BY Michael Mcauliff
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - A bullish President Obama says the ever-sinking Dow hasn't gotten him down - in fact, this might be a smart time to buy into the stock market.
"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," Obama said Tuesday.
Many observers took the President's remark as an attempt to rally the market when his administration is being questioned daily on why its efforts haven't restored confidence to Wall Street.
Obama insisted his economic renovation efforts will work, but that he was taking the long view, rather than worrying about the Dow's 19% plunge over his first six weeks in office.
"What I'm looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing," Obama said before lunching with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics," Obama added. "It bobs up and down day to day, and if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."
Republicans seized on the remarks, suggesting Obama wasn't worried about a market that's plummeted to 1997 levels.
"With the Dow and S&P 500 flirting with 12-year lows, please note President Obama's comments ... that he is not spending much time ‘worrying about that,'" the Republican National Committee said in a blast e-mail.
Obama's comments did not inspire an immediate wave of buying. The Dow closed down 37 more points to 6,726. It was over 14,000 less than 17 months ago.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs cautioned not to take Obama's remarks as a universal "buy" recommendation.
"I wouldn't overly read into different statements as to buy or sell in your particular portfolio," Gibbs said.
He insisted the downward momentum of the stock market stems from the awful economy and the grim global picture, not just Wall Street waiting for Obama to come to the rescue.
"The President has to look out for the broader economy and for the broader population ... many of whom are investors, but not exclusively investors. He's taking steps to reregulate our economy so that what happened on Wall Street doesn't happen again."
And he insisted that Obama cared about indicators like the market, but said it was just one of the markers the President watches.
While Republicans singled out Obama's comments and have begun attempting to tie the faltering economy to him the way it was tied to former President George W. Bush, a new survey out Tuesday suggested the country doesn't see it that way.
The NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll said 84% of the country believes Obama inherited the awful economy.
The poll said that just 2% think Obama will deserve blame for the economy after six months, and only 13% say Obama would be on the hook in his first year.