Obama’s Report Card: One Year Later

An assessment of the president's first year in office

ogletree09Charles J. Ogletree, Professor, Harvard Law School

What has been the Obama administration’s biggest achievement thus far?

The [biggest has been] the ability to persuade members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass comprehensive healthcare reform, a success that has not been achieved in decades by any other president or government. It will allow millions of citizens to receive health insurance for the first time and a significant number of those will be African Americans.

What was the administration’s biggest loss?

The administration’s biggest loss was the momentum to build on the stimulus package and to ensure that African American communities receive fundamental funds rather than having those funds held up by governors, mayors, or other local officials at the state level. With $800 billion available to stimulate the economy, we would expect more money being distributed, received, and ultimately transforming jobless African Americans into a working and wage earning citizens.

What is your assessment of Obama’s performance in this past year?

Remarkably, President Obama has accomplished more in the course of 12 months than many presidents have accomplished in two terms. He has had to manage two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, develop and get Congress to approve healthcare reform, bail out the financial industry to prevent our country from entering the greatest economic failure since the Depression, and provide $800 billion in the stimulus package to ensure jobs and income for many parts of our community. The fact that the president has also nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court as the first Latina ever on the court and appointed Elena Kagan as the first woman as solicitor general, Eric Holder the first African American attorney general, and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, reinforces the remarkable team he has put together to run America during his first term.

What challenges do you think he might face in the future and what initiatives/legislation should he introduce?

The main challenges will be the economy. Despite the fact that the world is suffering economic losses, it is incumbent on the president to be creative and forward looking in reviving the economy. I think that means a second stimulus package and more focus on jobs, education, and health.

On a scale of A to F, how would you grade Obama on the following topics:

Jobs: B+

Healthcare: A+

Economy: B

Wall Street: B+

Small business development: A

Housing: B

National security: A

Overall: A-

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  • Damon

    what a joke, Obama has been a miserable failure.  he didn’t focus on the economy, he focused on healthcare, and he has failed to get that passed.  the democrats can’t agree with each other, then complain of “bipartisanship” failures by the republicans.  Obama has never ran a business, never practiced law, and in his short term as a senator, had zero accomplishments.  he’s a community organizer that became the most powerful man in the world by simply “not being Bush,” can having great teleprompter skills.  hopefully, the next election arrives before he drives the US into the ground even further.  

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