|Day 1- April 30th 2009||Day 51- June 19, 2009|
|Day 2- May 1, 2009||Day 52- June 20, 2009|
|Day 3- May 2, 2009||Day 53- June 21, 2009|
|Day 4 May 3, 2009||Day 54- June 22, 2009|
|Day 5- May 4 2009||Day 55- June 23, 2009|
|Day 6- May 5, 2009||Day 56- June 24, 2009|
|Day 7- May 6, 2009||Day 57- June 25, 2009|
|Day 8- May 7, 2009||Day 58- June 26, 2009|
|Day 9- May 8, 2009||Day 59- June 27, 2009|
|Day 10- May 9, 2009||Day 60 June 28, 2009|
|Day 11- May 10, 2009-Sunday||Day 61- June 29, 2009|
|Day 12- May 11, 2009||Day 62- June 30, 2009|
|Day 13- May 12, 2009||Day 63-July 1, 2009|
|Day 14- May 13, 2009||Day 64-July 2, 2009|
|Day 15- May 14, 2009||Day 65-July 3, 2009|
|Day 16- May 15, 2009||Day 66-July 4, 2009|
|Day 17- May 16, 2009||Day 67- July 5, 2009 President Leaves For Moscow|
|Day 18- May 17, 2009||Day 68-July 6, 2009|
|Day 19 May 18, 2009||Day 69-July 7, 2009|
|Day 20- May 19, 2009||Day 70-July 8, 2009|
|Day 21- May 20, 2009||Day 71-July 9, 2009|
|Day 22- May 21, 2009||Day 72-July 10, 2009|
|Day 23- May 22, 2009||Day 73-July 11, 2009|
|Day 24- May 23, 2009||Day 74 Sunday Return From Africa|
|Day 25 May 24, 2009-Sunday||Day 75-July 13, 2009|
|Day 26- May 25, 2009||Day 76-July 14, 2009|
|Day 27- May 26, 2009||Day 77-July 15, 2009|
|Day 28- May 27, 2009||Day 78-July 16, 2009|
|Day 29- May 28, 2009||Day 79-July 17, 2009|
|Day 30- May 29, 2009||Day 80-July 18, 2009|
|Day 31- May 30, 2009||Day 81 Sunday|
|Day 32 May 31, 2009-Sunday||Day 82-July 20, 2009|
|Day 33- June 1, 2009||Day 83-July 21, 2009|
|Day 34- June 2, 2009||Day 84-July 22, 2009|
|Day 35- June 3, 2009||Day 85-July 23, 2009|
|Day 36- June 4, 2009||Day 86-July 24, 2009|
|Day 37- June 5, 2009||Day 87-July 25, 2009|
|Day 38- June 6, 2009||Day 88 Sunday|
|Day 39- June 7, 2009||Day 89-July 27, 2009|
|Day 40- June 8, 2009||Day 90-July 28, 2009|
|Day 41- June 9, 2009||Day 91-July 29, 2009|
|Day 42- June 10, 2009||Day 92-July 30, 2009|
|Day 43- June 11, 2009||Day 93-July 31 2009|
|Day 44- June 12, 2009||Day 94-Aug 1, 2009|
|Day 45- June 13, 2009||Day 95 Sunday|
|Day 46 June 14, 2009-Sunday||Day 96-Aug 3, 2009|
|Day 47- June 15, 2009||Day 97-Aug 4, 2009|
|Day 48- June 16, 2009||Day 98-Aug 5, 2009|
|Day 49- June 17, 2009||Day 99-Aug 6, 2009|
|Day 50- June 18, 2009||Day 100-Aug 7, 2009|
Electing Barack Obama, the first black President, did not absolve the US of its racist history
I cried my first tears of joy when, one Tuesday night in 2008, Barack Obama took the stage of Grant Park in Chicago he just won the election. I watched his speech from a bar in downtown San Francisco, as fellow patrons stared at the TV screens, stunned.
Never had I felt such a sense of simultaneous relief and satisfaction after the political theatrics of a presidential election. I had developed my political consciousness during the second Bush administration and, irrespective of the never-ending war and devastating economic collapse, began to believe that perhaps the country was not interested in moving in a progressive direction.
As a person of colour, Obama’s election gave me a reason to feel optimistic about the course of the nation when he became President-elect. He proved possible what people from minority communities could previously only imagine – never attain – as the barriers of white supremacy were still well intact. But in turn, the new President was assigned a task that was doomed from the start: that he, by virtue of being the first black man to occupy the White House Oval Office, would somehow absolve the United States of its racist history.
Even in his optimism – heroically maintained in the gloomy final days of his administration – President Obama conceded that, although “race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago”, the hurdles of racism still have yet to be cleared.
“After my election there was talk of a post-racial America,” he said in his farewell speech earlier this month. “Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.”
It would have been naïve to think that one president could dismantle centuries of American white supremacy in only eight years. That’s simply not how history, let alone the US political system, works. And the moment Obama took office, he faced opposition from the stalwarts of that system in Congress – stymied by conservative-voting “Blue Dog” Democrats when he had a “supermajority”, and ultimately held by Republicans after the midterm election in 2014.
He was met with racist criticism and resistance from his campaign, when a Fox News commentator referred to a fistbump between Obama and now First Lady Michelle Obama as a “terrorist fist jab”. While speaking at a joint session of Congress, a white Republican congressman heckled the President, shouting “You lie!”, when he said his proposed healthcare reform legislation would not insure undocumented immigrants.
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
1 /10 The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
The Obamas celebrate the Inauguration in 2009 and 2013
In my life, I had not witnessed that sort of treatment of a sitting President, and felt it was no coincidence that Obama, whose portrait stands in stark contrast to the 43 men before him, seemed to attract the boisterous protests of angry white elected officials.
Obama was restrained for much of his first term when it came to the topic of race. The administration did not want to appear to promote a “black agenda” so soon after taking office, White House insiders told The New York Times.
“At a minimum, that would have been tone deaf,” former Attorney General Eric Holder said, “and at worst, would have created a reaction in the larger community that would have prevented the things you wanted to do.”
However, that restraint would ultimately lead to disappointment for some during the Ferguson protests, when a white police officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August 2014.
In his statement in the wake of the massive demonstration and riots, sparked by the mobilisation of a heavily militarised local police force, quick to pull the triggers of their tear gas launchers, Obama tried to maintain a balanced tone that defended rights of the protesters to peacefully assemble while also maintaining support for law enforcement.
“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,” he said. “There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”
A Justice Department investigation, released in March 2015, found that “nearly every aspect of Ferguson’s law enforcement system” disproportionately impacted the African American community.
The mobilisation of activists in the wake of Ferguson prompted a national call for police reform, answered by the President’s executive action to launch the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The task force promoted more community engagement from police departments, de-escalation training, and oversight. Of course, cities must voluntarily adopt the guidelines, and a majority of US cities have yet to implement such community policing strategies.
Obama made his progressive values clear in the numerous other executive actions he ordered throughout the latter half of his administration – as evidenced through Daca, which protected undocumented immigrants brought to the US as minors from threat of deportation and the directive to allow transgender public school students to use bathrooms according to their gender identities.
But the significance of Obama lies in his experience as a person of colour in America – something literally no other president of the United States has had. While President, he first explicitly conveyed that connection, after a self-appointed neighbourhood watchman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as he walked home from a convenience store with a can of fruit juice and package of Skittles candy.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama told reporters in 2012.
Two years later, weeks after Ferguson, Obama described his shared experience with young civil rights activists in an interview with BET.
“When they described their own personal experiences of having been stopped for no reason, or having generated suspicion because they were in a community that supposedly they didn’t belong, my mind went back to what it was like for me when I was 17, 18, 20,” Obama said.
“And as I told them, not only do I hear the pain and frustration of being subjected to that kind of constant suspicion, but part of the reason I got into politics was to figure out how I can bridge some of those gaps in understanding so that the larger country understands this is not just a black problem or a brown problem. This is an American problem.”
I first learned of that suspicion at the age of 11, when a police officer put me in a headlock after a white friend gave him a derogatory shout the countless times Texas state police pulled me over while driving on country roads at night. To know that the President had walked down the street at some point in his life and fell victim to the same stereotypes that millions of black and brown Americans feared gave me some solace. It also served as a reminder that the country’s problems go way beyond one man, one administration.
“Racism, we are not cured of. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n*****’ in public. That’s not a measure of whether racism still exists or not,” Obama told comedian Marc Maron on his podcast in 2015. “Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
For years, well before Barack Obama’s name would grab the attention of a young Latino from Texas, the concept of a president who wasn’t white seemed like an impossibility. “Not in our lifetime,” my 12th grade government teacher, a white man, told my classroom. He suggested that the US’s legacy of whiteness was too powerful still to elect somebody from outside of those constraints.
And still, persistent white supremacy in the US sparked a rabid backlash to the first black President – taking shape in gerrymandering to virtually rig elections in favour of state Republicans, racist voter identification laws that largely targeted black voters, the overt racism directed at Obama and the First Lady, and intimidation of Latino voters. All this resulted in a Republican stronghold of Congress, the majority of US statehouses, and a racist business mogul taking over the White House.
Despite this, Obama issued his optimistic call to action to people who wish to change the course of the US, to bend the proverbial arc toward justice.
“Show up, dive in, stay at it,” he said during his farewell, as he readies to leave office far more popular than the President-elect. “Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you.
“But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energise and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed.
Obama's First 100 Days: What He's Done So Far
Today marks President Barack Obama's 100th day in office since his inauguration.
And on this day, the president finally has his full 15-member Cabinet of top advisers in place.
The last one, Kathleen Sebelius, took office late Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate as Health and Human Services secretary. The two-term Kansas governor was approved, 65-31.
According to the latest NBC News/WSJ poll, Obama enjoys higher scores from the public than his most recent predecessors did at similar points in their presidencies.
Over 60 percent say they approve of Obama's job, nearly two-thirds view him favorably, and the majority believe he has gotten off to a solid start during his first three months as president.
Additionally, the poll suggests that Americans find Obama to be likeable. Over 80 percent say they personally like Obama, even if they don’t agree with all of his policies. And respondents give him high scores on his personality, demeanor and leadership qualities.
Obama's Democratic allies in Congress are aiming to give him a gift to cap his 100th day in office: passage of a congressional budget plan that endorses much of his ambitious agenda, especially his plan to reform the U.S. health care system.
While a welcome victory, congressional passage of the budget would be only a first, relatively easy step toward Obama's goal of providing health care coverage for all Americans.
Next would come arduous negotiations among lawmakers, the Obama administration and a vast array of interest groups.
With the economy in recession and the bailout of the financial sector costing hundreds of billions of dollars, deficits would rocket to $1.7 trillion for the ongoing budget year, dipping to a still-astonishing $1.2 trillion in 2010.
The budget measure is a nonbinding outline for follow-up tax and spending legislation. It is Congress' response to Obama's $3.6 trillion budget plan released in February.
As Obama continues ahead with his plans, Americans anxiously await to see what kinds of changes he will bring about in the next 100 days, and for the rest of his term as president.
Obama is conducting a town hall meeting in Arnold, Missouri Wednesday morning and will have a press conference in prime time Wednesday night back at the White House.
Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:
Day 99: White House Plans Aid For Second Mortgages (Apr. 28)
- The Obama administration unveiled measures to address the role of second mortgagesor other liens on properties that might be pressuring consumers and businesses.
- The Senate began debate on Obama's nominee for U.S. health and human services secretary, as supporters stressed the need to give the agency a leader in the midst of the swine flu outbreak.
Day 98: Clinton: US Moving Quickly to Address Global Warming (Apr. 27)
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told representatives from 16 major world economies Monday that the United States is moving quickly to address global warming. At an international forum on energy and climate change organized by Obama, Clinton said the U.S. no longer doubts the urgency or magnitude of the problem.
- The outbreak of a flu virus that has led to a U.S. public health emergency highlights the need for a strong government commitment to scientific research, said Obama.
- Obama promised a major investment in research and development for scientific innovation, saying the United States has fallen behind others.
Day 97: White House to Detail Government Response to Swine Flu (Apr. 26)
- Obama has received regular briefings from advisers on the swine flu outbreak and the White House readied guidance for Americans. The Obama administration held a briefing to outline the government's response. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the outbreak is serious but the public should know "it's not a time to panic."
Vice President Joe Biden said he worries about his son who is serving in Iraq, but tries to not look at the ongoing war solely as a father. Obama called Biden "very valuable" during a profile that aired on CBS News' "60 Minutes." "You know, Joe's not afraid to tell me what he thinks," Obama said. "And that's exactly what I need, and exactly what I want."
Day 96: Obama Asks for Ideas on Curbing Federal Spending (Apr. 25)
- Obama unveiled new steps to restore U.S. fiscal discipline, including support for legislation that would require Congress to pay for any new programs by raising taxes or cutting other expenditures. Acknowledging that he had spent heavily to confront a historic economic crisis since taking office, Obama said the country was on an unsustainable course and would have to make hard choices to bring the budget under control.
- Obama announced a plan for federal workers to propose ways to improve their agencies' and departments' budgets. The president said employees' ideas would be key as his Cabinet officials cut millions from the federal budget and trim the deficit.
- The President reiterates a theme that has been a hallmark of his career, namely that "old habits and stale thinking" will simply not help us solve the new and immense problems our country faces. (Watch the Video Here)
Day 95: Obama Bipartisanship Push has Mixed Success (Apr. 24)
- Obama swept into office with a lofty promise to bridge the capital's fierce partisan divide. Easier said than done. "Old habits are hard to break," the new president acknowledged in February as reality set in just weeks after he took office.
- Obama faces a dilemma as he prepares to issue an annual presidential statement on the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks. Referring to the killings as genocide could upend recent pledges of a closer partnership with Turkey, a vital U.S. ally in a critical region. Steering around the word would break his unequivocal campaign pledges to recognize the killings as genocide.
Day 94: Credit Card Execs: Fed Rules Will Protect Consumers (Apr. 23)
- More Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public's mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.
- Credit card executives meeting with Obama argued that rules proposed by the Federal Reserve are adequate to protect consumers, but Obama believes more should be done, said the White House. "The industry laid out a case that what the Fed is doing is enough," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a briefing following Obama's meeting with the credit card officials. (Full Story)
- China said Obama should not meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, when he visits the U.S. in October. Although a meeting has not been confirmed, every president since George H.W. Bush has met the Dalai Lama, raising the ire of China, which says the Nobel Peace laureate is bent on splitting Tibet from China.
Day 93: Crisis Unprecedented in Modern Times: Geithner (Apr. 22)
- Obama is going on the road to pitch his energy plan—as well as environmentally friendly jobs production—in a hard-hit Iowa town, while administration officials make a similar push back in Washington. (Full Story)
- In the meantime, Geithner said the U.S. bears a substantial share of responsibility for a global economic crisis that could cost the world up to $4 trillion in lost output this year alone. (Full Story)
- The US government is increasingly likely to convert a $13.4 billion loan to GM into common stock, sharply reducing the company's debt burden and giving taxpayers a major stake in the struggling auto maker, sources tell CNBC. (Full Story)
Day 92: Obama Meets Jordan's King Abdullah (Apr. 21)
- Obama meets today with a key Middle East ally. He'll have a one-on-one meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah of Jordan in the Personal Dining Room, followed by an expanded meeting in the Oval Office.
- The AmeriCorps program will triple in size over the next eight years. It's all part of a $5.7 billion national service bill Obama is scheduled to sign to foster and fulfill people's desire to make a difference, such as by mentoring children, cleaning up parks or building and weatherizing homes for the poor.
Day 91: US May Not Need More TARP Funds to Shore Up Banks (Apr. 20)
- Geithner said he would consider the health of the financial system and the flow of credit in deciding whether banks can repay bailout funds from the government.(Full Story)
- Obama’s top economic advisers have determined that they can shore up the nation’s banking system without having to ask Congress for more money any time soon, according to administration officials. (Full Story)
- Obama proposed a $100 billion U.S. loan to the International Monetary Fund to boost the IMF's war chest and urged a bigger stake in the IMF for emerging powers like China and India. (Full Story)
- In the meantime, Obama convenes his first formal cabinet meeting Monday and will ask department and agency chiefs to look for ways over the next 90 days to cut $100 million out of the federal budget, a senior administration official said.
Day 90: Obama Gets Friendly With Neighbors (Apr. 19)
- Obama offered a spirit of cooperation to America's hemispheric neighbors at a summit Saturday, listening to complaints about past U.S. meddling and even reaching out to Venezuela's leftist leader. While he worked to ease friction between the U.S. and their countries, Obama cautioned leaders at the Summit of the Americas to resist a temptation to blame all their problems on their behemoth neighbor to the north. (Full Story)
Day 89: Obama Pledges to Cut Dozens of Wasteful Programs (Apr. 18)
- Obama said he would soon announce the elimination of dozens of wasteful or ineffective government programs as part of a broad effort to restore fiscal accountability to the federal budget. (Full Story)
- Paul Volcker, senior economic adviser to Obama, said that the U.S. economic recovery will be a "long slog" but that the rate of decline "is going to slow." (Full Story)
- In his weekly address, Obama announced that Jeffrey Zients, a CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur, will join the administration as the Chief Performance Officer, and that Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, will serve as the Chief Technology Officer. (Watch the Video Here)
Day 88: White House To Meet with Credit Card Execs. (Apr. 17)
- Top executives of credit card companies will meet Obama administration officials next Thursday at the White House, as the industry faces the possibility of legislation aimed at curbing deceptive practices, sources familiar with the plans said. (Full Story)
- An investment company run by the Obama administration's auto task force has been accused of paying more than $1 million to an aide to New York's former comptroller in a bid to win a lucrative deal with the state pension fund. Steven Rattner was an executive at the Quadrangle Group, a private equity firm, until he left this year to lead President Barack Obama's efforts to fix the U.S. auto industry. (Full Story)
Day 87: Results of Stress Tests To Start Emerging (Apr. 16)
- The Obama administration will disclose details about its banking stress tests and what capital participants may need in a two-stage process beginning next week. (Full Story)
- Also, Obama is calling for the country to move swiftly to a system of high-speed rail travel, saying it will relieve congestion, help clean the air and save on energy. (Full Story)
- Obama made his remarks just before leaving on a trip to Latin America where he will engage in talks with the region's leaders. His first stop is in Mexico where he'll meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the two will talk about immigration issues and the ongoing violence from the drug cartels.
- Obama and his wife, Michelle, millionaires from his best-selling books, made $2.7 million last year and paid just under one-third of their adjusted income in federal taxes.
Day 86: Tax Day: President Vows to Simplify US Tax Code (Apr. 15)
- Obama seized the opportunity on tax-filing day to assert that his administration is easing the tax burden of working people. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is also drawing up plans to disclose the conditions of the 19 biggest banks in the country, according to senior administration officials, as it tries to restore confidence in the financial system without unnerving investors. (Full Story)
- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is naming a former federal prosecutor to the new post of "border czar" to oversee efforts to end drug-cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and slow the tide of people crossing illegally into the United States.
Day 85: Economy Isn't 'Out of the Woods' (Apr. 14)
- Obama is juggling a glass-half-full take on the economy with a determination to not be seen as naive about problems still washing over the business landscape. (Full Story)
- White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers refused to say whether he considered it a favorable development that Goldman Sachs intends to quickly pay back bailout funds it received from the government. (Full Story)
Day 84: Allison to Head TARP, Obama Eases Travel Limit to Cuba (Apr. 13)
- Obama will tap Fannie Mae Chief Executive Herb Allison to head the government's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, an administration official told CNBC. Allison, 65 years old, is the former chairman of investment company TIAA-CREF and was an executive at Merrill Lynch.(Full Story)
- Obama will ease limits on family travel and cash gifts from the U.S. to Cuba and allow U.S. telecommunications firms to bid for licenses on the communist-ruled island, a U.S. official said. (Full Story)
- King Abdullah II will meet Obama on 21 April in DC. The meeting will focus on efforts to reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieve a comprehensive peace in the region. Talks will also address Jordan-US ties.
- The first family has settled on a first pet—a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog that the Obama girls are naming Bo. The dog is a gift from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who owns several Portuguese water dogs himself.
Day 83: Obamas Celebrate Easter (Apr. 12)
- Obama and his family took communion as they celebrated Easter at St. John's Church in their first public worship service since the inauguration. As congregants went to the altar for communion, several stopped at the president's pew and wished Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters a happy Easter.(Full Story)
Day 82: (Apr. 11)
- The President discusses the multitude of problems and opportunities before the world through the prism of Passover and Easter. (Watch the Video Here)
Day 80: Feds to Buy 17,600 Fuel-Efficient Cars (Apr. 9)
- It may sound more like fiction than science but the Obama administration is toying with some pretty out-there ideas to counter global warming. Tinkering with Earth's climate to chill runaway global warming—a radical idea once dismissed out of hand—is being discussed by the White House as a potential emergency option, the president's new science adviser said Wednesday.(Full Story)
- Obama, saying he was committed to a strong U.S. auto industry, announced that the government would purchase 17,600 new fuel-efficient vehicles from American automakers by June 1. (Full Story)
- Obama said millions of Americans can save money by refinancing their homes and taking advantage of record low rates on fixed mortgages. Speaking at the White House, Obama on Thursday emphasized that that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have dropped to 4.78 percent. That is the lowest rate on record. (Full Story)
Day 79: Obama Returns Home (Apr. 8)
- The president returned to Washington in the early hours of Wednesday morning, bringing his lengthy debut on the world stage—including his first stop in a war zone as commander in chief—to a close. Obama didn't get European nations to step up with the kind of immediate stimulus spending that might quickly jump-start their economies and in turn boost America's, but he billed the meetings as a success nonetheless.
- In the meantime, Arabs and Muslims have been charmed by Obama's first venture into the Islamic world. "Obama is much better than Bush," Abed Taqoush, a 74-year-old flower shop owner in the Lebanese capital of Beirut said Wednesday. "Bush was a war criminal. Obama seems to be a man of peace."
Day 78: Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq (Apr. 7)
- Obama made an unannounced visit to Iraq. Obama chose to visit Iraq rather than Afghanistan because of its proximity to Turkey, which Obama just visited, said Robert Gibbs, the president's spokesman. In addition, Obama wanted to discuss Iraq's political situation with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talibani, Gibbs said. Mostly, the stop is about Obama visiting troops, Gibbs said.
Day 77: Obama Visits Turkey (Apr. 6)
- President Barack Obama sought on Monday to rebuild ties with Turkey, a Muslim country with growing clout whose help Washington needs to solve confrontations from Iran to Afghanistan.
- Obama's two-day visit was a nod to Turkey's regional reach, economic power, diplomatic contacts and status as a secular democracy seeking European Union membership that has accommodated political Islam.
- It is the last leg of his debut trip on the world stage as president. It is also his first to a predominantly Muslim country as president, a visit closely watched in the Islamic world.
Day 76: EU and US Join Forces (Apr. 5)
- The European Union said that it has joined forces with the U.S. to tackle a "severe and global" economic crisis. After a meeting Sunday with Obama, leaders of the European Union's 27 nations said they and the U.S. "are determined to work hand in hand" to put in practice decisions they made at a Group of 20 summit to counter the economic downturn.
Day 75: Financial Industry Paid Millions to Obama Aide (Apr. 4)
- Lawrence Summers, the top economic adviser to Obama, earned more than $5 million last year from the hedge fund D. E. Shaw and collected $2.7 million in speaking fees from Wall Street companies that received government bailout money, the White House disclosed Friday in releasing financial information about top officials. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, wields important influence over Mr. Obama’s policy decisions for the troubled financial industry, including firms from which he recently received payments. (Full Story)
- The President discusses the breadth and depth of the global challenges we face, as well as our potential to address them through renewed international alliances.(Watch the Full Video)
Day 74: Congress Approves Budget Plans (Apr. 3)
- The Democratic-controlled Congress Thursday approved budget blueprints embracing Obama's agenda but leaving many hard choices until later and a government deeply in the red. (Full Story)
- The new chief executive of General Motors has embraced a change of direction for the automaker and is working on a plan to make the firm viable, said White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee. (Full Story)
- Obama, traveling in Europe, issued a statement praising the votes as "an important step toward rebuilding our struggling economy." Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as president of the Senate, presided over that chamber's vote.
Day 73: McCain Blasts Obama's Plan and the G20 Goes On. (Apr. 2)
- Calling it "generational theft," Sen. John McCain blasted the Obama administration's budget proposal on CNBC Thursday as irresponsible. "We're already $10.7 trillion in debt. That's more than all the presidents combined from George Washington to George W. Bush," The Arizona Republican said.(Full Story)
- Leaders from around the globe made headway Thursday on tackling the world's worst financial crisis since the 1930s, with signs of agreements to give more money to the International Monetary Fund, clamp down on tax havens and tighten regulation over freewheeling hedge funds.(Full Story)
Day 72: Obama Plays Down G20 Splits (Apr. 1)
- Obama said there was "enormous consensus" between the world's largest developed and emerging economies on plans to haul the world out of the deepest downturn since the 1930s. In London for the G20 meetings, Obama played down any differences with France and Germany. (Full Story)
- White House said that Obama has accepted an invitation from President Hu Jintao to visit China later this year. Obama and Hu met in London ahead of the G20 economic summit. The White House also announced that Obama was accepting an invitation to visit Moscow this summer. (Full Story)
- Obama's administration remains optimistic that General Motors can restructure without going to bankruptcy court, said a senior administration official. (Full Story)
- Obama strongly supports legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate cigarettes, the White House said. The bill, poised for a vote in the House Thursday, would authorize the FDA to oversee the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry, including its advertisements and product designs. (Full Story)
Day 71: Obama's Auto Stance May Include Bankruptcy (Mar. 31)
- Obama ordered General Motors and Chrysler to accelerate their survival efforts and brace for possible bankruptcy, saying neither company had done enough to justify the taxpayer money they were seeking. (Full Story)
- Obama's thinking on the crisis facing GM has not changed since Monday, said a senior administration official. "Nothing has changed on this," the official said when asked about a Bloomberg report that the president has determined that a prepackaged bankruptcy is the best way for GM to restructure and become competitive. "This report is not accurate."(Full Story)
- Obama headed to Europe with a hefty agenda for tackling the economic crisis and seeking support for his new Afghanistan strategy on a trip that will test his global leadership. He will shift his focus to international economics and diplomacy after a heavy emphasis on domestic issues.
Day 70: GM, Chrysler Get Ultimatum From Obama on Turnaround (Mar. 30)
- Obama asserted unprecedented government control over the auto industry, rejecting turnaround plans from General Motors and Chrysler and raising the prospect of controlled bankruptcy for either ailing auto giant. (Full Story)
Day 68: Obama Announces 3 Treasury Dept. Nominees (Mar. 28)
- Obama announced he would nominate three new people for positions at the Treasury Department. The president will nominate Helen Elizabeth Garrett as assistant secretary for tax policy, Michael S. Barr as assistant secretary for financial institutions and George W. Madison as general counsel.(Full Story)
- Obama addresses the people of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota as they face down disastrous flooding. He speaks of what the government is doing, but also stresses that times of crisis like this are reminders of the need and opportunity Americans have to keep their dedication to service. (Watch the video here)
Day 67: Overhaul of Financial Markets Facing a Bumpy Road (Mar. 27)
- Obama will make his debut as president on the world stage next week with calls for global economies to use government spending to jumpstart growth and work on a reshaping of the chaotic financial system. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration's proposed overhaul of US financial market regulations may mark a turning point for the economy, but a long political struggle lies ahead. In congressional hearing rooms, in Capitol hallways where Wall Street lobbyists ply their trade, at global summits, and among ordinary Americans, basic questions will have to be answered about what kind of economy the U.S. wants. (Full Story)
- The U.S. government imposed the first increase in mileage standards for passenger cars and boosted the floor for sport utilities and pickups beginning with model year 2011 vehicles. The regulation is an abbreviated version of the initiative launched by Congress and the Bush administration in 2007 to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and cut tailpipe emissions. (Full Story)
- Obama will announce the next steps to help GM and Chrysler Monday, the White House said, amid signs of progress for GM in talks aimed at slashing its debt and cutting costs in response to slack demand.(Full Story)
Day 66: US Planning Expansion Of Financial Market Oversight (Mar. 26)
- Geithner told lawmakers that the changes are needed to fix the flaws exposed by the current financial crisis, the worst to hit the country in seven decades. The current system failed in basic, fundamental ways and has proven to be too unstable and fragile, he said. (Full Story)
Obama is holding a town hall meeting—online. Obama is taking questions in the East Room from the general public. The questions are submitted via the Internet and in person, as part of a political strategy to engage Americans directly.
Day 65: Geithner: Economic Deterioration Starting to Slow (Mar. 25)
- A panel led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker will study options for U.S. tax reform and report back to Obama by Dec. 4, said the White House budget director. (Full Story)
- Geithner said he will soon outline proposals for new, tougher requirements on major financial firms to protect the financial system and new rules to prevent financial fraud and abuse against consumers and investors. (Full Story)
- The pace of economic deterioration has started to slow down in some areas, Geithner told CNBC. “That’s promising but it’s going to take some time to work through,” he said in a taped interview. “The government is putting enough force on the economy as a whole and into the financial system so that we bring recovery back as soon as possible.” (Full Story)
- The U.S. dollar will be the global reserve currency for a "long, long time,'' said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, reiterating the Obama administration's confidence in the currency. (Full Story)
Day 64: Obama Sees 'Signs of Progress' on Crisis (Mar. 24)
- Obama said he hopes "it doesn't take too long to convince Congress" to approve new authority to oversee big, tottering financial firms. The administration is pushing the idea of an overarching regulator, such as the Federal Reserve, to have the ability to take over nonbank financial entities whose failure could topple the entire banking system. (Full Story)
- Obama will meet with about a dozen top bank chief executives on Friday, including executives from JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, according to sources. (Full Story)
- Obama said he was seeing signs of progress in his drive to lead the United States out of economic crisis as he sought to reassure recession-weary Americans he was on the right track. "We're moving in the right direction," Obama said at his second prime-time White House news conference since taking office on Jan. 20. (Full Story)
- Obama urged fellow G20 leaders to agree immediate action to boost the global economy at a London summit next month. In an article for a German newspaper, Obama called for a deal on quick fiscal stimulus measures at the April 2 meeting which he said could open the way to a global recovery. (Full Story)
Day 63: Geithner: New Plan Will Help Credit Flow (Mar. 23)
- Geithner told CNBC that the government's highly-anticipated plan to deal with troubled mortgage loans and assets is just the latest effort to stem the financial crisis. (Full Story)
- The Treasury revealed details of a highly-anticipated plan to set up public-private investment funds that will buy up to $1 trillion in troubled loans and securities at the heart of the financial crisis. Market reaction was positive with stocks—especially those of financial firms—rising around the globe, while the dollar was stable. (Full Story)
Day 62: Economy to Rebound Within a Year? (Mar. 22)
- Obama said the financial system could still implode if a large bank were to fail, and "big problems" could result if the government does not try to lessen the risk. "I think that systemic risks are still out there," Obama said in an interview on the CBS program "60 Minutes." "If we did nothing you could still have some big problems. There are certain institutions that are so big that if they fail, they bring a lot of other financial institutions down with them." (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is "incredibly confident" the U.S. economy will rebound within a year, a top adviser said before a critical week in efforts to flesh out and sell the president's recovery agenda. (Full Story)
- Geithner is set to reveal details on Monday of a plan to set up public-private investment funds that could buy up to $1 trillion in troubled loans and securities at the heart of the financial crisis. (Full Story)
Day 61: Ready to Unveil a Toxic Asset Plan (Mar. 21)
- The Treasury Department will roll out a three-part plan next week to try to cleanse the financial system of toxic assets that are clogging banks' balance sheets, according to a source familiar with the plan. (Full Story)
- Obama vowed to stick to the big-ticket items in his budget proposal but acknowledged that dollar amounts would "undoubtedly change" as Congress prepared to take up his record spending plan. (Full Story)
- Obama stepped up his weeklong defense of much-criticized Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, saying he would not accept his resignation even if it was tendered. Obama said in an interview with CBS television network's "60 Minutes" that if Geithner tried to quit, he would tell him, "Sorry buddy, you've still got the job." (Full Story)
- The Obama administration may unveil new details of its anxiously awaited financial stability as early as Monday, shedding light on how it plans to deal with the thorny problem of making a market in the toxic assets that have plagued the balance sheets of big financial firms. (Full Story)
- The President reflects on lessons from his time spent outside Washington recently, which only reinforced the four core principles in his his budget.(Watch the video here)
Day 60: Reaching Out to Iran & a "Tonight Show" Appearance (Mar. 20)
- Obama sent Iran an unprecedented videotape message offering a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement after decades of U.S. hostility to the Islamic republic.
- Obama was somber and light-hearted in an unusual appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," moving deftly from the economic crisis to the April arrival of a "First Dog" in the White House. (Full Story)
Day 59: Schwarzenegger Helps Obama (Mar. 19)
- Obama is playing a bit of divide-and-conquer this week, pitting his Republican critics in Washington against GOP governors and mayors eager for the federal money that his hard-fought stimulus plan will bring. (Full Story)
Day 58: Obama Officials Sought to Keep AIG Bonuses (Mar. 18)
- Sen. Christopher Dodd said that Obama administration officials asked him to add language to last month's federal stimulus bill to make sure the controversial AIG bonuses remained in place. Dodd told CNN that Obama officials wanted the language added to an amendment limiting bonuses that could be paid by companies receiving federal bailout money. (Full Story)
- In a new Web video, Obama is asked Americans to help him pass his $3.6 trillion budget. "I'm asking you to head outside this Saturday to knock on some doors, talk to some neighbors, and let them know how important this budget is to our future," he said in the video. (Full Story)
Day 57: Strict Limits on AIG? (Mar. 17)
- The Obama administration says it's trying to put strict limits on the next $30 billion installment in taxpayers' money for insurance giant AIG amid questions about whether it responded fiercely enough to executive bonus payments. (Full Story)
- Obama is also meeting on St. Patrick's Day at the White House with Irish political leaders intent on maintaining peace despite dissidents' violence in Northern Ireland. (Full Story)
Day 56: Obama Gives Boost To Small Businesses and attacks AIG Bonuses (Mar. 16)
- Obama said all legal measures will be taken to stop AIG execs from receiving bonuses that come from government money lent to the insurance giant.
- Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced a broad package that includes reduced small-business lending fees and an increase on the guarantee to some Small Business Administration loans. (Full Story)
- A day earlier, the president's advisers said in television interviews that they remained confident in the nation's economic fundamentals, at times adopting upbeat rhetoric the president once mocked.
- And the White House said that during his trip to California this week, Obama will appear on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. The appearance is scheduled for Thursday. He will talk about the economy.
Day 53: Obama Speaks To Business Roundtable about Banks (Mar. 15)
- Obama said the true status of bank balance sheets was not known, and he would act decisively to make sure major banks have enough money to operate.
- Obama said some of the country's largest banks are holding toxic assets, which are dragging down balance sheets and contributing to the slowdown in lending.
- "The weakened condition of some of our largest banks has implications for the entire system," he told corporate business leaders at the Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C.
- "Critical to that solution is an honest and forthright assessment of the true status of bank balance sheets, something that we've not yet had," he told the group of corporate business leaders.
- In this week's address, Obama makes key announcements regarding the safety of our nation's food. (Watch the Video Here)
Day 52: Geithner: Spending Hikes are Short-Term (Mar. 12)
- Obama's ambitious new budget faced bipartisan skepticism as key senators questioned the administration's long-term budget outlook and the deficits it envisions rising in the middle of the next decade. Geithner defended it in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, saying current increases in spending are short term and will have to be substantially reduced to get the country back into fiscal shape. (Full Story)
Day 51: Obama Targets 'Earmarks' in New Spending Bill (Mar. 11)
- Obama agreed to sign an "imperfect" spending bill to keep the government running, but he called for a crackdown on lawmakers adding "earmarks"—or pet projects—to legislation. Obama spoke about a $410 billion spending bill—passed by Congress earlier this week—which has been heavily criticized because of many earmarks. (Full Story)
Day 50: The Halfway Point (Mar. 10)
In his first 50 days, Obama has moved at a lightning pace, passing a $787 billion economic stimulus plan in his first three weeks, announcing financial rescue and housing plans, disclosing a $3.55 trillion budget, kick starting discussions on health care reform, and releasing a withdrawal plan from Iraq and a boost in troop numbers in Afghanistan.
He has also signed orders to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, tighten ethics rules for Executive Branch employees, raise fuel efficiency standards and lift the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
At the same time, there have also been problems with three Cabinet nominees who withdrew, the criticism that Obama is turning his back on his proposal for more bipartisanship and his calls for fewer earmarks, and the imminent fights over his budget blueprint and health care.
But despite the ups and downs during the first 50 days, experts argue that Obama seems to be ahead of the curve in terms of efficiency compared to some of his predecessors.
Obama’s 60 percent approval rating in the most recent NBC/WSJ poll also implies that many Americans remain satisfied with the president so far.
Day 49: Obama OKs Stem Cell Research (Mar. 9)
- Obama lifted some restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, angering many abortion opponents but cheering those who believe the study could produce treatments for many diseases.(Full Story)
Day 48: More Appointed to Treasury Department (Mar. 8)
- Obama has chosen three people to join the senior ranks of the Treasury Department, where a slow pace of hiring has put the agency on the defensive. The White House said Obama is nominating David S. Cohen to be assistant secretary in dealing with terrorist financing Alan B. Krueger for assistant secretary for economic policy and Kim N. Wallace as assistant secretary for legislative affairs. (Full Story)
Day 47: Discovering Opportunity in the Crisis (Mar. 7)
- As the dreadful economic news piles up, Obama challenged the nation Saturday to not just hang in there but rather to see the hard times as a chance to "discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis." (Full Story)
- Obama used his weekly address to detail his plans to fix our ailing economy, noting that reforming healthcare is necessary to ensure our long term fiscal health. (Watch the video here)
Day 46: Obama Touts Economic Gains (Mar. 6)
- Obama tried to highlight some good news and tout his economic plan, but the grim reality of plunging employment and faltering stock markets once again stepped on his message. Obama headed to hard-hit Ohio to attend a graduation ceremony for 25 Columbus, Ohio, police recruits whose jobs were saved by money from the $787 billion stimulus package he signed into law last month. (Full Story)
- Democrats who control the U.S. Senate were unable to round up the votes to end debate and pass a $410 billion bill to fund many government operations through Sept. 30, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.(Full Story)
- Obama will hold an event on Monday at which he will sign an executive order related to stem cells, an administration official said on Friday. (Full Story)
Day 45: Obama Team Working 'Around the Clock' (Mar. 5)
- Debt-strapped homeowners unable to afford their mortgages could get their monthly payments lowered in bankruptcy court under a controversial element of Obama's housing rescue plan. (Full Story)
- Obama's administration is working "around the clock" to form an approach to the challenges facing General Motors and the auto industry, a White House spokeswoman said. (Full Story)
- Obama invited more than 120 people to the White House to discuss how to fix the world's costliest health care system, one that still leaves millions uninsured. A broad group of doctors, patients, business owners and insurers gathered for a forum in hopes of building support for big changes in health care. (Full Story)
Day 44: New Housing Plan Launched (Mar. 4)
- Obama will order a crackdown on waste and cost overruns in U.S. government procurement that he estimates will save up to $40 billion a year, an administration official said. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration launched a $75 billion foreclosure relief plan, as new data showed one in five U.S. homeowners with mortgages owe more than their house is worth. (Full Story)
Day 43: Stimulus Package Looking Hopeful? (Mar. 3)
- The stimulus package may pack a big punch in the current crisis because households and businesses struggling to get credit are more likely to spend the money, a top White House adviser said. (Full Story)
- Obama said he saw little hope of near-term improvement in the U.S. economy after a staggering drop in gross domestic product in the final three months of last year. (Full Story)
- The Senate voted overwhelmingly to preserve thousands of earmarks in a $410 billion spending bill, brushing aside Sen. McCain's claim that Obama and Congress are merely conducting business as usual in a time of economic hardship. McCain's attempt to strip out an estimated 8,500 earmarks failed on a vote of 63-32. (Full Story)
- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will press Obama for details on his plans to fix the ailing U.S. financial sector in talks that will focus on the global economic crisis. The two leaders will also discuss ways to tighten lax financial regulations, a major topic for the summit of the Group of 20 developed and emerging economies that Brown will host in London on April 2. (Full Story)
Day 42: Health Reform Positions Nominated (Mar. 2)
- Obama named Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to lead his ambitious health reform effort. He also named former Clinton administration health official Nancy-Ann DeParle to serve as head of the newly created White House Office for Health Reform, which will help coordinate Obama's health reform agenda with Congress. (Full Story)
- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hopes to forge an alliance this week with Obama to combat the global financial crisis and reinforce what London calls its special relationship with Washington. Brown will be the first European leader to meet Obama since he was inaugurated. (Full Story)
Day 40: Big Budget Fight Ahead (Feb. 28)
- A combative Obama warned he was bracing for a fight against powerful lobbyists and special interests who sought to pick apart the $3.55 trillion budget he wants to advance his agenda of reform.(Full Story)
- Your Weekly Address: Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight. (Watch the video here)
Day 39: Obama's Tax Breaks Applauded (Feb. 27)
- The Obama administration's autos task force demonstrated a "genuine willingness" to understand the plight of GM and the restructuring plan it has submitted to the government, the company said. (Full Story)
- Many Americans applauded the spending plans and tax breaks set out in Obama's record budget, while others questioned the yawning deficit it would entail. (Full Story)
- Obama nominated Jon Leibowitz to be chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, the White House said. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is trying to walk a public relations tightrope in aiding the banking industry. On one side is an angry electorate that wants to see a wounded financial services industry embarrassed and penalized. On the other is a group of powerful institutions whose survival and revival are critical to the success of the President’s costly and controversial economic stimulus plan.(Full Story)
Day 38: Additional $250 Billion Needed to Help Financial System? (Feb. 26)
- Obama has forecast a 2009 deficit of $1.75 trillion in a budget proposal that sets goals of overhauling the healthcare system and shoring up the US economy. (Full Story)
- Obama will propose further tax increases on the affluent to help pay for his promise to make health care more accessible and affordable, calling for stricter limits on the benefits of itemized deductions taken by the wealthiest households. (Full Story)
- Obama is sending Congress a "hard choices" budget that would boost taxes on the wealthy and curtail Medicare payments to insurance companies and hospitals to make way for a $634 billion down payment on universal health care. (Full Story)
- Banks that are big enough to destabilize markets should be subject to tighter regulatory oversight, and some rules ought to be internationally agreed, said White House economic adviser Paul Volcker. (Full Story)
- Obama penciled into his budget the possibility that he may request an additional $250 billion to help fix the troubled financial system. The figure, described as a "placeholder" and not a specific funding request, would support asset purchases of $750 billion via government financial stabilization programs, administration officials said. (Full Story)
Day 37: Obama Lays Out Reform Plans, House Approves $410 Billion Legislation (Feb. 25)
- With one of their own in the White House, Democrats in Congress are moving to give domestic government agencies 8 percent more money, on average, to spend this year atop the whopping $787 billion in economic stimulus funds. (Full Story)
- Obama's budget chief Peter Orszag said that economic stimulus money approved by Congress must be spent "quickly and wisely" if the administration is to boost the economy and create 3.5 million jobs. (Full Story)
- Obama nominated Gary Locke to be U.S. commerce secretary, turning to a West Coast politician with a history of working with China after his two previous nominees backed out. (Full Story)
- Obama called on Congress to send him legislation that places a market-based cap on U.S. carbon polluting emissions and pushes the production of more renewable energy. (Full Story)
- Financial institutions that pose a serious risk to markets should be subject to serious government oversight, said Obama. Obama also said: "But let me be clear—the choice we face is not between an oppressive government-run economy and a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism. (Full Story)
- Obama and Geithner plan to lay out broad principles for Wall Street regulatory reform aimed at preventing a repeat of the current financial crisis, said an administration official. (Full Story)
- The Democratic-controlled House approved $410 billion legislation that boosted domestic programs, bristled with earmarks and chipped away at policies left behind by the Bush administration. (Full Story)
Day 36: Obama's Speech & A New Commerce Secretary (Feb. 24)
- Obama will tell Americans in his first major speech that "we will rebuild, we will recover" from the worst economic crisis in decades. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face and take responsibility for our future once more," Obama will tell a joint session of Congress according to advance excerpts of his speech. (Full Story)
- Former Washington state governor Gary Locke will be announced as the nominee for the Secretary of U.S. Commerce on Wednesday, according to a White House official. (Full Story)
- Obama sought to strike a delicate balance between hope and reality on Tuesday to reassure Americans mired in economic crisis that they would survive a "day of reckoning." (Full Story)
Day 35: Obama's Economic Summit (Feb. 23)
- Calling for fiscal restraint even while federal spending soars, President Obama pledged to dramatically slash the annual budget deficit and announced $15 billion in Medicaid money to states from his $787 billion economic stimulus package.
- Obama summoned allies, adversaries and outside experts to a White House summit to address the nation's future financial health one week after signing into law the gargantuan stimulus measure designed to stop the country's economic free fall and, ultimately, reverse the recession now months into its second year. By Obama's own account, the new law will add to this fiscal year's deficit, which the administration projects will be $1.5 trillion.
- Gary Locke, a former governor of Washington state, is the "likely nominee'' for U.S. commerce secretary. Locke, a Democrat, is the third nominee for the post. The first two, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Republican Senator Judd Gregg, withdrew their names from contention. (Full Story)
Day 34: Obama to Set Big Goals in First Budget (Feb. 22)
- Obama's budget this week will set out big goals: to rescue the economy from freefall, expand U.S. health care coverage and move within a few years to slash huge deficits. The budget, due out on Thursday, will indicate Obama's timeline for achieving many of the domestic priorities he pushed during the campaign. (Full Story)
Day 33: Obama Begins Tax Cuts (Feb. 21)
- Obama ordered the Treasury to implement tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans, fulfilling a campaign pledge he hopes will help jolt the economy out of recession. Obama will allow tax breaks given to wealthier Americans under his predecessor, George W. Bush, to expire in 2010 as scheduled rather than eliminate them sooner, an administration official said Saturday. (Full Story)
- Your Weekly Address:Obama announces that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will start having an impact as soon as a few weeks from now, in the form of the quickest and broadest tax cut in history. (Watch the video here)
Day 32: Obama's Adviser: Crisis May be Worse than Depression (Feb. 20)
- The global economy may be deteriorating even faster than it did during the Great Depression, said Paul Volcker, a top adviser to Obama. Volcker noted that industrial production around the world was declining even more rapidly than in the United States, which is itself under severe strain. (Full Story)
- The White House is trying to help people who have been "victims of the unforeseen circumstance" with their mortgages, Jared Bernstein, chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, told CNBC. (Full Story)
Day 30: Obama Unveils $275 Billion Housing Plan (Feb. 18)
- Obama unveiled his much-anticipated plan to fight the housing crisis, pledging up to $275 billion to help stem a wave of foreclosures sweeping the country. (Full Story)
- Obama’s decision to act as his own “car czar” means that in the next few months he faces decisions no American president has made since the invention of the automobile. The most urgent among them: whether two of America’s three surviving domestic carmakers should be forced into bankruptcy, how many more concessions should be extracted from unions that helped propel him into the Oval Office and, perhaps, even what kind of cars will be produced in the United States. (Full Story)
Day 29: Stimulus Signed into Law (Feb. 17)
- Obama signed a $787 billion economic stimulus bill into law as global markets plunged on fears that the recession would deepen despite government action in many countries. (Full Story)
- Financially strapped General Motors and Chrysler raced to finish restructuring plans that must be submitted to the Obama administration by the end of the day as part of efforts to keep America's biggest carmakers afloat. (Full Story)
- Obama’s plan to reduce the flood of home foreclosures will include a mix of government inducements and new pressure on lenders to reduce monthly payments for borrowers at risk of losing their houses, according to people knowledgeable about the administration’s thinking. (Full Story)
- Obama will release his first budget proposal on Feb. 26. The administration will release an outline of the budget for the 2010 fiscal year. A more detailed version will be released later in the year. (Full Story)
Day 28: White House Wants Changes in Exec. Pay Rules (Feb. 16)
- Facing a stricter approach to limiting executive bonuses than it had favored, the Obama administration wants to revise that part of the stimulus package even after it becomes law, said White House officials. (Full Story)
Day 26: Your Weekly Address (Feb. 14)
- In the weekly address, Obama celebrates the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act while keeping his eyes on the tough road ahead. (Watch the video here)
Day 25: House Approves Stimulus Package (Feb. 13)
- The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts aimed at rescuing the struggling economy. (Full Story)
- Larry Summers, a top economics adviser to Obama says the $790 billion stimulus plan set for a final congressional vote will help, but that it isn't a "silver bullet" to cure the problem. He called the bill "complex" and said getting it through Congress is a credit to the president's leadership. (Full Story)
Day 24: Key Stimulus Dispute Settled. Sen. Gregg Withdraws (Feb. 12)
- Congressional leaders are ironing out the final details of the $789 billion economic stimulus legislation at the heart ofObama's recovery plan, resolving a dispute over school construction as they pushed toward a vote in the House. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is hammering out a program to subsidize mortgages in a new front to fight the credit crisis, sources familiar with the plan told Reuters Thursday, firing financial markets. In a major break from existing aid programs, the plan under consideration would seek to help homeowners before they fall into arrears on their loans. Current programs only assist borrowers that are already delinquent. (Full Story)
Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary, citing "irresolvable conflicts" with Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census. (Full Story)
Day 23: Stimulus Pact Reached (Feb. 11)
- Congressional negotiators reached agreement on a $789 billion package of spending and tax cuts, handing a big victory to Obama in his effort to pull the economy out of a tailspin. But in a possible last-minute snag, negotiators delayed a meeting to vote on the compromise so lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives could be briefed. (Full Story)
- The Treasury Department will soon release documents providing information about the lending activities of the biggest 20 financial firms receiving government aid under the TARP plan. The first so-called “TARP intermediation snapshot” documents will be released Feb. 17 and on a monthly basis thereafter, according to Treasury spokesman Isaac Baker. (Full Story)
- Lawmakers urged Geithner to provide more details on how much taxpayer money the Obama administration's bank rescue plan ultimately will cost. Geithner declined to speculate on the likelihood the administration will ask for more funds beyond the roughly $350 billion remaining in the original $700 bailout program, but he told the Senate Budget Committee that further requests are possible. (Full Story)
Day 22: A New Bank Bailout Plan (Feb. 10)
- The US Treasury Department unveiled a revamped financial rescue plan to cleanse up to $500 billion in spoiled assets from banks' books and support $1 trillion in new lending through an expanded Federal Reserve program. (Full Story)
- A compromise stimulus package to revive the U.S. economy now hinges on negotiations between Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Senate and House have passed competing bills calling for $838 billion and $819 billion respectively in new spending and tax cuts. (Full Story)
- The Treasury's latest financial-rescue plan is expected to use a variety of methods to take bad assets off of banks' books, including encouraging private firms to buy up the toxic debt, sources told CNBC. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration's financial-rescue plan will contain a number of measures meant to ease the credit crunch, including a public-private initiative to take bad assets off of banks' balance sheets, mortgage loan and foreclosure relief and a new consumer lending initiative, according to the government's summary of the plan. (Full Story)
Day 21: Stimulus Bill Passes Crucial Senate Test (Feb. 9)
- An $838 billion economic stimulus bill backed by the White House survived a key test vote in the Senate despite strong Republican opposition, and Democratic leaders vowed to deliver legislation for Obama's signature within a few days. (Full Story)
- The comprehensive financial plan to be announced Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will include an expanded loan facility that will purchase newly issued and newly rated Commercial mortgage-backed securities and private-label mortgage-backed securities, all AAA rated, CNBC has learned. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration pushed back the announcement of a keenly awaited bank rescue plan until Tuesday as it pressed lawmakers to settle their differences over a huge economic stimulus package. (Full Story)
- Obama insisted that only government can jolt the economy out of deep recession and offered an olive branch to longtime foe Iran, scrapping years of past U.S. policies. (Full Story)
Day 20: Stimulus Package This Week? (Feb. 8)
- Top aides to Obama urged Democratic and Republican lawmakers to set aside political differences and give anticipated final approval this week to a massive economic stimulus package this week. (Full Story)
- Geithner has postponed his bank bailout plan announcement to Tuesday to allow Congress to focus on economic stimulus legislation, the Treasury Department said. (Full Story)
Day 19: Obama Demands Speed on Stimulus (Feb. 7)
- In the weekly address, Obama commends the progress the Senate has made on moving the recovery plan forward, and urged its completion. (Watch the video here)
- Obama pounded Republicans for policies that fueled the U.S. economic crisis, while welcoming a Senate deal on his stimulus bill that ideologically split lawmakers hope to finish by mid-month. Obama said quick action on the package was imperative to avoid catastrophe and praised the group of moderate senators from both political parties for coming up with a compromise. Senate Democrats agreed late Friday to trim spending proposals and support tax cuts in a roughly $800 billion bill. (Full Story)
Day 18: Strengthening the Economic Stimulus Plan (Feb. 6)
- Obama named an advisory panel led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to help guide his efforts to rescue the economy and rebuild the shattered U.S. financial system. (Full Story)
- Geithner will announce on Monday a "comprehensive plan" to stabilize the financial system. In a news conference, Geithner will laid out a "strategy to strengthen our economy by getting credit flowing again to families and businesses." The plan will include an aid package for the banking industry, according to a well-informed source. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is talking with automakers and their suppliers about the U.S. Treasury rescue program for the industry but has made no decision to expand aid to the auto industry. The suppliers have presented three options to U.S. officials that taken together would add up to some $25 billion in assistance. (Full Story)
- Obama plans to participate in town hall-style meetings next week in two cities that have struggled amid the crumbling economy. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama plans to visit Elkhart, Ind., on Monday to tell residents what his $900 billion stimulus plan would mean for them. (Full Story)
Day 17: Stimulus Bill Debate Continues (Feb. 5)
- Obama urged action on a $900 billion stimulus bill before Congress to stave off "catastrophe", as a surge in the number of new jobless benefit claims pointed to an economy in deep recession. (Full Story)
- The US Senate neared a vote on a huge economic rescue package of tax cuts and new spending sought by Obama, with moderate senators saying the final bill should be around $800 billion.(Full Story)
- The Obama administration has decided on a new package of aid measures for the financial services industry, including a bad bank component, and is expected to announce it next Monday, according to a source familiar with the planning.(Full Story)
- Geithner will convene his first meeting as Chairman of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, but the expanded gathering also will include top banking regulators and White House economic adviser Larry Summers.(Full Story)
Day 16: Obama Imposes New Pay Rule (Feb. 4)
- Obama imposed tough new rules to rein in corporate pay, capping executive compensation at $500,000 a year for companies receiving taxpayer funds and limiting lavish severance packages paid to top officials. (Full Story)
- Republicans tried to push back against the ballooning size of Obama's stimulus plan, even as he warned that the financial crisis will turn into "a catastrophe" if the bill isn't passed quickly. Obama summoned centrist senators to the White House to discuss a plan to cut more than $50 billion in spending from the measure, which breached the $900 billion barrier in the Senate. (Full Story)
- An ex-aide to Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg is under investigation for allegedly taking baseball and hockey tickets from a lobbyist in exchange for legislative favors. This comes at a particularly bad time for Obama's administration, a day after he had to defend his selection process because two high-profile nominees withdrew due to tax problems. (Full Story)
Day 15: Withdrawals, Withdrawals. But the Show Goes On (Feb. 3)
- Former Senator Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The action comes after Daschle admitted failure to pay past taxes. "Now we must move forward," Obama said in a written statement accepting Daschle's request to be taken out of consideration. (Full Story)
- Obama's choice to oversee budget and spending reform, Nancy Killefer, also withdrew her nomination Tuesday because of tax reasons, according to a letter released by the White House. (Full Story)
- A group of Republican senators offered a $445 billion alternative plan to boosting the ailing economy, about half of which would be in the form of tax cuts. The stimulus package would include cutting payroll and income taxes for a year, as well as lowering the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 25 percent and offering home buyers a tax credit worth $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration is still struggling with the details of a bad bank concept that is expected to be part of a package of industry and consumer measures to be unveiled next week, according to a source familiar with the situation.(Full Story)
- New U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he would prosecute Wall Street crime but was not planning any "witch hunts" despite mounting outrage among Americans over corporate excess. "We're not going to go out on any witch hunts," Holder told reporters. (Full Story)
Day 14: Obama Targets CEO Pay (Feb. 2)
- The Obama administration indicated that it will not unveil new measures to aid the financial services industry this week, but will instead move on the issue of Wall Street bonuses and executive compensation. (Full Story)
- Fighting to save his Cabinet nomination, Tom Daschle pleaded his case in a closed meeting with former Senate colleagues after publicly apologizing for failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes. Obama said he was "absolutely" sticking with his nominee for health secretary, and a key senator added an important endorsement. (Full Story)
Day 13: Obama's Bill 'Wastes a Ton of Money': Sen. Kyl (Feb. 1)
- The U.S. Senate's No. 2 Republican warned his party's support for Obama's economic stimulus bill was eroding and "major structural changes" were needed to win Republican support. "You have to start from scratch and reconstruct this," said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona. He said the proposed bill, with a price approaching $900 billion, "wastes a ton of money." (Full Story)
- Discussions between the Obama administration and financial industry representatives continued for a third day with the focus moving to new terms on lending, transparency and executive compensation for companies receiving financial aid, according to a source familiar with the situation. (Full Story)
Day 12: Your Weekly Address (Jan. 31)
- In this week's address, Obama urged the swift passage of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan and announced that Geithner is preparing a new strategy for reviving the financial system, which will not only ensure that CEOs aren't abusing taxpayer dollars, but also get credit flowing and lower mortgage costs. (Watch the video here)
Day 11: Obama Administration Meets with Wall Street Execs. (Jan. 30)
- Officials from the Obama administration held meetings with Wall Street executives on how to create a new government bank to buy bad assets from major financial firms. However, people with direct knowledge of the talks said there is no consensus on how such an entity would work or whether a plan could materialize any time soon or possibly ever. (Full Story)
- Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire confirmed that Obama may nominate him as U.S. commerce secretary. A source said Obama had backed off Silicon Valley executive John Thompson, who just days ago was viewed as the front-runner. (Full Story)
- The Obama administration said it expects the U.S. House to approve legislation that would delay until June the planned nationwide transition to digital television. The Senate has approved legislation to delay the transition because of worries that some 20 million mostly poor, elderly and rural households that have older television sets receiving analog signals are not ready for the change. (Full Story)
Day 10: Obama: Wall Street Bonuses are 'Outrageous' (Jan. 29)
- Obama said it is "irresponsible and shameful" for Wall Street bankers to be paid huge bonuses at a time when the America is dealing with economic hardship. He reacted harshly to reports that corporate employees got paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year. Obama said he and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will have direct conversations with corporate leaders to make the point. (Full Story)
- Vice President Joe Biden told CNBC that the final stimulus bill, which is now in the Senate, will "get better," and he "expects Republicans to vote for it." "We're not giving up on bipartisan support," Biden said. Biden went on to say that the bill may end up having additional infrastructure spending and tax cuts but didn't say what those tax cuts might be. (Full Story)
- Gov. Rod Blagojevich was unanimously convicted at his impeachment trial and thrown out of office, ending a nearly two-month crisis that erupted with his arrest on charges he tried to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich becomes the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed by impeachment. (Full Story)
Day 9: Stimulus Package Passes Vote in House (Jan. 28)
- Moving with remarkable speed, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved $819 billion in spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of Obama's economic recovery program. Unhappy Republicans, however, said the bill was short on tax cuts and contained too much spending, much of it wasteful and unlikely to help laid-off Americans. (Full Story)
- Obama met with business leaders to keep up a lobbying campaign for passage of his economic plan, which could be the signature domestic initiative of his first term as he struggles to deal with the worst financial crisis in decades. Obama said it was important to act swiftly to boost the troubled U.S. economy, adding that it was facing "enormous problems." (Full Story)
- Republicans in the House, however, offered an alternative proposal to boost the struggling U.S. economy. The cost of their proposal is approximately $478 billion. (Full Story)
Russia has halted a plan to retaliate against a proposed U.S. missile defense shield by stationing its own missiles near Europe's borders. The suspension of plans, if confirmed, would show Russia is extending an olive branch to Obama after rocky relations under his predecessor. (Full Story)
Day 8: The Stimulus Package Plan Moves Forward (Jan. 27)
- Obama said he wants the House to pass legislation that hits his goal of spending 75 percent of the $825 billion stimulus plan within 18 months. The bill that the House is considering would only spend 64 percent of the money in that period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. (Full Story)
- Geithner announced new rules to limit lobbying by companies that receive government financial assistance in one of his first moves after being sworn into office. The rules restrict lobbyist contacts in connection with applications for or disbursement of the Treasury's $700 billion bailout program. The rules will use as a model the protections that limit political influence on tax matters, and require the Treasury to certify each investment decision is based only on investment criteria and facts of the case. (Full Story)
- Symantec president John Thompson is Obama's top choice for commerce secretary.White House spokesman Gibbs said a final decision had not been made. Obama had previously nominated New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to fill the commerce post, but Richardson withdrew on Jan. 4 in the face of a legal inquiry. (Full Story)
Day 7: Obama's New Climate Policies (Jan. 26)
- Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars, reversing the climate policies of former President George W. Bush. (Full Story)
- Timothy Geithner won confirmation as U.S. Treasury secretary and vowed to act quickly to protect the U.S. economy from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.However, some lawmakers were disturbed by Geithner's late payment of $34,000 in self-employment taxes to vote against the nominee even though they felt he was well suited for the job otherwise. (Full Story)
Day 5: Your Weekly Address (Jan. 24)
- In his first weekly address as President, Barack Obama discusses how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will jump-start the economy. (Watch the video here)
Day 4: Stimulus Package by President's Day? (Jan. 23)
- President Barack Obama said Friday it appears Congress is "on target" to approve a massive new stimulus package by Feb. 16th, President's Day. Obama met with top Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday and said the stimulus package working its way through Congress would be only one leg of an "at least three-legged stool." He said the government needed to move "swiftly and aggressively" as the economy and the financial system struggle. (Full Story)
Auto industry supporters in Congress asked Obama to support another $25 billion in federal loans to help the industry make more fuel efficient cars, seeking over $4 billion in grants and loan guarantees. The White House said Obama and his advisers will evaluate the needs of automakers after reviewing their viability plans in mid-February. (Full Story)
KENYA MEETS KANSAS
Barack Hussein Obama was born in the two year old US state of Hawaii to a white American mother and a black Kenyan father. Obama Sr. grew up herding goats in a small Kenyan village where school was a tin-roof shack. Obama Sr. married and had one son. But in 1959, Obama Sr. left his newborn son and his again pregnant wife for a scholarship at the University of Hawaii. This would not be the last time ambition came before family. It was there that the University’s first black student met the Kansas born, Ann Dunham. Despite the differences in their personalities, Obama Sr. was an assured intellectual whereas Ann was awkward and shy, the couple married. At the time, Ann was three months pregnant. Obama Sr. lied to her that he’d divorced his African wife and mother of four of his children. Six months later, in Honolulu, on 4 August 1961, Barack Obama was born.
But Obama Sr. again put academia before his second family by leaving for a Harvard scholarship. Ann was just 20 when he left. Barack was just two. Obama Sr. and Ann soon separated and in 1964, she filed for divorce.
Ann met another student, Lolo Soetoro. They married and after two years moved to Soetoro’s native Indonesia in 1967. From the relative affluence of Hawaii, the six year old Barack was now confronted every day on his doorstep with the extreme poverty of a Third World country. Within six months, Barack was fluent in the local language. Each day started at 4am with his mother waking him to give him additional English lessons before Catholic school. His Muslim stepfather taught him everything from how to change a flat tyre to opening in chess. He imbued Barack with the values of Islam but didn’t convert him. His mother Ann was raised Christian but taught her son to be sceptical of religion.
In 1970, his mother had a daughter. When he was ten, Barack returned to Hawaii with his mother where he secured a scholarship. There was just one other black student at his school.
Barack’s father visited him just once.
DRUGS, DRINK & MALCOLM X
When Barack’s mother returned to Indonesia, her parents raised him. His grandparents tried their best during his basketball playing teenage years which often saw drinking and drug use, including marijuana and ‘blow’, American slang for cocaine. Politically, he was attracted more to Malcolm X than Martin Luther King. In 1979, Barack enrolled at college in Los Angeles. His mother divorced Soetoro.
THE STUDENT YEARS
Finally based in America, Obama transferred to New York to study political science at Columbia University. In 1982, he received news of his father’s death in a car accident in Africa. After over a year in the corporate sector, in 1985, Obama moved to Chicago and did three years as a community organiser. In a place devastated by steel plant closures, he represented the unemployed and homeless. And every year there, he saw how gun violence cost the lives of scores of children and hundreds of others.
It was there that he attended a sermon by the radical Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It caused him to weep. (Entitled ‘The Audacity to Hope’, he adapted it for his breakthrough speech at the Democratic Convention and for his second book.) At the time, Obama seriously considered becoming a preacher.
Instead, he went to Harvard Law School. He hoped it would enable him to achieve the things that grass roots activism couldn’t. Before beginning his studies, he went to Kenya to meet his father’s family and better understand his African heritage. Back in America, in 1988 he met his future wife Michelle Robinson, at that time an attorney. A descendent of slaves, she was immersed in the issue of race. And as her best friend was the daughter of the civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, she could introduce Barack to the Democratic political classes.
FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT
In 1990, Obama became President. Albeit the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. For the first time, Obama made the news nationally. In 1992, he ran a voter registration campaign which secured 100,000 new voters, mostly from the African American community. It helped elect the first female African American Senator. That same year he married Michelle. They would later have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
In 1994, his mother Ann was diagnosed with cancer. Ann moved back to Hawaii to live near Obama’s now widowed grandmother. His grandmother buried her daughter in 1995. Ann’s difficulty in paying for her medical bills as she died directly informed her son’s later attempts to reform the American health care system. That year, on the back of his rising profile, Obama published his first book, ‘Dreams from My Father’.
RISE AND DEFEAT
In 1996, Obama was elected as State Senator for Illinois from the 13th district, which encompassed mostly impoverished areas of Chicago's south side. To secure the position, he had to defeat a former ally. Such actions showed he had the political muscle to take power. In 1999, unlike his father had done, Obama put his family first when his daughter became ill. In staying with her, he missed a crucial vote on gun control. Partly as a result of his absence, the gun control measure failed. It would cost him, and others, dearly.
In 2000, Obama took on former Black Panther, Bobby Rush, a well known fourth term incumbent, in the Democratic primaries for the US House of Representatives. Rush destroyed him. Obama later said his earlier gun vote absence had eliminated any slim chance he had of victory. Rush’s son had been shot the year before by a drug dealer. Some, however, believed Obama’s absence was career motivated. Back then, few professional American politicians progressed very far with a hard line on gun ownership. Rush would be the last politician to beat Obama in an election.
‘THERE IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’
In 2003, Obama launched his campaign to be elected to the US Senate. An early opponent of the Iraq war, he impressed potential President John Kerry enough to be invited to give the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004. In it, the 42 year old Obama explicitly rejected the division of America into blue liberal and red conservative states. Instead of an America divided into Democrat and Republican states, he said he believed only that ‘there is the United States of America’. Obama went on to win his Senate seat by a landslide of 70 per cent against his Republican rival. Obama was sworn in as senator in 2005.
As a senator, Obama served on the Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee. One of the first laws he helps pass allows voters to go online and see where their taxes are spent.
As a candidate in the Democratic Primaries in 2007, Obama went head to head with Hillary Clinton. In 2008, he won. The Republican he then had to beat was the elderly war vet John McCain. McCain countered the novelty appeal of Obama by for the first time ever, making the Republican Vice President nominee a woman. But Sarah Palin was even more inexperienced than Obama. And Obama’s mere two years in the Senate wasn’t an issue for a young electorate weary of two terms of George W Bush.
As McCain withered, and Palin imploded, Obama gained ground. Significant victories included Ohio, a virtually all white state. The day before the Presidency was announced, Obama’s grandmother, the woman who had raised him during his difficult teenage years, died from cancer.
BYE-BYE PRESIDENT BUSH
On 4 November 2008, Obama made history. He secured 52.9 per cent of the popular vote. The new President assembled his team making his old adversary, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state.
Within days he ordered the military to start preparing to withdraw from Iraq, a war started by Bush. He also reversed Bush’s ban on federal funding to foreign establishments allowing abortion. He would also later reverse Bush’s limitations on funding stem cell research and repeal a two decade old law of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' that banned openly gay people from the military. And in a country where many deny climate change, Obama championed alternative energy. But ever the politician, he saved the troubled car industry, securing jobs: And future votes.
‘GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR. ’
. is an extract from the poem engraved in the Statue of Liberty. But in the world’s wealthiest nation 49 million live below the poverty line. Nearly 1.5 million children are homeless. And almost one in seven Americans are without health insurance. Health reform, including the reduction in ballooning costs, was one of Obama’s key election promises.
In 2009, despite huge opposition, he covered an additional four million uninsured children with healthcare provisions. But in 2010 the Republicans retook the House of Representatives - where federal legislation is passed- ensuring other reforms could either be blocked or neutered.
OBAMA V OSAMA
In his first Presidential year, Obama had been named as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. And he did indeed end the American mission in Iraq. This, however, was no pacifist President.
In 2011, he ordered the revenge killing of the architect of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden. And partly through the controversial use of drone attacks, Obama would come close to strategically defeating al-Qaeda. His intervention in Libya, unlike Bush’s, had international support, and again unlike Bush, relied on air power rather than ‘boots on the ground’. It directly led to the fall of Gaddafi.
But American elections are largely decided on domestic issues, not foreign. His support of gay marriage won over many of his supporters but further alienated many Republicans. And despite inheriting the worst economic crisis since the 1929 Depression, many thought it would be the stagnating economy that would lose him the 2012 election.
Obama’s Republican rival was the business millionaire, and ex Mormon missionary, Mitt Romney. It was expected to be close. It wasn’t.
Romney’s business past proved to be a liability rather than an asset. Obama’s team painted him as part of the elite that had put the country into decline and then profited from the recession. Then there were further questions over Romney’s tax returns. And Romney was further damaged when it was alleged that he’d been connected to the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries. And whereas Obama sought to unite, Romney was revealed to believe in divisions with his comments that he believed nearly half the country were dependent on state aid.
In November 2012, Obama again won.
I’LL GIVE YOU MY GUN WHEN.
. you pry it from my cold, dead hands’ was a saying popularised by the hugely influential National Rifle Association. The NRA lobbies for the Second Amendments right to ‘bear arms’. In December 2012, the saying again became a grim reality after Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children, six staff, and then himself, at the suburban Sandy Hook Elementary School. The atrocity joined a long list of school spree killings.
When Obama called for gun reform the NRA responded with a call to arm teachers. Then in January 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15 year old girl was shot dead near Obama’s home. The week before she’d performed at his second inauguration. Her killing highlighted the huge urban death toll from guns even in a state with some of America’s strictest gun laws. His reforms called for a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks on gun license applications.
Obama is the first President in well over a century to come from an urban background and to see gun reform through the prism of the city, rather than the countryside. But the hugely popular gun lobby argues that America protected its first families, established its independence and helped free the Western world from Nazism and totalitarian Communism, all at the point of a gun.
Obama took on healthcare reform in his first term in one of the world’s worst recessions and gun control in his second when Republicans had rarely felt so defensive. Few believed he could achieve his goals.
But it wouldn’t be the first time that America’s first African American President achieves the seemingly impossible.
The President's Apology Tour
President Barack Obama has finished the second leg of his international confession tour. In less than 100 days, he has apologized on three continents for what he views as the sins of America and his predecessors.
Mr. Obama told the French (the French!) that America "has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive" toward Europe. In Prague, he said America has "a moral responsibility to act" on arms control because only the U.S. had "used a nuclear weapon." In London, he said that decisions about the world financial system were no longer made by "just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy" -- as if that were a bad thing. And in Latin America, he said the U.S. had not "pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors" because we "failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas."
By confessing our nation's sins, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Mr. Obama has "changed the image of America around the world" and made the U.S. "safer and stronger." As evidence, Mr. Gibbs pointed to the absence of protesters during the Summit of the Americas this past weekend.
That's now the test of success? Anti-American protesters are a remarkably unreliable indicator of a president's wisdom. Ronald Reagan drew hundreds of thousands of protesters by deploying Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe. Those missiles helped win the Cold War.
There is something ungracious in Mr. Obama criticizing his predecessors, including most recently John F. Kennedy. ("I'm grateful that President [Daniel] Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old," Mr. Obama said after the Nicaraguan delivered a 52-minute anti-American tirade that touched on the Bay of Pigs.) Mr. Obama acts as if no past president -- except maybe Abraham Lincoln -- possesses his wisdom.
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What is So Special About a US President's First 100 Days?
More than three months after being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, President Joe Biden will soon pass a milestone: his first 100 days in office.
On Friday, April 30, administration officials, reporters, the general public and Biden himself will mark the benchmark. But many Americans and people overseas may be wondering what is so special about a president’s first 100 days.
Despite the attention to the day, nothing in U.S. law or the U.S Constitution gives any significance to a president’s first 100 days.
In fact, there is nothing inherently more important about a president’s first 100 days in office than, say, the second 100 days or any other time differentiation of a president’s four-year term, which totals 1,461 days.
However, while the 100-day mark is mostly an arbitrary milestone, it has nevertheless become an important symbolic marker when news organizations, political analysts and academics consider how a new president’s administration is doing. The first 100 days often gives an indication of a president’s management style, priorities and speed in implementing campaign promises.
Why 100 days?
For more than 150 years of American presidential history, no one was particularity interested in a president’s first 100 days. That changed, however, during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was first elected in 1932, during the Great Depression.
Roosevelt set out to make significant and quick changes in economic and social policy, through both legislative and regulatory actions.
On taking office, he summoned the U.S. Congress to a three-month special session and, by the end of his first 100 days, had passed 76 new laws, mostly aimed at easing the effects of the Depression.
Shortly after taking office, Roosevelt also gave the first of many so-called “fireside chats” in which he spoke directly to the American public over the radio and explained in simple terms how he was trying to solve the country’s problems.
In one fireside chat, the president noted how busy and important his first 100 days had been. The term stuck.
Since then, U.S. presidents have understood they will be measured by how ambitious and successful their first 100 days in office are.
While the 100-day milestone is mostly arbitrary, the early days of a presidency can be a choice time for new presidents to make big gains in their agenda. A new president is usually still popular with the public, and lawmakers often have incentive to cooperate with a new leader, creating an opportunity for a president to pass major legislation.
While many presidents have pushed through legislation at the beginning of their first term, historians have found that no modern president has done as much in the first 100 days as Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Roosevelt faced the unique circumstances of entering office during the Great Depression, the likes of which other presidents had not encountered.
As a result, many presidents try to lower expectations about what they can do in their first 100 days. As President John F. Kennedy said at his 1961 inauguration ceremony, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
One of President Barack Obama’s senior advisers, David Axelrod, called the 100-day benchmark the “journalistic equivalent of a Hallmark holiday” because it attracts a lot of fanfare but has no real significance.
Biden’s report card
Like Roosevelt, Biden also took office during a time of crisis — with the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world — and has sought to quickly act as president.
In his first 100 days, Biden has signed a host of executive orders relating to the pandemic and pushed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through Congress.
Biden’s goal of administrating 200 million COVID-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days was met early, allowing the president to double his promised doses.
According to an Associated Press tracker, Biden has fulfilled or started to fulfill all his key campaign promises concerning fighting the coronavirus. Overall, the AP finds Biden has fulfilled 25 out of 61 promises and has started on 33 others.
In terms of the number of laws passed, Biden has signed 11 bills in his first 100 days, according to the website GovTrack, a relatively low number, with only George W. Bush signing fewer in modern history. The presidents who passed the most laws in their first 100 days after Roosevelt were Harry Truman, with 53, Kennedy, with 26, and Bill Clinton, with 22.
Biden has signed the most executive actions, which do not require passage through Congress, after Roosevelt, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The project says Biden has signed more than 100 executive orders, memoranda or proclamations since taking office. Before Biden, former President Trump held the No. 2 spot, with more than 85.
While a president’s first 100 days are an important indication of how a president is faring, they do not always indicate what actions a leader will take later in their term.
In fact, many observers point out that the major issues previous presidents faced often came much later in their terms. For example, George W. Bush had been president for more than 200 days when terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. President Ronald Reagan was in his second term when he famously called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Roosevelt was also equally defined by events happening later in his presidential term: In 1941, he led the United States into World War II.
Credit: Evan Vucci/AP-File
- Signed an executive order designed to address federal overreach in education. The order calls for a study of K-12 regulations to be issued early next year.
- Signed a repeal of two Obama-era regulations, one dealing with the Every Student Succeeds Act accountability rules and another dealing with teacher-preparation requirements.
- Repealed Obama-era guidance designed to ensure transgender students could access the locker rooms and restrooms matching their gender identity.
- Released a new U.S. Department of Education template for states’ plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Trump hasn’t approved a signature piece of K-12 policy legislation, although the repeal of the ESSA accountability rules crafted by Obama’s Education Department could have a notable impact on how states approach the law, which kicks in this coming school year. He has promoted school choice and later this year might push for legislation to expand it.
In July 2004, after delivering a stirring keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama burst onto the national political scene, later winning a landslide victory to become a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He became only the fifth African American in congressional history to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961, the son of Barack Obama, Sr., and Ann Dunham Obama. Barack, Sr., an economist, was born and raised in Kenya and grew up raising goats with his father, who was a domestic servant for the British. 1 He met and married Ann Dunham, who grew up in a small town in Kansas, while both were students at the University of Hawaii. When Obama, Jr., was two years old, his father left to attend Harvard. Soon thereafter his parents divorced. He lived for a while in Jakarta, Indonesia, when his mother remarried to an Indonesian oil manager. The family resettled in Hawaii, where Obama attended the Punahou Academy. From 1979 to 1981, he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, before completing a bachelor of arts in political science at Columbia University in 1983. He moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church–based group that sought to improve living conditions in impoverished neighborhoods. He then attended Harvard Law School, serving as the first African–American president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1991, he graduated with his J.D. and married the former Michelle Robinson. The couple have two daughters, Malia and Sasha. 2
Obama entered local politics through his work as a community activist in a blighted South Side Chicago neighborhood. He practiced civil rights law and lectured at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois state senate. He served in that capacity from 1997 through 2004, pushing through a state earned income tax credit and an expansion of early childhood education. In 2000, he unsuccessfully challenged four–term incumbent U.S. Representative Bobby Rush in the Democratic primary for a seat representing most of Chicago’s South Side.
In 2004, after incumbent U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican, announced his retirement, Obama joined a crowded field of candidates in the Democratic primary for the open seat. He garnered 53 percent of the vote, topping two favored candidates—State Comptroller Daniel Hynes and a wealthy securities trader, Blair Hull (who spent $29 million on his campaign). Obama emerged as a national figure during that campaign, delivering a rousing keynote address on the second night of the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2004, when he dared Americans to have “the audacity of hope.” He explained, “It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs. The hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores. . . . The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.” Obama won a landslide 70 percent of the vote against Republican candidate Alan Keyes. 3
When Obama took his seat at the start of the 109th Congress (2005–2007), he received assignments on three committees: Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works, and Veterans’ Affairs. In the 110th Congress (2007–2009), Obama left the Environment and Public Works panel and earned two additional committee posts: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. During the 110th Congress he also served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs.
During his first three years in the Senate, Obama focused on issues such as lobbying and ethics reform, veterans’ benefits, energy, nuclear nonproliferation, and government transparency. From his seat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Obama secured disability pay for veterans and advocated greater services and assistance for returning service members who served in Iraq. As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Obama sought to reinvigorate a national dialogue about developing more–energy–efficient vehicles and alternative energy sources. On the Foreign Relations Committee, he worked with then–Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana to initiate a new round of nonproliferation efforts designed to find and secure nuclear and conventional weapons around the world.
In 2008, Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination. On November 4, 2008, he was elected the 44th President of the United States, defeating the Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, with 53 percent of the vote. As President–Elect, Obama resigned from the Senate on November 16, 2008. He won re-election in 2012 to a second term as President.
President Joe Biden’s first 100 days: ‘He makes Barack Obama look like Ted Cruz,’ Mike Lee says
Then Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Stewart answered the question on President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.
Stewart’s immediate response to a viewer’s question during a joint online town hall Wednesday was a laugh and a wry smile.
“Stop me. I’m laughing,” he told Lee as they sat in the senator’s office.
Lee offered for Stewart to answer first but he deferred.
“If we were to rate the president’s first hundred days in office on the scale of doing what his progressive, left-leaning based wants, then I’m sure his score would be off the charts. Look, he’s making Barack Obama look like Ted Cruz,” Lee, R-Utah, said.
“This guy is moving so far to the left, it’s not even fair to everybody else who wants to occupy the space of the left’s greatest champion.”
Both Lee and Stewart have found little with Biden to agree on from coronavirus relief to voting reform, though they both have lauded his plan to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Utah delegation disagrees with Biden’s executive action on guns
Sen. Mike Lee condemns Biden administration immigration policies, heads to southern border for firsthand look
Lee said he’s finding a lot less to agree on than he expected to when Biden was elected.
“He ran, he sometimes presented himself to the American people as something of a centrist. He’s governing like anything but that,” Lee said.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021. Al Drago, Associated Press
Stewart, R-Utah, said Biden presented himself as “somewhat incompetent, kind of beyond his prime.” He said that persona pacified people and blinded them to the president’s “incredibly radical” policies in his first 100 days.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., gives Biden high marks, Stewart said, but he and Lee not so much.
“You’ve got to give him credit for being aggressive and being fast and being furious and being radical,” Stewart said.
“I’ll give him that,” Lee replied. “And on that count, I’ll give him 100%. It’s just not the kind of score I prefer.”
In Chicago DSA's New Ground, Danny Davis was described only as.  .
. certainly not foreign to Chicago DSA. From the very beginning, he has always been willing to help: appearing as a speaker with Michael Harrington, serving as a Master of Ceremonies without peer at the annual Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner.
. not as the full fledged Democratic Socialists of America member he actually was.
Barack Obama was given an extensive profile that covered his work with Project Vote, Developing Communities Project and Annenberg Challenge Grant, his education, community activities, education and work for Judson Miner.