Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Narrator: What do we remember in November of 2008? Was it this moment?

  • Or this?

  • Newscaster: This is an economy right now that cant find the bottom of bad news.

  • Newscaster:

  • Ten years of saving completely gone. Vanished. Poof.

  • Newscaster:

  • Watching the Dow Industrial Average has been like watching the heart monitor on a critically

  • ill patient.

  • Narrator: How do we understand this President and his

  • time in office? Do we look at the days headlines or do

  • we remember what we, as a country, have been through?

  • Austan Goolsbee:

  • The President elect is here in Chicago and hes named the members of the economic

  • team and they all fly in for the first big briefing on the economy. Many of the leading

  • financial figures of the world are taking the subway in from the airport and traipsing

  • through the snow to get to the transition office.

  • David Axelrod:

  • There was a screen set up for slides, but we might as well have been showing a horror

  • movie because what was described in that meeting was an economic crisis beyond anything anybody

  • had imagined.

  • Rahm Emanuel: You had people telling you that the auto industry

  • was literally days from collapse. The financial sectors kind of the heart that pumps blood

  • into the economy's was frozen up and in cardiac arrest.

  • Goolsbee:

  • The six months surrounding January 2009 is the worst six months ever that we ever

  • had in the data. It was the biggest crash of household wealth that weve ever had

  • in the United States. page Axelrod:

  • Christi Romer, the incoming head of the Council of Economic Advisors, Mr. President, thisll

  • be as deep as anything weve experienced since The Great Depression, and millions of

  • people are going to lose their jobs.Tim Geithner, the incoming Treasury Secretary

  • said the Financial systems locked up and Mr. President, it could collapse.

  • And then Peter Orszag, the Budget Director, was the cleanup hitter, and said this is gonna

  • add trillions of dollars to our debt. All I was thinking at that moment was, Could

  • we get a recount?

  • Narrator: Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt,

  • had so much fallen on the shoulders of one President.

  • And when he faced his country, who looked

  • to him for answers, he would not dwell in blame or dreamy idealism.

  • POTUS:

  • Our time of standing pat protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant

  • decisions that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must begin again the work

  • of remaking America.

  • Narrator: As President, the tough decisions that he

  • would make would not only determine the course of the nation, theyd reveal the character

  • of the man.

  • The first decision where to begin?

  • Emanuel: Which is one, which is two, which is three,

  • which is four, which is five? Where do you start?

  • What I love about the guy he says, Were

  • gonna do em all. Because we gotta do em all, we dont have a choice to pick.

  • Narrator:

  • He acted quickly with the Recovery Act, giving help where it was most urgently needed. The

  • country had been hemorrhaging jobs more than 3.5 million lost in the six months before

  • he took office. Middle class jobs and economy security were vanishing.

  • The funding would keep teachers in the classroom,

  • cops on the street, and first responders ready. And for those who were hurting, small business

  • incentives, tax cuts for the middle class, and job training building bridges, highways,

  • and infrastructure laying the groundwork for a new economy, and restoring the possibility

  • of growth. But another immediate crisis confronted the President.

  • Narrator: Auto executives had asked for another bailout.

  • And there was pressure to act.

  • Newscaster: Tonight, a top GM executive warned,

  • Without help, the company will default. There is no Plan B.

  • Elizabeth Warren:

  • If the auto industry goes down, what happens to Americas manufacturing base? What happens

  • to jobs in America? What happens to the whole Midwest?

  • President Bill Clinton:

  • If you closed all these car dealerships, and you killed all these auto parts suppliers,

  • people have no earthly idea what wouldve happened not only to the economy, but to our

  • self image.

  • Emanuel: You know, a lot of conventional wisdom wanted

  • to do what Mitt Romney did let it go. Cant be saved. Why put good money after bad?

  • VPOTUS:

  • Everybody. Democrats, Republicans, I mean, it was overwhelming look at the polling

  • number do not rescue the automobile industry.

  • Warren: The President faced a real risk either way

  • he went. He fails to invest in the auto industry, it implodes, the economy goes further down,

  • and blood is on his hands. The President invests, and the auto industry just cant pull it

  • out. Thats on the Presidents hands as well.

  • Narrator:

  • But he knew who it would hurt the most and how devastating the loss of a job can be to

  • an entire family.

  • POTUS: My grandparents taught me that a job is about

  • more than just a paycheck. They grew up during the Depression, so, they tell me about seeing

  • their fathers or their uncles losing jobs. Even if youve got a strong spirit, if

  • youre out of work for a long time, it can wear you down.

  • Narrator:

  • He decided to intervene. But in exchange for help, the President would demand action.

  • The Bush Administration had given the car

  • companies thirteen billion dollars, and the money was now gone.

  • Clinton:

  • He didnt just give the car companies the money. And he didnt give the UAW the money.

  • He said, You guys gotta work together and come up and everybodys gotta have

  • some skin in the game here. You gotta modernize the automobile industry.

  • POTUS:

  • So dont bet against the American worker, dont bet against the American people.

  • We are comin back!

  • Narrator: Because of the tough choices the President

  • made, the stage was set for a resurgent U.S. auto industry.

  • And it wouldnt be the last time this President

  • would face a crisis that others would rather avoid.

  • Newscaster, John Chancellor:

  • One of the most worrisome problems facing Americans these days is the cost of healthcare

  • and the rate at which it has increased.

  • Narrator: It had been an issue that both parties had

  • struggled with for more than three generations.

  • Clinton:

  • This is a huge economic issue because we spend seventeen and a half percent of our income

  • on healthcare. No other big, wealthy country spends more than 11.8%. And almost all of

  • them have better results than we do.

  • Narrator: Healthcare costs had been rising three times

  • the rate of inflation, crushing family budgets and choking business. And he knew that he

  • couldnt fix the economy if he didnt fix healthcare. And he wanted to bring Washington

  • together to share the tough decisions.

  • Protestors: Kill the Bill! Kill the Bill! Kill the bill!

  • Narrator:

  • But he faced a fierce opposition, hostile to compromise.

  • Man at Town Hall:

  • Itll be a cold day in hell before he socializes my country.

  • Narrator:

  • After months of negotiation, it was unclear whether he could get the necessary votes.

  • Narrator:

  • Some advised him to settle. He could still claim victory if he accepted less.

  • Emanuel:

  • I regularly told him, Look, you dont have to spill this much political blood. You

  • wont get the healthcare accomplishment youre seeking, but you will have something.

  • Narrator:

  • But he knew from experience the cost of waiting.

  • POTUS: When my mom got cancer, she wasnt a wealthy

  • woman. And it pretty much drained all her resources.

  • FLOTUS:

  • She developed ovarian cancer never really had good, consistent insurance. That

  • tough thing to deal with, watching your mother die of something that couldve been prevented.

  • I dont think he wants to see anyone go through that

  • Narrator:

  • And he remembered the millions of families like his who feel the pressure of rising costs

  • and the fear of being denied or dropped from coverage

  • POTUS:

  • When you hear people saying that this isnt the right time, when you hear people more

  • worried about the politics of it than whats right and whats wrong, I want you to think

  • about the millions of people all across this country who are looking for some help.

  • Narrator:

  • And when the votes were counted, that help would come.

  • Nancy Pelosi:

  • The bill is passed!

  • Narrator: Beyond the crises at home, among the toughest

  • calls that he would make, he would make as Commander in Chief.

  • He had promised to bring a responsible end

  • to the war in Iraq, and bring the troops home. It was a promise kept.

  • Newscaster:

  • After nine years in Iraq, all the troops are returning.

  • POTUS:

  • Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home!

  • Narrator:

  • And it was part of his broader plan to refocus our efforts on those that had attacked us.

  • Intelligence reports locating Osama Bin Laden

  • were promising, but inconclusive, and there was internal debate as to what the President

  • should do.

  • VPOTUS: We sat down in the Situation Room\'97the entire

  • national security apparatus was in that room\'97and the President turns to every principal in

  • the room every secretary, What do you recommend I do? And they say, Well,

  • forty-nine percent chance hes there, fifty-one... its a close call Mr. President. As

  • he walked out the room, it dawned on me, hes all alone. This is his decision. If he was

  • wrong, his Presidency was done. Over.

  • POTUS: Today, at my direction, the United States

  • launched a targeted operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaida. A

  • small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.

  • No Americans were harmed.

  • Newscaster: Theyve been planning this operation for

  • more than eight months, but in the end it came down to a period of just forty minutes

  • when it could either be a major success or a disastrous failure.

  • POTUS:

  • A lot of people have asked, How did you feel when you first heard that it was Bin

  • Laden and he had been killed? And the truth is, I didnt have time for a lot

  • of feelings at that point because our guys were still in that compound, and it wasnt

  • until I knew that they were across the border, they were safe, everybody was accounted for including

  • the dog uh, that I allowed, some satisfaction.

  • Clinton:

  • He took the harder, and the more honorable path. When I saw what had happened, I thought

  • to myself, I hope thats the call I woulde made.

  • Narrator:

  • It was the ultimate test of leadership, a victory for our nation.

  • And there would be many others.

  • His satisfaction, not in Washington, but with the millions of families who would feel

  • for the first time, the security of coverage.

  • 2.5 million young adults now have coverage. 17 million kids could no longer be

  • denied for preexisting conditions.

  • He expanded drug discounts for seniors.

  • And with a Patient's Bill of Rights, Americans no longer will see their coverage dropped

  • or capped when illness strikes.

  • Title: Restores Stem Cell Research Funding

  • He restored science to its rightful place.

  • Title: Doubles Fuel Efficiency Standards

  • He announced historic new mileage standards that will reduce oil imports, and the countrys

  • now on track to double production from renewables.

  • Title: Race to the Top Raising expectations in our schools with higher

  • standards in forty-six states.

  • Title: Making College More Affordable

  • He reformed the student loan system, shifting billions in subsidies from banks and middlemen,

  • to millions of young Americans.

  • Title: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

  • Cracking down on credit card companies and

  • mortgage lenders so the American people would never have to bail out Wall Street again.

  • And when Washington stalled, he would take

  • action, protecting everyday Americans from predatory lenders.

  • Title: Appoints Richard Cordray to Head of

  • Financial Consumer Protection Bureau

  • POTUS: Im not gonna stand by while a minority

  • in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve.

  • Not at this make or break moment for middle class Americans.

  • Narrator:

  • They changed the way the world sees us.

  • And brought fairness to soldiers who want to serve their country, regardless of who

  • they love.

  • Title: Dont Ask Dont Tell repealed

  • POTUS: Thank you. Yes we did.

  • Narrator: And a landmark law so that a woman who does

  • the same job as a man can get the same pay.

  • Title: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passes

  • POTUS:

  • And we will make sure that our daughters have the same rights, the same chances, the same

  • freedoms to pursue their dreams as our sons.

  • Judge: Judge Sotomayor, are you prepared to take

  • the oath?

  • Sotomayor: I am.

  • Narrator:

  • He placed two experienced jurists on the Supreme Court.

  • Narrator:

  • And while the economic crisis proved to be more severe than experts had predicted, month

  • by month there was progress over 3.5 million private sector jobs in two years and

  • welcome news from Detroit.

  • Diane Sawyer: It is a banner day for the resurgent US auto

  • industry, less than two years after coming out of bankruptcy, General Motors announced

  • today it is investing two billion dollars in seventeen plants.

  • Narrator:

  • And with business booming, they repaid their loans.

  • Lawrence ODonnell:

  • Tonight. General Motors is once again number one in sales worldwide.

  • Narrator: