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President Barack Obama meets with former President George H. W. Bush in the Oval Office, Feb. 15, 2011
9:15AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing Oval Office
12:15PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet for lunch Private Dining Room
1:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY honor recipients of the 2010 Medal of Freedom in a ceremony
4:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of Defense Gates Oval Office
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2016–2017)
This is a list of presidential trips made by Barack Obama during 2016 and early 2017, the eighth and final year of his presidency as the 44th President of the United States.
This list excludes trips made within Washington, D.C., the U.S. federal capital in which the White House, the official residence and principal workplace of the President, is located. Also excluded are trips to Camp David, the country residence of the President, and to the private home of the Obama family in Kenwood, Chicago.
Your Doubting Thomas
Almost three years ago, I was one of the roughly 100,000 people in Grant Park celebrating the election of Barack Obama. However, today, if the Wall Street Journal polled me on President Obama, I would say I disapprove of the job he’s done as president.
I’m not alone. Early Tuesday morning, two new polls came out showing President Obama’s approval ratings at an all time low. ABC News/Washington Post poll has his approval at 43% with disapproval ratings of 53%. NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has his approval at 44% with a disapproval rating of 51%.
73% of those polled in the NBC/WSJ poll felt the nation was on the wrong track while 19% thought the nation was headed in the right direction.
I’m left wondering who is that 19 percent?
President Obama has some real problems if I’m flirting with Mitt Romney. I’m a left leaning, black, urban professional with a law degree. Thinking back to 2008 and the type of voter Obama did well with, I hit all of the demographics: I’m black, college-degreed and live in an urban center (Chicago at that). If I’m thinking of abandoning him, then he has some real problems.
The reason I’m reading Mitt Romney’s economic plan is because it doesn’t appear Obama has one. He’s been in office well over two years and he has to give another speech on his jobs plan? Unemployment has been over 9% for two years. Why don’t I know about his jobs plan already?
And the drama about the speech highlights his real problem: the President of the United States has no spine. The President of the United States wanted to give his jobs speech on Wednesday but backed down after Republicans condemned him for his timing. I am bone tired of the President wanting to do something, Republicans blasting him for it and him backing down. It doesn’t matter what he does, Republicans will blast him he needs to act like he’s the President rather than getting permission from John Boehner to take a piss.
Would George W. Bush change the timing of a speech to placate Democrats?
Another example: President Obama wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Republicans argued that security would be compromised and the prison is still open. Question: If President George W. Bush wanted to close Guantanamo Bay, would it still be open?
As much as President Bush’s policies can be questioned at least he knew he was the President and acted like it. Instead acting like the President and leading Americans, Obama tries to build consensus by giving speeches and delegates everything to Congress. Think about the debt ceiling debate, he implored Congress to get him a proposal instead of creating and fighting for his own plan. The same is true with his landmark piece of legislation, health care. Republicans mistakenly call it Obamacare, like he was the one who created it. It should be called Pelosicare. Like everything else, Obama gave speeches imploring Congress to pass universal healthcare and then went off somewhere hoping Congress would give him something sign.
It is a very long time until Americans decide whether Barack Obama is a one-term president. A lot of things can happen which could sway Americans back into his camp. But if Barack Obama really wants to continue being the President of the United States, he needs to get someone in the Oval Office to teach him how to act like it. If he starts acting like the President, rather than whining about Congress (which is more vulnerable than he is) and delegating everything to it, his approval ratings might go up.
Thanks for saying. I speak from personal experience when I say that any and all negative talk about Obama is looked at as either racist or self-hating(uncle-tom). So get ready to bashed by a demographic that is emotional attached to the president. These people don't believe in logic.
I disagree with Evan. The reason America elected the best qualified candidate who happened to be African American was because the majority of voters aren't clueless and were fed up with Politics as usual.
However, the past couple years has been politics as usual, with 80% of campaign promises dumped in the name of bipartisan politics. Hence, if the Presidential election were held today, the turnout wouldn't be nearly as high and the President could forget about receiving 90% of African Americans votes.
Since Obama actually has gone on with "politics as usual", it means that "the majority of voters [who] aren't clueless" actually ARE clueless. I and the others who voted against him saw his high-flown rhetoric was just that, rhetoric. We were not the clueless ones.
When you voted against President Obama three years ago, you voted for having Sarah Palin one heartbeat away from being the leader of the free world?
Voting against that scenario does show collective wisdom among the majority of voters.
That being said, Presidential elections only come around once every four years. Whether the President is reelected or not, he will certainly feel the dissatisfaction of his performance (from low voter turnout) of those who currently support him.
Wrong. Palin, despite her flaws, would never have done as much damage as Obama. Oh, and by the way, McCain is still alive - she would still be VP and doing about the same as Biden doing the presidential dirty work with an occasional amusing gaffe.
Oh yeah like having biden and pelosi (at one point) a heart beat away. Oh so much better. LMFAO! Let alone we have an idiot for president by the name of obama who doesn't have a clue WTF he's doing and never will. He continues to decline the quality of the american way of life. "SO HOW'S THAT HOPE & CHANGE WORKING FOR YOU?" LMFAO
John, thanks for reading and commenting. I disagree with you that the president is solely responsible for the decline of the American way of life. No single president can ever be responsible for the decline of American life. If our way of life is declining, and you certainly can make a good argument it is, its not up to the president to save us-- it's up to us.
So if Obama is driving the car into a ditch, you can either stay in the car and continue bitching about the driving or get out and help the rest of us push!
Brian you seem a bit more enlightened than the normal liberal, but you are still missing the point. Obama likes to blame Bush for the troubles now and after 2 years now he likes to blame the congress. The facts are that Bush had a liberal congress and senate for his last 2 years. And Obama had the same for his first 2 years to do what ever they wanted. So while Obama might only be 1/3 responsible then you have to say the say about Bush don't you? But when the liberals control all 3 branches of government then the they are 100% responsible.
What if we think the road is on the other side of the car from where Obama thinks it is?
obama is giveing guns to brown people so the us people dies and take over tx and the us army can stop them for comeing and put obama in jail
Well, I agree on your "Uncle Tom" analysis because I see read you & and Brian T. are clearly two. You and B. Thomas manage to put a little coin in your pockets and forget the struggles that come with being a Black in America..Let alone a Black President (the 1st at that) in still what is "White America". You think Obama can play by the same rules as Bush or his predecessors? Get a clue! Of course he can't..that's why the Republicans show the blatant disrespect, contempt, and down right treason that they do. He has to play the balanced, tempered, non-finger pointing figure that has been. White America is watching..he can't fall into the angry "Black Man" trap the Republicans are baiting him do. You sell out selfish Niggas sicken me with your continued "Slaved mindsets". Now Obama is weak & feeble because he's not doing the typical nigga response and going off the deep end? It takes a strong man to temper his emotions, weather the slights, endure the critics, and ride out the storm..All w/o negativity. You have no clue just how strong Obama truly is. He gets it! Unfortunately, you so called Successful Black Men of today (What a joke!) don't!!
You're just plain wrong, CWilly. I didn't vote for Obama, but it has absolutely nothing to do with race. My wife and I said when Obama was elected, "OK, he won, so we'll give him a fair chance". Well, he's blown it with his socialist agenda, giving money to his buddies at General electric and Solyndra, and his dismal, pathetic job with the economy. Not to mention his class warfare (again, the socialism).
It's time to beat Obama with a Cain.
You need to clean up your language moron, your premise that the Democrats ever treated Bush with any respect whatsoever is indicative of your ignorance.
Thank you Straightshot it's nice to see that some people in here actually have some common sense.
It is not racial to want someone as President that is not on hard left.
Would you rather have someone who has had no experience creating jobs,certainly not a community organizer but
a good business man who has and knows how to get this country going again, that is not racial these are facts.
you are an idiot. lemme guess you have to vote for him cause he is black? so if all the whites vote for romney because he is white is that ok? hell no you would scream racism from the hills. the few responsible african american conservatives are open minded truth seekers. you are a racist yourself. and obviously mentally challenged.
got to see this 2min video and pass it on ,,Get Out - Patriot Super PAC
Is there some GOOD reason why a black man it woman shouldn't do well for themselves and their families? Is there something wrong with being successful? In America, anyone can do well if they set their mind to it, and WORK HARD. As for obama, nobody gives a damn if he's black!! HE is the one who keeps making it an issue. He is COMPLETELY clueless about America.
Got to see this 2 min video,Get Out - Patriot Super PAC
I still approve of President Obama's track record. Maybe that's because as a leftie, I thought of him as a middle of the road alternative to the unmitigated disaster that would have been a McCain presidency. Now, in spite of the best efforts of Congress to make sure Obama wouldn't be allowed to get us back on track, we're making economic progress. If they GOP really had their way, we'd be in the biggest depression to ever hit this country. We're not. And that's why I'm voting for him again.
The difference between a recession and a depression:
A recession is when you're out of work.
A depression is when I'm out of work.
Obviously, you're still working, and can thus afford to vote for four more years of the Obama administration.
I'll take a pass, thank you.
Clever, but pretty far off the mark. No pun intended. Perhaps if you're unemployed it's more of a reflection on you and not the president. Without the stimulus a lot more people might be in the same boat as you. In any case, we were in a recession no matter how depressed you may be personally.
"Perhaps if you're unemployed it's more of a reflection on you and not the president."
I'm sure that there are a whole gaggle of NASA scientists and technicians who would vehemently disagree with you.
Uhhh. you didn't get the memo? The stimulus created ZERO JOBS!
"Perhaps if you're unemployed it's more of a reflection on you and not the president."
Oh sure, my degree from a T50 university, professional certification and 10 years experience working for two Fortune 500 companies is just not enough for me to land a position.
I interviewed with three companies recently. Two out of the three decided not to hire any candidate for the position. So if companies are placing ads, however decide to hold off hiring new staff, how is that a reflection of the job hunter?
Do you have any idea how ignorant your statement is?
Now it is everybody's fault but Obama, get a grip.
WHAT economic progress are we making? I am a registered nurse and have been for 19 years and I WAS LAID OFF!! Nurses, yes nurses are losing their jobs left and right. Medicare, medicaid cuts, doctors tripling the amount of patients they are seeing due to these cuts hospitals cutting back. You call this progress? Why don't you check out dailylayoffs.net and see the amount of people losing their jobs. I have applied for every job I can think of. waitress, housekeeper, dog walker, bus cleaner, retail and was offered a job doing home care as a NURSING ASSISTANT making $8.00/hr. I wish the public was aware of the falsification of this nursing shortage. Everyone thinks anything in healthcare is recession proof. WRONG! Since Obama got into office, NOTHING IS RECESSION PROOF. If OBAMA has his way. we will be in a depression in the blink of an eye. I have relatives in Europe living under socialized medicine (OBAMA'S plan) and let me tell you it's horrible. You better "hope and pray" Obamacare does not go through, because God forbid it does, you better "hope and pray" you don't get sick. Been there, done that and I know what it's like. Do you want to wait four months to see a doctor for a simple infection? And you approve of his "TRACK RECORD"? You contradict yourself because then you say "in spite of the best efforts of Congress to make sure Obama wouldn't be allowed to get us back on track". SO, WE'RE STILL OFF TRACK. "Making economic progress". show me the proof.
I'm a court reporter and I couldn't agree more. I'm working with attorneys who thought the legal profession was recession proof -- wrong. I have had attorneys tell me they are thinking about getting a second job. Some court reporters have left the profession b/c people aren't paying their bills. My income has declined every year for the past few years. This president's policies are to blame, I believe.
Cheryl you are the perfect example of clueless. I guess that you forgot that liberals had control of congress and senate for the last 2 years of Bush and the first 2 years of Obama. So for the first 2 years of Obama in the white house they could do whatever they wanted. So you approve of high unemployment, more regulation to hurt business, more reliant on energy from foreign countries and more spending than all the past presidents. Oh and also higher debt than we have ever seen. But you go on thinking that this current congress is what is keeping up off track. You are a typical uninformed voter that just follows the liberal media and believes everything that they tell you.
Couldn't disagree more with you Cheryl to place sole blame on the GOP and Congress is over simplifying our current gridlock problems. Communication is a two way street, and if I recall correctly, Obama was quite adversarial in 2009 during the Heads of State Address. I knew right there once Obama publically called out the GOP during a major public addresses, I knew we were going to be in for a very long four years. The POTUS should have set a more professional, less adversarial tone, especially being in office for only eight months.
You also fail to acknowledge that when elected, Obama was working with the 111th Congress which both parts were Democrat majority. The GOP also only controls the House—the Repubs are still a minority in the Senate. Democratic Senators and Representatives have also declined to support some legislation Obama wanted to pass—certainly not the GOP’s doing right there. Obama is also not the first president to have to deal with working with Congress which has a majority from the other party. Clinton successfully dealt with a majority GOP Congress (with Newt Gingrich being Speaker no less) and he was able to successfully pass legislation, avoid gridlock, and balanced the budget. So did Reagan when he was elected.
People really need to stop making excuses for Obama. It is sad and clear that Obama is incapable of communicating and comes off divisive he certainly is not the same guy who campaigned in 2008. While I agree that Obama is not fully responsible for the current recession, he did add an additional $5T to the deficit, and there is no solid proof which supports his claim that 4M long term new jobs were created.
Maybe your forgot that congress had a super majority for the first two years of Obama's first term. They could have passed anything and everything yet could not. Some in congress realized how progressive and socialist leaning the Obama agenda was and were worried that the American people would notice if things change too much so fast. In their world it is all abot them and their power.
Obama is an anti Colonialist because of his father, period. Read his own words in his book Dreams FROM my father. From is a big deal if you understand him. He hates America because we are a superpower. He wants America brought down and third world countries brought up at our expense. He could care less about global warming. It is just a tool to take America down. If you maintain that frame of mind you go in the opposite direction which is communist, socialist, fascist idology. If he gets another term America is a third world country and the entire world will be brought back to the mentality of the 1500's. The lights will go out around the globe.
The bible was written by candle light. The bible was first read in America by candle light. The Constitution was written by candle light. Then, with freedom and liberty, the bible, the constitution and any other medium can be read at any time by a light bulb. In just 200 years or so freedom and liberty gave us the 5000 year leap of candle to light bulb. Freedom is an amazing thing. Please do not toss it aside The Constitution is at stake.
I thought this article was going to be about Michelle's boobs.
It bothers me when I read articles like this and the writer insinuates that President Obama doesn't have a spine. The fact that he won't be part of the problem, but part of the solution is one of his greater attributes. One of the biggest problems in our country today is the fact that we don't talk and listen to one another. We yell insults through the media and it just further divides us. So Obama decided to move his speech to a different day. That is showing a willingness to compromise. It does not mean President Obama doesn't have a spine. I will remain an Obama supporter -- especially when I look at the long list of people who want his job.
Throughout his entire career, both political and scholarly, Obama has refused to be a part of anything.
As head of the Harvard Law School Journal, he never penned a single missive, and his record of voting "present" in both the Illinois State House and the United States Senate is unrivaled. He's loathe to attach his name to anything that might indicate that he actually made a decision about something.
You must be one of those people that are fine with the insults that they hurled at Bush but when it comes to criticism of Obama that's when they have gone to far? Sounds like the typical liberal. Please tell me what it is about Obama that you like so much? His fix for health care? His fix for unemployment? His fix for the budget? His fix for the debt? His fix for the housing market? His fix for social security and medicare? His recent insult to Poland? He needs to fix his teleprompter.
America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President
When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America ’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.
Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisers guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.
1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:
•April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren't like them.”1
•February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011.2
•April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University , Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus' name be covered when he is making his speech.3
•May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House.4
•April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three.5
•October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions.6
•November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law.7
•January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court.8
•February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress.9
•April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring.10
•August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception.11
•November 2011 – Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial.12
•November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech.13
•December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries' religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights.14
•January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis.15
•February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion.16
2. Acts of hostility from the Obama-led military toward people of Biblical faith:
•June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs official forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery .17
•August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except America).18
•September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains.19
•September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.”20
•November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity.21
•November 2011 – The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans.22
•February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian.23
•February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei).24
•February 2012 – The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read.25
3. Acts of hostility toward Biblical values:
•January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations.26
•January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional.27
•March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit.28
•March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.29
•March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.30
•May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions.31 He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets.32
•May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities.33
•July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.34
•September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.”35
•July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion.36
•August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs.37
•September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.38
•February 2011– Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act.39
•March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls.40
•July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778.41
•September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.42
•October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion.43
4. Acts of preferentialism for Islam:
•May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan.44
•April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community.45
•April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc.46
•August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity.47
•August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location.48
•2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.49
•October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House.50
•February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military,51 but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do.52
Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.
1. Sarah Pulliam Baily, "Obama: ‘They cling to guns or religion’," Christianity Today, April 13, 2008.(Return)
2. Aliza Marcus, "Obama to Lift ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers," Bloomberg, February 27, 2009 Sarah Pulliam Baily, "Obama Admin. Changes Bush ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers," Christianity Today, February 18, 2011.(Return)
3. Jim Lovino, "Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech," NBC Washington, April 17, 2009.(Return)
4. Johanna Neuman, “Obama end Bush-era National Prayer Day Service at White House," Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009.(Return)
5. Chris McGreal, “Vatican vetoes Barack Obama’s nominees for U.S. Ambassador,” The Guardian, April 14, 2009.(Return)
6. Meredith Jessup, “Obama Continues to Omit ‘Creator’ From Declaration of Independence,” The Blaze, October 19, 2010.(Return)
7. "Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia," The White House, November 10, 2010.(Return)
8. LadyImpactOhio, "Feds sued by Veterans to allow stolen Mojave Desert Cross to be rebuilt," Red State, January 14, 2011.(Return)
9. Marrianne Medlin, “Amid criticism, President Obama moves to fill vacant religious ambassador post,” Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2011 Thomas F. Farr, “Undefender of the Faith,” Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012.(Return)
10. Chris Johnson, “ENDA passage effort renewed with Senate introduction,” Washington Blade, April 15, 2011.(Return)
11. Chuck Donovan, “HHS’s New Health Guidelines Trample on Conscience,” Heritage Foundation, August 2, 2011.(Return)
12. Todd Starns, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011.(Return)
13. Joel Siegel, “Obama Omits God From Thanksgiving Speech, Riles Critics,” ABC News, November 25, 2011.(Return)
14. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, December 6, 2011.(Return)
15. Ted Olson, “Church Wins Firing Case at Supreme Court,” Christianity Today, January 11, 2012.(Return)
16. Audrey Hudson, “Obama administration religious service for student loan forgiveness,” Human Events, February 15, 2012.(Return)
17. “Houston Veterans Claim Censorship of Prayers, Including Ban of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’,” Fox News, June 29, 2011.(Return)
18. Jason Ukman, “Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages that train missile launch officers,” Washington Post, August 2, 2011.(Return)
19. "Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion," Department of the Air Force, September 1, 2011.(Return)
20. "Wounded, Ill, and Injured Partners in Care Guidelines," Department of the Navy (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)
21. "Air Force Academy Backs Away from Christmas Charity," Fox News Radio, November 4, 2011.(Return)
22. Jenny Dean, "Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans," Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2011.(Return)
23. Ken Blackwell, "Gen. Boykin Blocked At West Point," cnsnews.com, February 1, 2012.(Return)
24. Geoff Herbert, "Air Force unit removes 'God' from logo lawmakers warn of 'dangerous precedent'," syracuse.com, February 9, 2012.(Return)
25. Todd Starnes, "Army Silences Catholic Chaplains," Fox News Radio, February 6, 2012.(Return)
26. Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles, "Obama lifts restrictions on abortion funding," Reuters, January 23, 2009.(Return)
27. "Obama pick: Taxpayers must fund abortions," World Net Daily, January 27, 2009.(Return)
28. Steven Ertelt, "Pro-Life Groups Left Off Obama’s Health Care Summit List, Abortion Advocates OK," LifeNews, March 5, 2009.(Return)
29. "Obama Signs Order Lifting Restrictions on Stem Cell Research Funding," Fox News, March 9, 2009.(Return)
30. Steven Ertelt, "President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation," LifeNews, February 11, 2012.(Return)
31. Steven Ertelt, "Barack Obama’s Federal Budget Eliminates Funding for Abstinence-Only Education," LifeNews, May 8, 2009.(Return)
32. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Budget Funds Sex Ed Over Abstinence on 16-1 Margin," LifeNews, February 14, 2011.(Return)
33. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Terrorism Dictionary Calls Pro-Life Advocates Violent, Racist," LifeNews, May 5, 2009.(Return)
34. "Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies," The White House, June 17, 2009.(Return)
35. Matt Cover, "Obama’s EEOC Nominee: Society Should ‘Not Tolerate Private Beliefs’ That ‘Adversely Affect’ Homosexuals," cnsnews.com, January 18, 2010.(Return)
36. Tess Civantos, "White House Spent $23M of Taxpayer Money to Back Kenyan Constitution That Legalizes Abortion, GOP Reps Say," Fox News, July 22, 2010.(Return)
37. Steven Ertelt, "Obama, Congress Cut Funding for 176 Abstinence Programs Despite New Study," LifeNews, August 26, 2010.(Return)
38. Steven Ertelt, "President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation," LifeNews, February 11, 2012.(Return)
39. Brian Montopoli, "Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA," CBSNews, February 23, 2011.(Return)
40. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Ignores Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Videos," LifeNews, March 2, 2011.(Return)
41. Elisabeth Bumiller, "Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy," New York Times, July 22, 2011.(Return)
42. Luis Martinez, "Will Same Sex Marriages Pose a Dilemma for Military Chaplains?," ABC News, October 12, 2011.(Return)
43. Jerry Markon, "Health, abortion issues split Obama administration and Catholic groups," Washington Post, October 31, 2011.(Return)
44. Alexander Mooney, "President Obama marks Ramadan," CNN, August 1, 2011.(Return)
45. "Franklin Graham Regrets Army's Decision to Rescind Invite to Pentagon Prayer Service," Fox News, April 22, 2010.(Return)
46. “Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document,” Fox News, April 7, 2010 "Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam'," Fox News, May 27, 2010 "'Islamic Radicalism' Nixed From Obama Document," CBSNews, April 7, 2010.(Return)
47. Chuck Norris, "President Obama: Muslim Missionary?," Townhall.com, August 17, 2010.(Return)
48. "Obama Comes Out in Favor of Allowing Mosque Near Ground Zero," Fox News, August 13, 2010 Pamela Geller, "Islamic Supremacism Trumps Christianity at Ground Zero," American Thinker, July 21, 2011.(Return)
49. "WH Fails to Release Easter Proclamation," Fox Nation, April 25, 2011 "President Obama ignores most holy Christian holiday AFA calls act intentional," American Family Association (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)
50. "Report: Obama’s Muslim Advisers Block Middle Eastern Christians’ Access to the White House," Big Peace (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)
51. "USA/Afghanistan-Islamophobia: Pentagon official apologizes for Quran burning," International Islamic News Agency (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)
52. "Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan," CNN, May 22, 2009.(Return)
Year Three Day 27 Obama Administration February 15, 2011 - History
Was it politics or economics that inspired President Obama to release oil from emergency U.S. reserves this week? Was it national security or re-election that shaped his timetable to un-surge 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer, just in time for his nominating convention?
The honest answer is that every presidential determination is political. In an era of polarized electorates, permanent campaigns and the rise of the political-industrial complex, every contemporary president has worked to ensure that the public good and the political "should" are rarely far apart.
Barack Obama, once touted as a post-partisan president, is as partisan as they come. His actions filter through a political sieve these days because he is a lot of leaders at once. He's a candidate for re-election and the nominal head of the Democratic Party. He is also America's policy setter, head of state and its commander in chief. He possesses what political scientists term the "incumbency advantage" -- the power to exploit the tools of the presidency to try to keep his job.
He can mix government business with political appearances, and the taxpayers will pay most of the price tag for Air Force One along the way. He can create business councils and rural councils to advise the White House and reward his supporters. The president decided to schedule NATO and G-8 international summits in his adopted hometown of Chicago five months before Election Day 2012 simply because it was his decision to make. Holding the meetings outside of Washington offers the Windy City what he hopes will be an economic and public relations boost and rewards a friend and former aide, Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
On any given day, Americans are hard-pressed to compartmentalize Obama's national mission from his personal ambitions when he, just like presidents before him, so readily melds the presidency with his candidacy. It's not easy for anyone to say where policy and politics don't collide.
Last Thursday, for example, the president campaigned at three political events in New York after delivering a wartime speech earlier in the day at Fort Drum, where he described his Afghanistan withdrawal plan to U.S. soldiers. That trip came on the heels of the morning's hubbub in Washington after budget talks led by the White House fell apart when GOP negotiators refused to consider tax increases. The budget impasse occurred a few hours after the administration announced the United States would sell off 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an unusual and coordinated effort with global oil-producing partners to influence supplies and prices heading into a high-demand summer season.
"No political figure in American politics has as much control over the national agenda as the president, and this power can be used to considerable electoral advantage," James E. Campbell, a political scientist at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, wrote in his recent book, "The American Campaign."
Campbell's empirical research suggests that presidential campaigns are predictable, and that White House incumbency is a key predictor, meaning it offers a proven leg up over challengers. That is especially true when voters in the prior election have just swapped the party controlling the White House. Campbell calls this the "party incumbency advantage." (Jimmy Carter was a notable exception.)
Running for office from the White House is not without its electoral drawbacks, however. The president is being held partially or entirely responsible for a limping economy, and long before he can target a Republican nominee, Obama faces a legion of GOP critics united in one thing and one thing only: That the man who currently works in the Oval Office has made a hash of things. His challengers on the campaign trail and in Congress have freer rein than he does to fire away -- a point Obama made to House Democrats during a private meeting June 2 at the White House. "What I say is different from [Republican] members of Congress. When I say something, I don't always have the luxury of playing brinksmanship," the president explained, according to a lawmaker who attended the meeting and took notes.
But the advantages still outweigh the strictures. A time-tested playbook for exploiting incumbency is known as the Rose Garden strategy, and Obama is a willing adherent. This approach calls for presidents to look as if they're levitating above partisan politics. Incumbents must show voters that they are performing the weighty duties of the presidency -- especially those with flag-waving appeal, such as protecting national security, representing America's interests abroad and commanding the military.
So busy is Obama with the challenges of governing, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in May, that he has not focused on the Republican candidates jockeying to unseat him. "I think, broadly speaking, this is not a topic that's very much on his mind right now," Carney explained to skeptics in the briefing room. "He's obviously been busy with other things. . . . [T]he overwhelming focus of his time right now is on his policy agenda, both national security and domestic. And that, honestly, is what we spend most of our time talking about."
And that brings up another element of the strategy: communications. There is no more important megaphone than the one a president wields. The TV news networks may have granted Obama only 15 minutes to address the nation in prime time Wednesday night to describe his Afghanistan timetable, but it was 15 minutes of East Room messaging that no Republican rival could match.
Especially as he wrestles with partisan opposition inherent in divided government, Obama has flexed his executive muscles to champion his policy agenda, score points, court friends, block the legislative branch, and elevate his constitutional clout above that granted to Congress. Many of the president's actions are touted, if not expressly rendered, to serve as political bonuses as he seeks a second term.
Disaster declarations. Acting through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Obama has been swift and generous in making millions of dollars in federal support available to states hard hit by at least 46 natural disasters thus far in 2011. This is the kind of election-year outreach to key electoral states that all presidents, regardless of party, are quick to deploy. Or not deploy, depending on the local political considerations.
This spring, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought help to offset the costs to his state of damages caused by wildfires, the administration demurred. The governor, a fiery and frequent Obama critic who is weighing a run for the White House, is on record with the whimsical suggestion that Texas could secede from the Union to protest Washington's excessive spending, particularly for entitlements. FEMA denied Perry's request for some reconstruction aid he sought, and he complained. But Carney insists "there was no discrimination here between red and blue states" on disaster assistance. Maybe so, but when Perry declined to meet with the president when Obama visited El Paso last month, White House aides also made a point of telling reporters that Perry had also turned down an offer of a national security briefing on immigration.
Health care law waivers. The administration has granted temporary compliance reprieves from provisions of the new health care law to employers and insurers under a deadline that extends to Sept. 22, 2011. The administration has denied that the deadline is tied to the 2012 election season. The Health and Human Services Department has granted waivers to employers seeking to sidestep the law's requirement that insurance plans begin to phase out annual coverage limitations on how much they'll pay for certain health services. HHS has granted about 1,400 waivers and denied about 100 requests (advising those who have been turned down to reapply). Republican lawmakers and other critics accuse the administration of selectively rewarding certain businesses and labor unions that supported the law by granting them compliance reprieves. The administration denies any favoritism, and says waivers are intended to keep employers from dropping health coverage or raising insurance costs.
Regulatory relief. In an overt appeal to conservatives and the business community, Obama signed an executive order in January commanding the executive branch to pore through existing regulations and scrub those that are redundant, obsolete or burdensome, especially to small businesses that shoulder high federal compliance costs. This presidential response to one of conservatives' pet peeves was intended to be both a weapon and a shield against critics who assail Obama's leadership on job creation and business support. The White House unveiled the results of the administration's regulatory "look back" in May, and the president frequently references the results in meetings with corporate and industry representatives.
Friending people. To shore up the political support he will need in 2012, Obama is reaching out to various constituencies to show his solidarity with their concerns, even if tangible new progress out of Washington may have to wait. The nation's mayors from both parties have rediscovered a friend in the White House as they seek to plug holes in their budgets using federal dollars. The White House and the mayors have allied against conservatives in Congress who want to make deep cuts in spending and deficits, and Obama is promising to hold the line to help struggling cities and states.
Similarly, Latinos disappointed that Obama and Congress failed to tackle immigration reform during the president's first term have been reassured in speeches, commencement appearances, fundraising appeals and personal outreach from the White House that they have not been forgotten by President Obama. Because the Hispanic population in many key electoral states has expanded since 2008, the Obama campaign believes Latinos could make or break the president's re-election bid.
Attempting to hold his base, Obama made the first-ever presidential campaign appearance before an audience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters Thursday in New York City. The president sought to tamp down displeasure that he will not endorse gay marriage, a position the LGBT community thought Obama had staked out when he responded to a 1996 survey early in his political career. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer struggled this month during a Netroots conference of liberal activists to explain how Obama is "evolving" in his outlook on gay marriage. In his New York speech, Obama delivered a carefully crafted sentence -- one his spokesman advised before the speech should not be read as an explicit endorsement.
"I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country," the president said.
And he's not stopping there. On Wednesday, the president and first lady will host a reception at the White House in honor of LGBT Pride Month.
3. Acts of Hostility Toward Biblical Values:
- January 2009—Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. 
- January 2009—President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. 
- March 2009—The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. 
- March 2009—Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. 
- March 2009—Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. 
- May 2009—The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions.  He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. 
- May 2009—Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. 
- July 2009—The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 
- September 16, 2009—The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” 
- July 2010—The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. 
- August 2010—The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. 
- September 2010—The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. 
- February 2011—Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 
- March 2011—The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. 
- July 2011—Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. 
- September 2011—The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 
- October 2011—The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. 
Obama announces plan to keep 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan after 2014
President Obama announced Tuesday that he will leave 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan through much of next year and backed away from ending America's longest war until at least his final year in office.
“It’s time to turn the page on more than a decade in which so much of our foreign policy was focused on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Obama said in a Rose Garden address.
Obama’s announcement of US troop levels comes before a broader foreign policy speech he will deliver at the US military academy at West Point on Wednesday, where he announced his Afghanistan troop surge in 2009. Aides said the speech will contextualize a post-2014 mission in Afghanistan, which Obama said will last through 2016, within a framework for counterterrorism that looks from Pakistan to north Africa.
“I am confident that if we carry out this approach, we can not only responsibly end our war in Afghanistan and achieve the objectives that took us to war in the first place, we’ll also be able to begin a new chapter in the story of American leadership around the world,” Obama said.
But under Obama’s plan, the war would not end in 2014, despite at least two years of administration implications it would. White House aides had floated a proposal to withdraw all US troops from the country this year, and in 2010, Joe Biden said that the US would be “totally out” of Afghanistan in 2014.
Defense secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement that he “strongly support[s]” Obama’s decision.
The placement of residual forces in Afghanistan anchors the US in a conflict that has lasted longer than any other US war and which many – even inside the Obama administration – consider peripheral to long-term US strategic interests.
Under the plan, the US military would no longer perform direct combat missions, as it has for the past 13 years, with the exception of supporting counter-terrorism operations against what Obama called the “remnants of al-Qaida.” US special operations forces are almost certain to remain in the country for that purpose.
Beyond the counter-terrorism mission, the US will continue training the Afghan soldiers and policemen they have supported for years. A recent independent assessment by a thinktank close to the Pentagon found that the Taliban-led insurgency is likely to swell after this year’s troop drawdown is complete, necessitating up to a $6bn annual commitment to Afghan security forces to make up the difference.
Obama’s residual force plan makes 2015 the hinge point for the future of the US presence in Afghanistan that 2014 had been until now. At the end of 2015, the administration intends to reduce the 9,800 troops by “roughly half,” he said, consolidating them in Kabul and the massive Bagram airfield, about an hour’s drive from the capital.
Obama described both the counter-terrorism and training missions as “narrow.” But the parameters of those missions will likely be determined by the resilience of the Afghan forces against what experts expect to be a major Taliban challenge. In congressional testimony last week, senior Pentagon lawyer Stephen Preston said that while the 2014 drawdown was an “important milestone, it doesn't necessarily mark the end of the armed conflict with the Taliban.”
Though US officials do not talk publicly about it, Afghanistan has served as a launch pad for drone strikes in neighboring Pakistan. Obama’s plan involves the US leaving major airfields used for the strikes, such as those in Kandahar and Jalalabad, in a year. Obama has apparently paused drone strikes in Pakistan during 2014, though it is unclear if they will resume, and Obama elided the subject in his speech.
By the end of 2016, the last year of his presidency, Obama said the military “will draw down to a normal embassy presence in Kabu with a security assistance component, just as we have done in Iraq.” It is less clear what will happen to the contractors that support military operations in Afghanistan. In Iraq, thousands of contractors outlasted the US military presence.
Obama’s plan depends on Afghanistan’s next leader signing a bilateral security accord that outgoing president Hamid Karzai refused to endorse. Following a Memorial Day trip that Obama made to Afghanistan, the White House circulated news reports indicating that the two leading candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, intend to sign the deal, preventing a scenario that would have seen US troops lose their legal protections in Afghanistan.
“By the end of this year, the transition will be complete and Afghans will take full responsibility for their security, and our combat mission will be over. America's war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end,” Obama told troops at Bagram on Sunday.
But the end is not yet in sight. Nor has the war proceeded as the administration had planned.
In 2009, Obama announced a surge of 30,000 troops, on top of over 20,000 additional troops that he’d deployed there weeks into his presidency. That surge, which left Afghanistan flooded with approximately 100,000 US troops, lasted until just before the 2012 election, and saw US resources poured into taking territory away from the Taliban and its allies in the south, but did not prompt the insurgency to seek a negotiated peace.
Administration officials say they never expected the war to result in a military victory. Obama officials spoke of reversing the Taliban’s “momentum” instead, a slipperier metric.
“By the summer of 2011, it will be clear to the Afghan people that the insurgency will not win, giving them the chance to side with their government,” war commander Stanley McChrystal predicted to Congress in December 2009. Less than a year later, McChrystal resigned after his staff disparaged their civilian counterparts to Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings.
In March 2012, Nato leaders met in Chicago to finalize and announce the end of their “mission” in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but stopped short of promising an end to the war. They pledged an “enduring commitment” to the country and to funding the Afghan security forces.
Behind closed doors, the White House and the Pentagon have often battled each other on Afghanistan.
Senior Pentagon officials have favored keeping a force of over 10,000 or more through 2017, fearing a fragility amongst the Afghans that more than five years of overhauled military mentorship has not prevented. They were alarmed to hear White House officials publicly talk in early 2013 about a “zero option” for troop levels in Afghanistan, which they thought signaled a reelected Obama washing his hands of the conflict he reluctantly escalated. In February, the White House formally instructed the Pentagon to plan for a full withdrawal.
The current commander, Marine General Joseph Dunford, has publicly warned that the Afghan forces still require significant mentorship. Dunford has pressed for a robust residual force, and Buck McKeon, an ally who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, commented that Obama had “met the military’s request for forces in Afghanistan.”
Yet McKeon, a California Republican, said in a statement that providing a timetable for the future of the US in Afghanistan “doesn’t make a lick of sense strategically,” echoing a consistent criticism of Obama since the beginning of the Afghanistan troop surge.
A White House aide, Laura Lucas Magnuson, said the 9800 figure was “consistent with advice the president received from his military leaders.”
“We believe it gives us the best opportunity to continue working with Afghan forces to strengthen their ability to fight the Taliban while also allowing them to take full responsibility for their security,” Magnuson said.
By holding residual troop levels to just under the military request level and pledging to withdraw them in two years, Obama’s decision is reminiscent of the one he reached in 2009 on the surge itself – a decision that satisfied neither his critics nor his supporters.
“This is how wars end in the 21st century,” Obama said, “not through signing ceremonies, but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governance, [and] security forces that are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility.”
Yet the persistence of the Taliban and the continuing counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan demonstrate that the US has struck no such “decisive blow” there.
The uncertain and deferred conclusion of the longest war in American history is certain to invite recriminations, particularly amongst a generation of soldiers, marines and airmen who survived the crucible of this war and the simultaneous Iraq war without a fixed point they can identify as a national victory.
Those recriminations, already begun in military debating circles, are likely to accelerate with the November publication of a memoir by a respected retired Army three-star general, Daniel Bolger. The title of Bolger’s book is “Why We Lost.”
Obama's First 100 Days: What He's Done So Far
President Barack Obama seized the opportunity on tax-filing day to assert that his administration is easing the tax burden of working people.
"We have delivered real and tangible progress for the American people. I am proud to announce that my administration has lessened the tax burden on working families while also restoring some balance to the tax code," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday at a White House event.
He also planned to use the occasion to again tout the benefits—namely the tax cuts—that are a part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Included in that sweeping legislation was his signature two-year "Making Work Pay" tax break that the administration says affects 95 percent of working families.
The White House said Obama's remarks also would focus on what it called unprecedented action taken to give tax cuts to people who most need them.
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.
The administration has decided to reveal some sensitive details of the stress tests now being completed after concluding that keeping many of the findings secret could send investors fleeing from financial institutions rumored to be weakest.
While all of the banks are expected to pass the tests, some are expected to be graded more highly than others. Officials have deliberately left murky just how much they intend to reveal—or to encourage the banks to reveal—about how well they would weather difficult economic conditions over the next two years.
In the meantime, 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.
An Obama administration official says Napolitano on Wednesday will name Alan Bersin, a former Justice Department official who was charged with cracking down on illegal immigration in the 1990s, to fill the post at the Homeland Security Department.
Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:
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)
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Obama to announce date for end of combat mission in Iraq
(CNN) - Two senior administration officials say President Barack Obama will declare in his speech Friday at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina: "Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."
Soundoff (92 Responses)
I am happy some troops are finally coming home from this ridculous war. At the same time Obama needs to take responsibility for the fact that he made a wild promise that he could not keep. 19 months is not 16 and 50,000 is not zero. He's a smart ivy league lawyer – he knew better.
And I haven't seen the troops yet. Maybe it will be more than 19 months. The remaining 50,000 to pay back the Big Oil lobby-like donors is very troubling.
Thanks, Chief. Now let's end all wars for all time.
Obama talks – the markets tank. We're hovering just above 7000 and about to break through floor into 6000 territory.
By the time this socialist, Obama, is done – he'll have the market at the levels during FDR's Presidency.
"Oh great. The terrorists will be happy to know this date. How asinine."
So? They already know that the Bush Administration signed the treaty to be completely out by Dec 31, 2011. This is the date of removal of combat toops (not support troops, like supply, transport, etc).
A quote from another article today – just some perspective
"The remaining troops would be gradually withdrawn until all U.S. forces are out of Iraq by December 31, 2011 - the deadline set under an agreement the Bush administration signed with the Iraqi government last year." there had to be some sort of plan put in pplace because of this agreement, not just because of campaign promises. It's easy to promise and deliver on something someone else negociated.
TO: DavidinCA February 27th, 2009 10:45 am ET
It would be appropriate for George Bush to be a part of that announcement since it was under his strong leadership that the US military succeeded in their job to make this possible.
Yeah Right. Mission Accomplished. Give me a break. $10 Bill a month that could have been helping us here at home, 4,000+ dead americans and how many more Iraqis? It would be appropriate for Bush to be put in prison for starting a war based on LIES. Where are those WMD??
End the combat in Iraq and send more troops in Afghanistan. No matter what is war is not going to be over soon. Obama still has to learn a lot. W must be laughing at decisions made by Obama. We will see a new president after four years.
pull them out of afgabistan also and close our borders and ship all illegals and non-citizens back to their own contries. love it or leave it
What's going to happen to the vets who return home and have no full time paying job? The reserve and guard personnel who have lost jobs while deployed ? Wow this is really going to impact the economy in a negative way putting a strain out.
Jeez, it seems like all the idiot comments on here from smog headed Californians.
You people have no idea the information this man is getting that may or may not require him to adjust the time table that brings our troops home. Yes, they should be back now and should never have been sent to begin with, but this is quite a mess that he has to sort out and as long as he brings them home as soon as responsibly possible, then I say job well done.
And to those who WILL NOT LET THE MAN DO HIS JOB. It took the last administration 8 years to cause the damage our country now has to deal with. Why all the nay saying in his first TWO MONTHS.
Congress had better get their ACTS (Dem/Rep) together and look at the WHOLE picture. Why are we paying these NIMRODS to have no clue how to fix the mess THEY created? The president can't fix it all by himself. I don't see congress offering any feasible/reasonable alternatives.
Why didn't you people listen to Ron Paul? A Republican I TRULY respect. (mus be his Libertarian roots)
How pissed will the parent of the child who dies on August 30, 2010 be? We need to get out of the war but dont publically announce the date. Just hold a suprise press conference one day and say "He folks we are out of Iraq"
If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are AGAINST it, then it must be a GREAT plan .
FINALLY. The troops deserve to come home and have served well over enough time. What got accomplished in Iraq, because I surely don't know? These troops consist of real people and I'm so glad they get to come home. No more lives need to be lost. Thank you Obama for keeping your word!
As far as I am concerned, with only a 3 month difference than what she said on the campaign trail, President Obama has kept his word with ending this war. Thank you Mr. President!
who's the idiot who said promise fulfulled?? Oh, that would be @Kevin St Pete, FL
Casue as we all know, this is another broken campaign promise. Obama is showing he is an inexperienced idiot and finding making promises is a lot harder than fulfilling promises.
And please don't come back with ". and GWB did this.." You sound like a 5 year old.
Obama promised 16 months on the campaign trail. NOW its 19 mo!
He keeps fudging on his word. Can we trust or believe anything he says.
Next catastrophe will be the HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY. People w/o jobs can't afford it. Health Ins. Agencies will close up shop.
Then it'll be a Job market catastrophe. Obama wants everyone to have a college education and says HE will pay for it. (Probably because his wife got a free ride for hers!) If we are a nation of PhD's, the competition will be fierce, as there won't be enough jobs. PhD's will be picking up garbage for a paycheck.
Just 2 months into term, president abandons numerous commitmentsPosted: March 12, 2009
11:30 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
After only two months in office, President Obama may have fallen short on a number of his campaign promises.
As a candidate, he promised to allow public comment before signing bills, eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses, provide tax credits to businesses for hiring new employees, allow Americans to withdraw funds from 401(k) and retirement accounts without penalties, ban lobbyists from serving in his administration, reform earmarks, bring all combat troops home from Iraq in 16 months, sign the “Freedom of Choice Act,” give Americans $4,000 in credits for college and run a “transparent” administration.
However, after giving his word to the American people on so many issues, Obama has yet to fulfill many commitments.
WND has compiled the following extensive list of those abandoned promises:
Broken promise No. 1: ‘Sunlight Before Signing’
When Obama campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in Manchester, N.H., on June 22, 2007, he announced his “Sunlight Before Signing” promise.
“When there is a bill that ends up on my desk as the president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it,” he said.
He repeated that promise on his campaign website:
“Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.”
However, Obama signed his first bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, on Jan. 20 – only two days after its passage.
He signed a second bill expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program just three hours after Congress passed it.
Again, on Feb. 17, Obama signed his 1,000-page $787 billion stimulus aimed at jolting the declining U.S. economy. He did so only one business day after it passed through Congress – without allowing for five days of public comment.
Broken promise No. 2: Capital gains tax elimination
According to his comprehensive tax plan released during his campaign, Obama promised to “eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses.”
Just weeks prior to the election, Obama advisers Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman told the Wall Street Journal that Obama planned tax cuts that included “the elimination of capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups.”
People who invest in small businesses have only been allowed to exclude 50 percent of that gain from capital gains taxes. While Obama’s $787 billion economic-stimulus package reduces that tax liability – raising the exclusion to 75 percent – it does not eliminate it.
Broken promise No. 3: New American jobs tax credit
During his transition, Obama’s promised to provide a $3,000 refundable tax credit to existing businesses for every additional full-time U.S. employee hired in 2009 and 2010.
“If a company that currently has 10 U.S. employees increases its domestic full time employment to 20 employees, this company would get a $30,000 tax credit – enough to offset the entire added payroll tax costs to the company for the first $50,000 of income for the new employees,” the transition website stated. “The tax credit will benefit all companies creating net new jobs, even those struggling to make a profit.”
Obama’s promise was never included in the stimulus package.
Broken promise No. 4: Hiatus on 401(k) penalties
Many unemployed and financially strapped Americans have considered early withdrawals on 401(k) and retirement accounts to survive the current recession. However, the IRS imposes strict penalties of up to 10 percent plus federal, state and local income taxes on such advances.
Workers who have taken $10,000 in early withdrawals from retirement plans have lost as much as 40 percent to taxes and penalties, depending upon tax brackets.
In October 2008, Obama released his “Rescue Plan for the Middle-Class” in which he promised to allow financially distressed Americans to withdraw up to $10,000 from their 401(k) accounts and retirement savings without having to pay penalties. They would only pay income taxes on the amount.
“Since so many Americans will be struggling to pay the bills over the next year, I propose that we allow every family to withdraw up to 15% from their IRA or 401(k) – up to a maximum of $10,000 – without any fine or penalty throughout 2009,” Obama said. “This will help families get through this crisis without being forced to make painful choices like selling their homes or not sending their kids to college.”
However, Obama’s promise was never included in his recent stimulus package.
Broken promise No. 5: ‘No jobs for lobbyists’
William J. Lynn III
Obama promised America he would loosen the grip of lobbyists on Washington.
In his Nov. 10, 2007, speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Obama declared:
I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.
During his campaign, Obama also said, “I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.”
However, USA Today reported Obama’s campaign fundraising team included 38 members of law firms that were paid $138 million in 2007 to lobby the federal government.
“Those lawyers, including 10 former federal lobbyists, have pledged to raise at least $3.5 million” for Obama’s campaign, the report states. “Employees of their firms have given Obama’s campaign $2.26 million.”
It wasn’t long before he allowed at least two dozen exceptions and broke his promise.
Obama’s own ethic rules barred officials of his administration from lobbying their former colleagues “for as long as I am president.” He also said former lobbyists would be prohibited from working for agencies they had lobbied within the past two years. President Obama later waived his rules for at least two of his nominees – William J. Lynn III, undersecretary at the Department of Defense and recent lobbyist for Raytheon, and William Corr, deputy secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services and anti-tobacco lobbyist for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Broken promise No. 6: Earmark reform
As WND reports, at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., Obama declared, “[W]e need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”
However, in February, Obama passed his $787 billion stimulus aimed at jolting the declining U.S. economy. Before a joint session of Congress, Obama declared: “Now, I’m proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks.”
Some chuckled in amusement when he claimed the bill contained no pork.
“There was just a roar of laughter – because there were earmarks,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told CNN.
U.S. News & World Report found at least eight earmarks in his stimulus bill.
Obama also signed a $410 billion omnibus bill for 2009. More than 9,000 earmarks in the spending bill total an estimated $7.7 billion.
Even though the Democrat-controlled Congress crafted the bill after Obama’s election, the administration claims the added pork is just “unfinished business” from last year.
The White House website states, “Obama and Biden will slash earmarks to no greater than 1994 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public.” However, watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense reports that the omnibus pork alone already totals $7.7 billion – just less than the total of $7.8 billion in earmarks in 1994 – and the figure does not include $6.6 billion in earmarks contained in three previous spending bills Congress passed amid the bailout crisis last year.
During his three years in the Senate, Obama requested more than $860 million in earmarks, according to the group. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has 16 earmarks – worth approximately $8.5 million – in the bill.
Broken promise No. 7: Bring troops home in 16 months
On his campaign website, Obama promised he would “remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.”
His commitment to bring combat troops home by May 20, 2010, and end the war gave him an edge among Democrats over candidate Hillary Clinton.
However, on Feb. 27, Obama declared, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”
If Obama adheres to his plan, combat troops will return home months later than originally promised. The New York Times reports, Obama will withdraw only two of the 14 brigades before December.
As part of a “new era of American leadership,” he also said he would leave behind a residual force of 35,000 to 50,000 troops and remove all U.S. soldiers from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011 – the same deadline the Bush administration negotiated with the Iraqi government last year in its Status of Forces Agreement.
Additionally, some combat units would remain in Iraq beyond Obama’s declared August 2010 withdrawal. Rather than returning home, they would simply face reassignment as “advisory training brigades.”
Even as combat troops are brought home, Pentagon officials have said fresh units will continue deploying to Iraq.
Broken promise No. 8: Sign ‘Freedom of Choice Act’
On July 17, 2007, Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, “The first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”
Obama expressed his support for the sweeping plan that would repeal all national and state regulations of abortion passed over the last 35 years.
His agenda regarding “reproductive choice” is posted on the White House website. It states, Obama “has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration.”
Obama chose radical pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to serve as the Health secretary, moved to void job protections for health workers who oppose abortion and repealed a ban on U.S. taxpayer funding of foreign abortions. While many pro-life advocates consider it a blessing that Obama has no fulfilled his promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, he has made no mention of the legislation since he took office.
Broken promise No. 9: $4,000 college credit
Obama pledged to make college “affordable for all Americans” when he announced his American Opportunity Tax Credit.
His campaign promise read: “This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of community service.”
While the American Opportunity Tax Credit was included in the recent stimulus bill, it offers a credit of only $2,500 for up to two years and requires no commitment to community service.
Broken promise No. 10: Transparency
On the White House website, the Obama administration claims it will be “the most open and transparent in history.
The administration released a memo on Jan. 21, stating:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. …
However, Congress and the administration hurried the $787 billion, 1,027-page American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to a vote after allowing lawmakers just a few hours to read the bill. It was also available online in a form that could not be keyword searched.
While former administrations immediately posted transcripts of presidential speeches – including some remarks before delivery – the White House website often waits until days or even weeks after an event to release transcripts.
Also, some say recent reports of tax evasion by Obama nominees is evidence that the administration is not as transparent as promised.
Just before Obama named Timothy Geithner to be his treasury secretary, the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank quietly paid $26,000 in back taxes and interest due since 2001 and 2002.
Obama characterized the eight-year tax evasion as “an innocent mistake.”
But as many as five of his picks defaulted on taxes, including former nominee for health and human services secretary, Tom Daschle former nominee for chief performance officer, Nancy Killefer U.S. trade representative nominee Ron Kirk and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
Furthermore, while the president posted his own weekly “fireside chats” on YouTube during the campaign, many journalists report that he has a history of being less than welcoming to the Fourth Estate.
Columbia Journalism Review noted Obama’s treatment of the press: “During the campaign, reporters’ access to Obama was severely limited. On-the-record conversations with the candidate were even more so. Indeed, Obama’s overall treatment of the press – not just in his general rejection of the day-to-day news cycle, but also in his tendency to shun his national traveling press corps … created the impression that its members were, to him, a buzzing nuisance. Instead of the voice of the people.”
WND’s correspondent at the White House, Les Kinsolving, raised the issue in February that most of the reporters recognized for questions in the briefing room were among the same handful over and over again. Some of them had been given four or even five opportunities for questions while other reporters were not recognized at all.
Kinsolving, a senior journalist in the White House press corps, was not allowed to voice his questions on issues on which millions of WND readers have expressed an interest. There were also complaints about the time of the November election that not only did Obama rely on a few key reporters for questions, those reporters were chosen ahead of time.
And, finally, WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Obama’s alleged Certification of Live Birth is not his original 1961 birth certificate
However, Obama has refused repeated calls to publicly release his Hawaiian birth certificate, which would include the actual hospital that performed the delivery. His campaign posted an alleged “Certification of Live Birth” online, but it is not the same as a Hawaii birth certificate. COLBs have been issued by Hawaii to parents whose children are not born in the state.
Instead of providing the documentation to end the lawsuits, a series of law firms have been hired on Obama’s behalf around the nation to prevent any public access to his birth certificate, passport records, college records and other documents. – even after more than 320,000 people signed a petition demanding that he live up to his promise of transparency by releasing the certificate to the public.
Nonetheless, during his campaign and after he took office, Obama maintained that his administration would have an unyielding commitment to transparency.
“The American people want to trust in our government again – we just need a government that will trust in us,” he said in a campaign speech. “And making government accountable to the people isn’t just a cause of this campaign – it’s been a cause of my life for two decades.”
The White House declined to respond to WND’s request for comment on Obama’s promises.