Blogs > HNN > April 29, 2009: President Obama's First 100 Days

May 4, 2009 9:58 pm

April 29, 2009: President Obama's First 100 Days


White House Photo collage


In Focus: Stats

  • Key events in Obama's first 100 days - AP, 4-27-09
  • CBS Poll: Blacks support Obama 96-0: Not surprisingly, President Obama’s approval numbers on the 100th day are very high. At 68%, the latest CBS/NYT poll shows widespread support for President Obama as a person, and the job he is doing. When you remove the Rasmussen daily tracker, which skews negatively for Obama for some reason, Obama’s average job approval is in the high 60s.
    But the CBS poll also broke the numbers down by race. Obama’s 62 percent approval rate among whites is very impressive.
    Among blacks, Obama’s job approval number is 96 percent, with zero disapproving. Four percent register DK/NA. - Moderate Voice, 4-27-09 CBS News
  • Poll Suggests Obama's Term Is Altering Views on Race: Barack Obama's presidency seems to be altering the public perception of race relations in the United States. Two-thirds of Americans now say race relations are generally good, and the percentage of blacks who say so has doubled since last July, according to the latest New York Times/ CBS News poll.
    Despite that, half of blacks still say whites have a better chance of getting ahead in American society, the poll found. Black Americans remain among the president's staunchest supporters; 70 percent of black respondents now say the country is headed in the right direction, compared with 34 percent of whites.... - NYT, 4-27-09
  • As Nation's Mood Lifts, Can Obama Capitalize?: The most striking finding from the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll released today is the change in the public mood. Since Barack Obama was elected president in November, the pervasive gloom of 2008 has given way to a sense of hopefulness and considerably more optimism about the state of the country. How much of this change is directly attributable to Obama's leadership rather than the nascent signs of improvement will become fodder for the cable shows as the president's 100th day arrives this week. What's important is that he now enjoys the power of public confidence. He will need all the backing he can muster as he moves into what is likely to be an even more difficult phase of his presidency....
    mong Democrats, 71 percent say the country is going in the right direction -- the first time since 1999 that figure has hit the 70 percent mark. Among independents, 44 percent are positive -- the highest since the fall of Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Republicans are far more pessimistic, with 27 percent saying the country is going in the right direction -- but that's still double what it was in February. - WaPo, 4-25-09
  • Poll: Public thinks highly of Obama: His opening months in the Oval Office have fortified Barack Obama's standing with the American public, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, giving him political capital for battles ahead. As his 100th day as president approaches next Wednesday, the survey shows Obama has not only maintained robust approval ratings but also bolstered the sense that he is a strong and decisive leader who can manage the government effectively during a time of economic crisis.
    Since October, the percentage who see Obama as a"strong and decisive leader" has jumped 12 percentage points, and his image as an effective manager has gone up 11 points.
    Now, 56% say he has done an"excellent" or"good" job as president vs. 20% who rate him as"poor" or"terrible." An additional 23% say he has done"just OK."
    His excellent/good rating on national security is 53%. On the economy, it is 48%. - USA Today, 4-23-09
  • RCP Poll:
    President Obama Job Approval: RCP Average: +30.3% Approve 60.8% Disapprove 30.5%
    Congressional Job Approval: RCP Average: -25.5% Approve 33.8% Disapprove 59.3%
    Direction of Country: RCP Average: -24.1% Right Direction 34.7% Wrong Track 58.8%
  • Adviser: Obama's First 100 Days Most Productive Since FDR: Senior White House adviser says the president's 100-day marker is not Biblical and the administration won't rest after it's reached the milestone. The Obama White House doesn't"subscribe to the legitimacy" of the 100-day metric for presidential progress, but is mighty satisfied with the new president's accomplishments."This isn't Biblical," a senior White House adviser said of the 100-day marker."You don't do 100 days and rest." Even so, this senior official, a long-time adviser to the president who spoke on the condition he not be quoted by name, said"you would be hard-pressed to find another administration that's done so much in such a short period of time. It's been a very productive 100 days." For most of the 45-minute session the White House adviser spent with a small group of reporters, the suggestion that Obama had been more productive than Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his first 100 days (the president whose scale of activity first generated 100-day assessments of subsequent presidencies) was left on the table. When asked if that was the proper interpretation, the adviser said Obama's had been the most productive since FDR.... - Fox News, 4-21-09


The Headlines...

  • Welcome to FOX News' Review of the First 100 Days of the Obama Administration: is offering a week-long series of stories leading up to President Obama's 100th Day in office. - Fox News, 4-23-09
  • Sizing Up Obama's First 100 Days: The most important thing we now know about Barack Obama, after nearly 100 days in office, is that he means to confront that way of life directly and profoundly, to exchange sand for rock if he can. Whether you agree with him or not — whether you think he is too ambitious or just plain wrong — his is as serious and challenging a presidency as we have had in quite some time.... Time, 4-23-09
  • For the Media, 100-Days Story Represents the Perfect Swarm: It is, says Joe Klein, a"flimsy journalistic conceit." But that didn't stop him from writing Time's cover story on President Obama's first 100 days, part of a vast wave of calendar-driven coverage washing over the media landscape."One of the things I've been thinking about is the impatience of the press," says Klein, who noted the conceit in his story."People cast judgment too quickly on Obama. I'm remembering back to how impatient I was with Bill Clinton, in an unfair way."... - WaPo, 4-27-09
  • 100 days: the test of a leader or a journalistic 'Hallmark holiday'?: As President Obama prepares to mark his 100th day in the White House, he acknowledged Monday that the nation might not reach one of his major environmental goals for a while longer: 15,000 days, or 41 years. That's how long it could take for the nation to cut its carbon emissions by 80%, Obama said during an appearance at the National Academy of Sciences. His caution plays into the administration's efforts to deflate expectations about what he reasonably could have solved by Wednesday. The White House initially downplayed the 100-day benchmark -- one of his senior advisors, David Axelrod, called it the"journalistic equivalent of a Hallmark holiday." But now, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says, the administration is"playing along." On Wednesday, Obama will take part in a town-hall-style event in St. Louis and a prime-time news conference from the East Room of the White House. Every major broadcast network but Fox will air the news conference live.... - LAT, 4-27-09
  • First 100 Days: Social Policy Takes a Left Turn Under Obama: During his first 100 days as president, Barack Obama's reversal of contentious social regulations has garnered little attention -- leaving many to wonder how much social issues matter to Americans amid two wars and an economic crisis.... - Fox News, 4-27-09
  • John King: Second 100 days will be bigger test for Obama: As introductions go, it has been a fast-paced, fascinating first 100 days: an ambitious domestic agenda aimed at reinvigorating the economy and the government's reach into its workings, and several provocative steps on the world stage that, like at home, signal a clear break from the previous administration. It is the second 100 days that will give a much more comprehensive test of President Obama's approach, his resilience -- and his effectiveness.... - CNN, 4-24-09
  • Obama uses 100 days to build foundation: Barack Obama has used his first 100 days in office to set a foundation for the rest of his presidency. Time will be the judge of how successful his early months have been in resolving major U.S. challenges. Obama, whose move into the White House came with high expectations, has given hope to Americans that better days lie ahead, showing himself in command of the issues and displaying an easy-going maturity that many might not have expected from the 47-year-old. His supporters are ecstatic about him.... - Reuters, 4-26-09
  • In First 100 Days, Obama Flips Bush Admin's Policies From Gitmo to Stem Cell Research, Obama Veers Away From His Predecessor's Policies: As he approchaes his 100 days in office, President Obama has demonstrated a clear departure from his predecessor. From relaxing marijuana enforcement laws to releasing torture memos, the new administration has moved rapidly to revoke and alter policies that marked the legacy of the Bush team.... - ABC News, 4-25-09
  • Obama's First 100 Days: Rising Hopes, Partisan Politics ABC News-Washington Post Poll: 50 Percent Say Country's Headed in Right Direction: Barack Obama approaches the 100-day mark with rising economic hopes, the best job approval rating at this point in 20 years, the broadest personal popularity since Ronald Reagan and half of Americans now saying the country's headed in the right direction. His problem: The other half don't.... Click here for a PDF with charts and questionnaire. - ABC News, 4-25-09
  • As 100th Day Nears, Obama Takes Hoopla and Runs With It: When it comes to the whole 100 Days hoopla, President Obama and his team were against it before they were for it. To hear the White House tell it, Mr. Obama never much cared for the idea of marking his 100th day in office, next Wednesday. A trumped-up journalistic convention, senior aides called it. (O.K., they have a point.)"Not a ton different than the 99th," declared Mr. Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs."A Hallmark holiday," said a senior adviser, David Axelrod. But even as they professed their disdain for the pseudomilestone, Mr. Obama's advisers have quietly embraced it. Through a meticulously planned schedule — a town-hall-style meeting in St. Louis on Wednesday, followed by a prime-time news conference — and sophisticated management of the news media, the White House is harnessing the insatiable public appetite for all things Obama and turning the 100 Days moment to the president's advantage.... - NYT, 4-24-09
  • First Lady in Control of Building Her Image: Vogue magazine, the fashion world's chronicler of first ladies, bedecked Hillary Rodham Clinton in black velvet and Laura Bush in blue silk. But not Michelle Obama. She insisted on choosing her own dress (a sleeveless, magenta silk number) and using her own hair and makeup stylists for the glossy photograph splashed across Vogue's March cover. This was nothing new for Mrs. Obama, who has pointedly controlled her look on the covers of People, Essence, More and O, Oprah Winfrey's magazine.... - NYT, 4-25-09
  • Fox sticking with schedule instead of Obama: Fox became the first broadcast network to turn down a request by President Barack Obama for time, opting to show its drama"Lie to Me" on Wednesday instead of the president's prime-time news conference. Fox will direct viewers interested in the news conference to Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network, which will both carry it. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC are all carrying the 8 p.m. EDT event, on Obama's 100th day in office.... - AP,4-27-09
  • President Obama Requests May Sweeps Timeslot: President Barack Obama has asked to make a prime-time appearance during May sweeps. White House officials have requested up to an hour of airtime for Wednesday, April 29, according to TV Week. The press conference, which falls on the 100th day of Obama's presidency, will probably air in the 8 o'clock hour and address questions of the president's performance. Broadcast networks have not yet announced their response, but a source said that they will most likely agree to the administration's request. Will you tune in to President Obama's"100 Days" press conference? Or have there been too many already? - TV Guide, 4-23-09


Political Quotes

  • Weekly Address: Calling for Fiscal Discipline: This week 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. Listing off several specific changes he intends to bring, he describes his guiding principle:"To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent."... - WH Blog, 4-25-09 - Transcript: WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Announces Steps to Reform Government and Promote Fiscal Discipline


Historians' Comments

  • Larry Berman, Stephen Knott, Russell Riley, Al Felzenberg, Gerhard Peters: How Obama's first 100 days stack up: Historians agree on one thing when it comes to evaluating a president's first 100 days: The exercise is an artificial, often superficial construct. It's too short of a time to seriously measure anything substantive about a presidency, and not an indicator of future success.
    "If the country is focused on the Bush torture program all summer it is going to be a huge distraction," said Larry Berman, a professor of political science at UC Davis who teaches a course on Obama's first 100 days."The people who don't realize this, I think, are the people who supported Obama from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party."... - SF Chronicle, 4-27-09
  • LOU CANNON, ROBERT DALLEK, ROGER MORRIS, JEAN EDWARD SMITH and RICHARD REEVES"Obama at 100 Days": For three months, five presidential historians have been writing online columns comparing Barack Obama's initial 100 days in office with those of some of his modern predecessors'. These are their final installments. The full series, along with an interactive timeline of presidential history can be found in the 100 Days blog. NYT, 4-25-09
  • LOU CANNON"In Reagan’s Debt": Obama, too, is misunderstood by critics as an ideologue. - NYT, 4-25-09
  • ROBERT DALLEK"Think Big, Even in Defeat": Memories of L.B.J. have faded, but his stamp on society remains. - NYT, 4-25-09
  • ROGER MORRIS"New Address, Same Politician": Nixon was done in by character: his and that of those around him. - NYT, 4-25-09
  • JEAN EDWARD SMITH"Changing the American Mind": President Obama has led people to re-think their assumptions. Just like F.D.R. - NYT, 4-25-09
  • RICHARD REEVES"Saved by the Cold War": When it comes to mistakes, it’s hard to top J.F.K.'s early days. - NYT, 4-25-09
  • Julian Zelizer:"Obama dominates in first 100 days": "It is clearly the most ambitious agenda at least since the 1960s," said Princeton University historian and political scientist Julian Zelizer...."He is going to have to deal with that ambitious agenda in the totally polarized domestic political environment," said Zelizer. - AFP, 4-26-09
  • Julian E. Zelizer: What Obama Has Shown, So Far, About His Style of Governing": The penchant for tightly concentrated executive-branch clout is in line with recent trends in the American presidency."There's been a fear of delegating too much to agencies that started during the conservative revolution and intensified after Hurricane Katrina," said Julian E. Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University."Like his immediate predecessors, Obama wants decision-making focused on his inner circle. If he's successful, he won't change this pattern."....
    "Obama's campaign was idealistic and firmly rooted and made you lose sight of the fact he's pragmatic and not stuck on one way to reach his objectives," said Princeton's Zelizer."At times, he seems torn between what to do, and on foreign policy you see his approach is to feel his way around. But he’s not allowing advisers to dictate what he does at this point." - CQ Politics, 4-26-09
  • Ivan Eland: Don't judge Obama's legacy on first 100 days: The media have been focusing, almost obsessively, on President Obama's first 100 days. But it's important to remember that the presidency is a marathon, not a sprint. Much could get done during the first 100 days, but more than 1,300 days will follow in a president's first term. And what's important is what the president does with all his days.
    If he establishes a legacy of peace, prosperity and liberty, he should be judged a success. If he pushes policies that flaunt the Constitution, expand government beyond its proper role, undermine our economic and individual liberties or lead us unnecessarily into conflict, he will have failed - no matter how charming he is, how effectively he leads or how many Facebook friends he has....
    Presidents should be judged on results. And results should be measured not by the number of new laws passed, the size of a stimulus bill or the number of jobs added or saved during the president's term. Results should be measured by the degree to which his actions, or his deliberate inaction, contribute to peace, prosperity and liberty.
    Most Americans want Obama to succeed. But success involves more than just getting things enacted. We should expect Obama to stay true to the Constitution, protect the value of the dollar and see that our government lives within its means. Using the power of government to print and borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to lavish favors on selected companies, industries and special interests is not how you do this. - SF Chronicle, 4-25-09

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