Barack H. Obama

44th President of the United States (2009- )

Obama came to office as the country is caught in major generational and political shifts, and dealing with an economic crisis no other occupant of the Oval Office has faced since FDR—a battered economy, weakened financial system and two costly wars that he inherited from the Bush II administration. Like his predecessors, his first 100 days is quickly defining his presidential style and policy-making. Beyond fixing the economy, the pragmatic Obama is just idealistic enough to want to change how government and international diplomacy works .He has admitted mistakes though: when his nominees were forced to withdraw due to tax problems, he told the evening news shows that he “screwed up.” His administration continues to produce a whirlwind of activity rivaling Roosevelt’s New Deal in its initiation and passage of legislation. His critics say “he’s doing too much.” Obama counters that “the president must do more than one thing a time.”

Highlights from his first 100 days:

• In additon to the daily briefing on foreign affairs, Obama becmes the first president to institute economic briefings due to the dire state of the nation.
• Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that promises to put Americans to work with “shovel-ready” infrastructure and public service jobs, give displaced workers relief through the extension of unemployment and health insurance benefits, and promote consumer spending through a series of tax breaks.
• Through the Make Home Affordable Program, the Obama administration will provide help for 5 million “responsible” homeowners to gain refinancing to keep their mortgages affordable as well as create a $75 million loan modification program to enable up to 4 million families avoid foreclosure.
• As part of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Stabilization Plan, the administration develops consumer and business lending initiatives that provided an initial $200 billion in financing to private investors to help thaw frozen credit markets and lower interest rates for students, small businesses and consumers. The program is expected to have the potential to unlock $1 trillion of new lending. The plan also calls for the development of public-private partnerships to toxic assets as part of an effort to repair the balance sheets of financial institutions.
• Obama approved plans for the orderly closure of the Guantanamo Detention Center and an end to the torture and harsh interrogation techniques of suspected terrorists instituted by the the Bush Administration.
• The administration formed a White House Health Care Reform task force charged with making health care accessible and affordable for the uninsured.
• As part of his European tour, Obama attends G20 and get representatives from countries that make up 75% of the world economy to agree to financial reforms and lending to underdeveloped nations.
• House and Senate vote on Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, which he dubbed the administration’s “blueprint for America’’ and calls for investment in renewable energy, education and healthcare.

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