Obama's economy speech: Can he sell optimism to a pessimistic public?

The financial sector is well on its way to recovery, right? After all, it has been a year since Wall Street almost collapsed, and the government is now ready, willing, and able to stop such a situation from happening again. President Obama and Congress are telling us that everything is moving in the right direction -- so Americans must be feeling more confident about the economic future, right? Wrong.

According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, seven out of 10 Americans do not believe the government has taken the proper safeguards to keep last September's horrors from repeating. Furthermore, 80 percent of those polled feel the economy is in poor shape -- and members of this group worry that they may not be able to keep their heads above water.
In a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday, the President admitted that the public is anxious and was feeling "sticker shock." While a majority of the public (54 percent) blames the recession on former President Bush, 79 percent of the people surveyed blamed the current economic situation on financial institutions. Though the White House continues to tout its stimulus plan as a job creator, only 17 percent of those polled believe the plan has helped the economy (which is better than the seven percent who believed that in July). Unfortunately for the government, nearly 60 percent of those surveyed lack confidence that the stimulus package will do any good.

As the President prepares to step up to the microphone on Monday in an attempt to explain how his administration has steadied the economy, a majority of Americans remain worried. The President is likely to focus on the positives in his speech. But at the moment, those are positives that a majority of Americans simply do not see.

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