice for Treasury Secretary, as some had thought he might, saying instead that he was moving “with all deliberate haste.” I get the feeling he was about to say “with all deliberate speed,” then decided in mid-sentence that maybe it would be a little weird to be quoting Brown v. Board of Education in that context.

Oh, and he wants a stimulus package that emphasizes aid to states and municipalities and extending unemployment benefits. Which is what the Congressional Democrats’ current plan does. If that doesn’t become law during the planned lame-duck session, Obama said he’ll make sure it happens right after he takes office.

Obama seemed more than competent at the press conference format, staying on message without coming across as totally unresponsive. He was pretty somber throughout, until Lynn Sweet asked him what’s up with the puppy.