WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday his administration will make "hard decisions" on Social Security and Medicare reform.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Obama said long-term economic recovery requires that the government get costly entitlement spending under control, the Post reported.
He said he will convene a "fiscal responsibility summit" next month before he sends his first budget proposal to Congress, and his administration will take up entitlement reform and long-term federal budget deficits after addressing job growth and financial markets.
"What we have done is kicked this can down the road," Obama told the Post. "We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further.
"We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's."
Obama told the newspaper he would take quick action on Middle East issues after his inauguration and said he would consider it a failure if he is unable to shut down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during his four-year term in the White House.
Obama said his top priorities in office will be to create jobs and maintain national security.
Although he said "nobody can tell" what's in story for the economy, Obama said, "Even with the stuff that we are doing, I think we can still anticipate that 2009 is going to be very tough."