From NBC's Athena Jones
WASHINGTON -- Pepsi and Southwest have done it. Small-time entrepreneurs on city streets across America have done it. Now the new administration appears to be reclaiming the Obama brand -- or something like it -- to highlight what it deems the symbols of the new $787 billion recovery plan's expected successes.
The president also seemed intent Tuesday on talking up depressed stock markets as he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss global economic, regulatory and security issues -- though a top official denied the president was focused on day-to-day market moves.
The new logos are the latest manifestation of the kind of marketing phenomenon the record-breaking Obama campaign represented. One of them is a circle with a dark blue background, white stars and the words "recovery.gov" on the top half and a red-and-green bottom half that is divided into two, one side is red with an image of white gears and the other is green with an image of a plant.
The signs will be displayed at transportation and other projects being funded with taxpayer dollars under the new stimulus package.
"These emblems are symbols of our commitment to you, the American people -- a commitment to investing your tax dollars wisely, to put Americans to work doing the work that needs to be done," Obama said. "So when you see them on projects that your tax dollars made possible, let it be a reminder that our government -- your government -- is doing its part to put the economy back on the road of recovery."
(Incidentally, the Works Progress Administration under Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, also had a logo.)
The president was speaking at an event at the Department of Transportation where, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, he said the $28 billion in recovery act investments in infrastructure would save or create 150,000 good-paying jobs by the end of next year and that the next few weeks would see more than 200 construction projects launched across the country.
He also spoke about a new lending facility the Treasury Department launched today -- called the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative -- that would eventually generate up to $1 trillion of new lending to help unlock frozen credit markets.
The economy talk, which has dominated everything the president has done since taking office, continued at the Brown meeting when Obama addressed the sagging stock market -- the Dow Jones industrials closed at their lowest level since April 25, 1997 yesterday.
He compared the markets to political tracking polls that "bobs up and down day to day," arguing that if you pay too much attention to day-to-day movements, you were likely to get long-term strategy wrong and he argued that a market recovery could be in the offing.
"What you're now seeing is profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you've got a long term perspective on it," he said. "I think that consumer confidence as they see the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act taking root, businesses are starting to see opportunities for investment and potentially hiring. We are going to start creating jobs again."
Profit and earning ratios -- more commonly called price to earnings ratios -- are one way investors measure a stock's value and affordability. The P/E ratio represents how much an investor will pay for a dollar of a company's earnings.
When peppered with questions about whether the president's comments were a calculated way to try to talk up the market, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pushed back, arguing Obama had not said anything markedly different today than he has in the past and that it was not the president's job to comment or react on what the market does on any given day, but to look at the long term.