Obama's First 100 Days
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Senior news analyst Daniel Schorr is also weighing what's changed and what hasn't since President Obama took office.
DANIEL SCHORR: The first 100-day sprint that I can remember was Franklin Roosevelt. Faced with a crushing depression, he launched a rapid series of recovery measures under the heading of the New Deal: closing banks, establishing regulatory agencies, hiring unemployed workers, initiating a federal welfare program and launching the TVA power project.
Roosevelt's New Deal inspired President Kennedy's New Frontier. He spoke of his first 100 days as the crucial days of his administration. He had some early successes with Congress, but they were overshadowed by trouble abroad. Tensions with the Soviet Union rose, leading to a crisis over Berlin. The most somber event of Kennedy's first 100 days was the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
The Obama record so far presents a mixed picture. There has not been much progress on his goal of changing the way Washington works, neutralizing the lobbyists, or assembling a reliable bipartisan coalition. But by adroit concessions when necessary, he has managed to achieve important legislation, notably the multi-billion dollar stimulus package. Faced with possible defeat, he managed to make concessions that chipped away three Republican senators.
In his 100 days, President Obama has won a lot of personal approval, but adulation doesn't always mean legislation. On foreign policy, it's been all roses so far. The policy of the unclenched fist has won applause worldwide. He's shaken hands with leaders from Russia's Medvedev to Venezuela's Chavez, relaxing tensions and setting the stage for possible agreements.
What we have learned in 100 days is Mr. Obama's governing style: concentrating on outcomes, settling for half a loaf when necessary. In 100 days, he has clearly set out to become the nation's healer and the world's unifier. Whether he succeeds, it will take a few more 100 days to know.
This is Daniel Schorr.
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