Barack Obama's Holiday Wish List? Americans Shopping and Spending, Within Their Means

At his third economy press conference this week Obama said he hopes Americans spend within their means.

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BY THOMAS M. DeFRANK in Chicago and MICHAEL McAULIFF in Washington

President-elect Barack Obama to Americans: Shop 'til you drop...almost.

"What we don't want to do is get caught up in a spiral where people pull back from the economy, businesses then pull back, jobs are reduced and we get into a downward spiral," Obama said Wednesday, his third straight day of giving the nation an economic pep talk.

"People should understand that help is on the way," the soon-to-be-President reassured.  "As they think about this Thanksgiving shopping weekend and as they think about the Christmas season that's coming up, I hope that everybody understands that we are going to get through these difficult times."

Obama said his family would be breaking out the greenbacks on Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, to give the economy a boost.

"We are gonna do some Christmas shopping," he said. His daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, have sent their wish list to Santa, he said, "but we may do some extra shopping as well.

He reminded Americans that we've pulled through barren economic times before.

"I think it is important for the American have confidence that we've gone through recessions before, we've gone through difficult times before, and my administration intends to get this economy back on track," Obama said.

"We're just going to have to make some good choices," he said.

To do that, Obama unveiled his new Economic Advisory Board headed by his campaign economic adviser Austan Goolsbee and veteran market guru Paul Volker, the former Federal Reserve chaiman under Presidents Reagan and Carter.

"At this defining moment for our nation, the old ways of thinking and acting just won't do," Obama said. "We are called to seek fresh thinking and bold new ideas from the leading minds across America."

Obama said he would need the new advisory board will be tasked with brainstorming to make sure fiscal thinking stays fresh in his White House.

"The reality is that sometimes policymaking in Washington can become too insular," he said. "The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking."