Obama looks presidential but not president yet
But at his first news conference since being elected on Tuesday, the next American leader appeared in a stately setting flanked by a who's who of economic heavyweights as he sought to convey confidence and authority to markets rattled by negative economic data and poor corporate earnings.
The man who ran a cool, calculated campaign for two years did not appear to break a sweat or veer off message during the 20-minute news conference -- although he did spark chuckles when he referred to himself as a "mutt."
Standing in front of eight American flags and at a podium with a sign reading "The Office of the President Elect," Obama repeated words he said often during the campaign but with a new, sober tone.
GONE WERE THE ATTACKS ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND CLAIMS that it had caused the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Instead Obama repeatedly pointed out that the country had only one president at a time and he was not going to do anything to undermine President George W. Bush before he is sworn in to office on January 20.
"Immediately after I become president, I'm going to confront this economic crisis head on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hard-working families, and restore growth and prosperity," he said.
But the man who campaigned on a promise of change was also quick to warn it would not come easy or quickly -- especially with regard to the economy. He also indicated he would not be rushed on announcing his choice for the new Treasury secretary and other cabinet appointments, despite jittery markets.
Most of his news conference was serious as he dealt with questions about the ailing economy, how much he could actually do to change it in the first 100 days and questions about Iran and national security.
But Obama took time to throw out a few personal lines, asking about a reporter's injured arm and giving a long, detailed response to her question about what kind of dog the Obamas would get for their daughters.
He called the question of the dog "a major issue," saying it had generated more interest on his Web site than "just about anything."
Then Obama went on in his trademark style, ticking off the different elements of the problem: the family had to reconcile the need to find a hypoallergenic pet with their desire to help out dog from an animal shelter.
"Obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me," Obama, the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, said to laughter.
"So whether we're going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household."