Obama's First 100 Days: What He's Done So Far
The economy will determine whether Barack Obama achieves what few presidents have: a far-reaching change in American politics that might even earn its own title and legacy.
Will there be an Obama version of the New Deal, the Great Society or the Reagan Revolution?
Afghanistan, North Korea and other foreign hot spots certainly will test Obama. But the deeply troubled economy is his signature challenge and the focus of his greatest efforts, attention and gambles in his first 100 days in office.
Of course 100 days is just the start, too little time to determine the results (let alone the wisdom) of his decisions. But it's enough time to discern the path Obama has chosen, the overarching philosophy that will shape his administration and history's eventual judgment of it.
In a way, Obama is reversing the famous dictum of President Ronald Reagan, who said government is the problem, not the solution.
Confronting the worst economic crisis in more than a half-century, Obama is dramatically increasing the government's role in overseeing banks, helping homeowners avoid foreclosure and even determining who runs General Motors or merges with Chrysler. Pouring billions of dollars into the efforts, he is stoking a huge federal deficit that could haunt him, and the nation, if it does not recede sharply in the next few years.
In the meantime, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham 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 President Barack Obama, Clinton said the U.S. no longer doubts the urgency or magnitude of the problem.
"The United States is fully engaged and ready to lead and determined to make up for lost time both at home and abroad," Clinton said at the start of the two-day meeting. "The United States is no longer absent without leave."
Additionally, 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, President Barack Obama said Monday. Obama promised a major investment in research and development for scientific innovation, saying the United States has fallen behind others.
"I believe it is not in our character, American character, to follow—but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development," Obama said in a speech at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.
Obama said that U.S. cases of swine flu were "not a cause for alarm" but the administration was monitoring them closely.
Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:
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.