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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.

CNBC.com

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.

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)

Day 3: House Considers Obama’s Plan (Jan. 22)

  • The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday began debating $20 billion in energy tax credits and related financial incentives that are in the Obama administration's plan to revive the American economy. (Full Story)
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the house next week would consider the $825 billion economic stimulus package sought by Obama. (Full Story)
  • The Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Geithner to head the U.S. Treasury, overlooking concerns about his underpayment of some $34,000 in taxes and clearing the way for a final vote on his nomination in the full Senate. (Full Story)
  • Obama, who worried after winning office that he would have to part with his BlackBerry because of security concerns, will get to keep the email device after all. (Full Story)

Day 2: Back to Business (Jan. 21)

  • In a day flurry of activity, Obama set up shop in the Oval Office, summoned advisers to begin dealing with war and recession and ordered new ethics rules for "a clean break from business as usual." (Full Story)
  • Obama froze salaries for top White House staff members earning $100,000 or more, about 100 people in all. (Full Story)
  • In his phone calls to Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian leaders, Obama emphasized that he would work to consolidate the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. (Full Story)
  • Obama imposed the New Freedom of Information Act rules, making it harder to keep the workings of government secret. (Full Story)
  • Obama also imposed tighter ethics rules governing when administration officials can work on issues on which they previously lobbied governmental agencies, and banning them from lobbying the administration after leaving government service. (Full Story)
  • Geithner testifies to the Senate Financial Committee and apologizes for his tax mistakes. He also comments on Obama’s economic stabilization plan. (Full Story)

Day 1: Inauguration Day (Jan. 20)

  • The first African-American U.S. president swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against a backdrop of a deep economic downturn, a trillion dollar federal deficit and fears of more bank losses. (Full Story)
  • Wall Street ushered in the Barack Obama presidency with a record Inauguration Day slide amid fresh signs the global bank crisis was far from over. An index of bank stocks lost almost 20 percent on fears of more losses. The Dow fell over 300 points to end below 8,000. The S&P slid more than 40 points to finish around 800 and the Nasdaq tumbled over 80 points to close around 1,450. (Full Story)

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