December 27th, 2009
09:55 AM ET
3 months ago

Did Obama have a good 2009?


(CNN) – How has President Barack Obama handled his first year in office?

The answer may depend on who you ask.

John Podesta, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, says Obama has made substantial progress in dealing with a host of dire circumstances handed to him by the previous administration.

“No one probably inherited a tougher hand in modern history than Barack Obama was - two wars, a crumbling economy - but I think he's made substantial progress along the way by stabilizing the economy and stopping us from sliding into a depression when we were in the midst of great recession,” Podesta said on CNN’s State of The Union with John King. “And he's beginning to move along on his signature reform activities particularly healthcare.”

But Andrew Card, the former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, says 2009 was the year Washington’s characteristic intransigence taught Obama a lesson.

“He has learned that lesson,” Card said. “[He] came with unbelievable expectations and he's not been able to live up to the expectations…[he] promised it wouldn't be politics as usual but it's turned out to be politics the same old messy, ugly, way.

Meanwhile, David Gergen, a former advisor to several Democratic and Republican presidents, says its been a mixed year for the new commander-in-chief.

“He hasn't changed the tone of Washington, if anything it's become harsher, more toxic, I think that's true.,” Gergen said. “But I would have to say that he has moved things farther than most recent presidents in his first year. “

“When you look at what he's done in the war front, on health care, on preventing the economy from going over a cliff, all of that you have to say he's made a consequential difference,” Gergen continued. “But whether it is taking us to the level we need in order to be as a competitive No. 1 nation, I think that question is still clearly up in the air.”


Filed under: President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. mark

    i see the carter decline is already in full effect, take back America in 2010!

    December 27, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    yes he and we did have a good year it is going to take time to turn around the cheney crap of 8 years .. we will do it and have a health care program .just like social security medicare and it will get hammered out and work with out the party of NO makes me happy :)

    December 27, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Fed up Monority

    Danny J
    The terror attacks happened on 9/11. ........The year was almost over. Plus he knew it was going to happen.

    December 27, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Eagle-Eye

    Actually, both Podesta and Card are right. Obama has made some progress, but it will literally take decades to reverse the damage done to this country by Bush. Obama went into office with the worst economy since the Great Depression, 2 wars raging, a mortgage meltdown, infrastructure crumbling, and the middle class and environment under threat like never before. It will take a lot of time to fix all that.
    But Card said Obama was taught a lesson - let's hope so. The GOP will fight tooth and nail against any improvement using any lie, smear, and scaremongering they can. Filibusters used to be rare - now the GOP has set a record in using them. The intransigence is all from the right - so much for bipartisanship. Time to steamroller over them and do what the American people have been needing for so long. Down with the lobbyists and their congressional lapdogs!!

    December 27, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Ken in Gainesville

    News flash. The President awoke today. Republicans outraged!

    That's the way the year has gone. To the Whiners and anti-American Beckers, the President can do nothing right.

    Only St. Limbaugh, St. Beck, St. Cheney and the other members of the annoited can do no wrong.

    Americans have the attention span of a gnat. The right wing will get what they deserve if the Palin crowd ever wins (not steals) an election.

    December 27, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Idiot_Pelosi

    I love it when the critics of OBOZO are liars.

    Well, let's spell out some facts:

    (1) OBOZO has increased the defecit significantly, at record levels. FACT

    (2) BUSH's tarp plan to save the banks has worked, and most of the banks have paid the money back with INTEREST. FACT

    (3) OBOZO's sitmulus plan was and is a complete joke. It was full of PORK, and hasn't created any jobs.

    (4) Speaking of JOBS, the Umemployment rate has jumped to over 10% when OBOZO promised the stimulus bill would keep it under 8. That was just OBOZO doing a great job of selling a bunch of crap.

    (5) OBOZO along with Reid and Botox Pelosi have sucessfully raised TAXES and FEES. Oh joy.

    (6) The HC plan is a joke. It's only a socialist plan where you spend OPM (Other People's Money) to pay for HC of others.

    (7) I see how well IRAN and North Korea has listened to all that OBAMA and HILLARY talk. "Suck Up" Dijplomacy is working as expected.

    (8) So other than reading tele-prompters very well, and the same old sad speeches, tell me again what this moron has accomplished.

    December 27, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. John

    I turned my tv on to CNN this morning.
    The first thing I saw was John King doing an Obama love in in Hawaii.
    I had 2 choices.
    Puke or change the channel.
    I changed the channel.

    December 27, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Independant Vet

    Proved he is an all out Illegal Lover.

    Next is he wants all our New Jobs Created in China.

    Last , a Big Liar. Non Church goer . An shows no respect for our National Anthm. Now he is going to tell you when to die.

    December 27, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. proud conservative

    I see you did not post my comment from earlier so I will just say this,

    WELL SAID Idiot_Pelosi! THE DEMS ARE DOOMED IN NOV 2010!

    December 27, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Matt

    The only negative effect obama has had for the year as far as I can tell is making the right wing into a bunch of whiny sore losers. It would be nice to have a legitimate counter party to the democrats, not a quasi-religious group of nut-bags spouting of the impending doom of america because a young, charasmatic constitutional lawyer managed to inspire the majority of our citizens and being to enact meaningful legislation.

    December 27, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Trevor

    I think the moderates are going to win big in 2010. Everybody knows that the idea of hands-off capitalism is dead. Unchecked greed left alone just does not provide sustainable growth for the American people. But I believe that the financial troubles we have stem from Bush and Clinton. Bill J hired a free-market hawk like Rubin in charge and turned a blind eye to mortgage speculation and Bush kept it up so in my opinion that both share the blame. But this agenda of anti-capitalism and socialism put forth by Obama and Congressional Dems is so far outside the mainstream that it will cost Democrats the majority in the House and a few seats in the Senate.
    Not to mention the stimulus has failed and I suspect a jobs-creation bill will not do anything either. It will be how each party encapsulates their message to the public that will determine how Nov 2010 will alter the political landscape. But any Republican or Liberal would be foolish to platform from their party base right now.

    December 27, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. mary

    what will these republicans do when next year things get a lot better.
    Jobs will improve the health care will be better the Iraq war will be over and things will improve in Afgan.
    I think president is doing best he can with what he had to deal with.
    Lets not be so hateful and give the man a chance.
    You can not turn our economy around in a year.
    It took Bush and Cheney 8 years to get us where we are now. I think we are way ahead already.
    Does anybody remember how many vacations Bush took while the economy was sliding

    December 27, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Wanderer

    ‘The answer may depend on who you ask’

    It is Ok to give personal opinions but whatever the answer or the conclusion is not only premature but also immature.

    December 27, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. virginia nielsen

    Lack of CULTURE and STUPIDITY are still big issues in America !!! Listen to Faux News and right wing radio shows in 2010 won't take those people anywhere !!! They still will be in the last century , together with the radicals (christians and muslins) I consider all of them POTENCIAL DOMESTIC TERRORISTS !!!

    December 27, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    Yes, 100%.

    December 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    However, President Obama and Congress need to 'outlaw profits for the health insurance industry' before any health insurance mandates.

    No industrial countries allow profits on basic health insurance policies except for us. Neither do they allow drug ads, while we subsidize drug ads with taxpayer dollars.

    IF anybody is sincere in reducing health care costs, we must outlaw anti-trust exempt for private health insurers as well as their profits.

    December 27, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Ed

    The question should be: Did America have a good 2009 with Obama in office?

    December 27, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Lori

    He's doing the best that he can do given the situation he was given. The Republicans and their policies have shown us that they are incapable of running our country (and polls have shown the Americans prefer the Democrats policies over Republicans) so let's give our President time and get our country back on track! I'm so proud of our President and the Democrats (who at least earned their paychecks this year unlike the Republicans who just said 'NO' or rather 'You lie!' to everything). 2009 was good for our President despite all the hatred from the right. And I wish President Obama all the success in 2010!

    December 27, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. v

    One question:

    What would you do to fix all of the problems if you were President?

    Please put in writing what you think the problems are and what you would do to fix them.

    You had better do your research because every thing you think of can not be fixed in a flash. It will take more than 30 minutes or instance gratifacation to fix any one problem.

    After you list the problems and you come up with fixes then and only then can you critisize anyone.

    I would like all of you to put it down on this blog and we will rate your answers as to how good or bad we the people think your solutions would be.

    December 27, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    It took a concerted effort by The Administration, The House of Representatives and The Senate to make 2009 as bad for the future of America as it has become. This has been the worst display of partisan politics this country has ever seen. Look at all of the huge failures that this massive new debt has bought us.

    But they are not done yet. There is still the huge mistake with the politicization of health care that we see unfolding. Already they are making excuses for it and it isn't even on Obama's desk yet. "...it may need adjustments down the road..."

    Will their platform for 2012 be that they kept health care from going past the brink over the cliff, too? ( As if it or the economy were ever in that situation...). It's pathetic how they are trying so hard to spin sub-mediocre performance.

    December 27, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Eisener

    Yes, he had a brilliant year - and I have confidence as he builds the foundation and framework of his relationships nationally and internationally, 2010 will bring an even stronger and greater President Obama.

    December 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Phil

    Ladies and Gentlemen: Reading all these posts show exactly why we as Americans are in such disarray. We always want to blame the other guy for what is wrong. I have heard nobody, either left or right, take responsibility for anything that is wrong with our government or current conditions in our country.

    Let's remember that this country was built on helping the other person succeed, not in tearing down and hoping failure will result. If success reigns, we all win......if failure live's on, we all lose.

    Let's start toning down the rhetoric in our own ranks, and show our representatives in congress that we are starting a new era of getting along and working together. Then, if they don't follow suit, we vote them out.

    I don't think anybody really has all the answers, but feel that President Obama has tried to reign in the run-away economy and other problems he was handed. WE want the wars ended, successfully. We are supposed to be civilized people, yet many want to just have a military response to everything.

    President Obama has not been perfect, but I truly think that if we try to support our elected officials, instead of tearing them down all the time, more good things might get done on both sides of the aisle.

    How about we start the movement......today!! Something to think about with a new decade coming soon. Let's try helping our neighbor, not confronting them with hostility.

    December 27, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. A.Darton

    It's amazing that you people can ask such a stupid question. Have you forgotten the crisis this President was left to try to clean up? We were lefted not in a hole, but a dog gone canyon. And still trying to get our way out of it. But how quickly folks forget. If people would think, when GW Bush left, if he had lefted this economy in any kind of shape, beside TERRIBLE, this President wouldn't had any need to spend. You can choose to forget, but I know who put this country in this mess and it wasn't Obama. Eight years people gave Bush the chance to cause this darn crisis, at home and overseas. Hay let's give the new guy eleven months to clean up Bush eight year disaster. Fair isn't it. Makes alot of sense, doesn't it? If it wasn't for some of the moves Obama made, this country would be in a whole lot worse condition. I voted for him and glad I did. Not as some saviour, but as a man who I thought and still believe can bo the job.

    December 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. NC

    Sure he has......at the American peoples expense. he gets to travel the world, live in the big house and never has to lift a hand, gets $$$ kick backs, gets to see himself on the big screen. Republican in 2010 and 2012. I am ashamed of this president.

    December 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. sean

    Relative to the catastrophe the nation and world were in when he took office he has done well

    December 27, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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