December 27th, 2009
09:55 AM ET
4 years 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. Tony in Maine

    The truth lies somewhere between the spin spun by Podesta and Card.

    Obama was left one helluva mess and no one good turn that around in a term, much less a year. Some of Cheney's gaffes required continued support – not because they were good, but sometimes when you step off a cliff you continue to fall regardless of arm flapping.

    Obama also discovered te tyranny of the minority. As someone said the other night, a resolution on Mothers' Day will require 60votes to get out of this Senate. They need to set a date to end filibuster and senatorial privilege (the Lieberman bomb) far enough in the future that the majority party cannot be predicted.

    The arty of No is determined that nothing will happen so they can point at Obama's failed Presidency. Chinless Mitch and Palm Beach John should be ashamed of themselves – but they aren't.

    December 27, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Big John

    Morons like "max" and appropriately named "Ding Dong" are no doubt some of Oreilley, Limbaugh and Beck worshipers who are some of the biggest obstructionists.

    December 27, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. The Party of NO stood calmly by for 8 years while the shrub raped and pillaged America, so, why would we listen to you now?

    We are now up to our knees in economic woes, caused by 8 years of "tax cuts and new wars" of course, then the impact of the deficit on our grandkids was secondary.

    This was the result of a President that was either passed out in class or too hung over to attend that class on Econ 101. How can you start wars AND give tax cuts without running up a 5 trillion dollar deficit, plus almost another "off the books" trillion like the shrub did and yet not one republiklan was trying to stop the chump in chief.

    But today the republiklans are fiscal hawks???.

    The new con mantra, "deficits to kill people good, deficits to save people bad".

    December 27, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    It doesn't matter how Obama did. What matters is how the country did under his watch. And trillions of dollars of new debt suggest that Obama has been an unmitigated disaster for us.

    December 27, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. SY

    President Obama is doing a great job given the obstacles he encounters daily from those who only want to tear him down and get him out of the White House. He is intelligent, committed, and seems to be working non-stop. I did not feel the same about his predecessor. I think the President can make many improvements to this country if the party of NO (obstructionists) gets out of the way since they obviously have been unable to lead since 2000.

    December 27, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. gopproud

    Well if any of you are familiar with history at all then you can compare obama to that of muscolini. We are no longer in the presence of a government that is for the people but one who is out for its own agenda. Further change always seems good but healthcare reform that taxes now but doesn't take effect for three years is that really reform or a nice way to further tax an already struggling middle class. Also since when does someone recieve a peace prize for things they're trying to do instead of what they actually has accomplished. If i was in the running for that prize an lost to a man for things he trying to do when i had already accomplished something i'd be remissed but what do i know!!!!!!!!!!! And anyone who buys in to the thinking this man is out for the american people please!! Get Educated america our government has its own agenda and its not for our well being its for there own. If we are in this so called deep recession then why no pay freezes by these fed employees of which there are now about one hundred thousand under obama. Wouldn't this have been the best place to start to save tax payer dollars.? Also they receive a cost of living raise which they vote on seems that should be our responsibilty to allow that??? Government is never the answer to the problem it only compunds things. And i wish evryone would get over the bush admin. remember it takes an act of congress to go to war and not one of your representatives tried with any real challenge to not go to war. And this economy is struggling do to nafta which allowed all of our major industries such as steel an auto making to move over seas without any higher tax burden. Oh thank slick willie for that one!!!

    December 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. Smarrt Demicratt

    Eye votid four Obamer an i like hem. I em prown to be an Demicratt.

    December 27, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. texasgreenacres

    (HAMMER) we can't say all good comes from Obama because he ain't finish yet. But fact is we have searched we've dug,but we haven't found anything good.For our almost DICTATOR Mr. Bush. he's finished he's done those are facts so in your next post PLEASE GET YOUR FACTS TOGETHER.we don't need predictions Bush is history Obama is the future.(history things that have passed) (future thing yet to take place)

    December 27, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. jane

    I think Obama has worked hard to clean up the overwhelming mess left by the Bush administration. The problem is that it's just that - overwhelmingly overwhelming. So many families have been left in desperate straits and are in crisis. Desperate problems call for desperate remedies, which we haven't yet seen.

    December 27, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Hugo

    He is done and 2010 will clip his and Comrade Pelosi's Marxist wings...

    December 27, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Ms. M

    I believe that President Obama both learned some lessons and did a a good job during his first year. I would give him a B+. The art of politics is not easy especially when you live in a fish bowl. Yes, President Bush's term has come and gone. We should focus on the future. I beleive that our president is doing his very best to move our country into a bright future. With that said, I think it is way past time that we stop with all of the hatred and focus on working together to make our country great for everyone!!

    December 27, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Keith in Austin

    Barry Soetto Obozo had a great year because Socialism thrived under his watch.

    Lady Liberty and the American people are being destroyed in the wake!

    December 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Black Viper

    we don't need predictions Bush is history Obama is the future.(history things that have passed) (future thing yet to take place)

    The future is not in one year. Oh yes immagine if The constitution of the US written in 1780 was not so good this country would have not been where it is now.

    THE PAST IS AS RELEVANT AS THE FUTURE. We learn from the past to built a bette future.

    December 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Limbaugh

    Well, no matter how good President Obama has done, all the Republicans did were critizied and hateful. Nothing will come out good ever. Let's work together for America not citizising. Tlhe man is doing his best for the American people and why should we oppose him?? Again let's work together as one nation and one people. Happy holidays everyone..........................

    December 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. cgillette369

    first thing. don't ever let AXELROD have him use the word 'inherited' again.

    he ran for office knowing the situation and lied about what he planned AXELROD told him precisely what to say and never get off the teleprompter message.

    Obama is a front man for the AXELROD presidency.

    December 27, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. ST

    I am very proud of the President. He is a courageous man while facing fiercely opposition from Repubs.
    I urge him not to give up even for a moment. He has the vision and his anticipated goals will be met.

    December 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Chris

    I can't think of a better repudiation of the neo-con ideology than the Bush years. How this country was before he took office and the state it was in when he left – it seems like almost two different worlds. Yet large numbers of Right Wingers stubbonly insist that this is all somehow Obama's fault and what we really need is another George W. Bush in the White House to "fix" everthing. Unbelievable!

    December 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey "gopproud".....
    Do yourself a favor and 'get sum edjumacation'!!!

    December 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Danny J

    I'm not a Bush fan in any way, but I think Bush had a much tougher first year, given the horrid terrorist attacks.

    December 27, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Danny J

    The interesting thing about the Obama policies is that their true effects will be felt 10 years down the road. Looking back, I predict he will be seen as the President that changed America from being a pioneer to being an also-ran.

    December 27, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Death Panel Sarah

    To 'Smarrt Demicratt'.......

    Sorry, but, by your spelling and obvious low intelligence, you reveal yourself as the average republican, ever ready for the usual brainwashing by FAUX NEWS and the talk radio liars!!!

    December 27, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Puddin

    I'll take brilliant Obama over slouchy George Bush and impeccable Andrew Card any day.

    December 27, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Razorback

    If he hasn't done what we thought he would do, we can always blame the minority party. After all, they're the party of NO even though they don't have the votes to stop anything. If that doesn't work, we can blame Bush or Reagan. And we can call anybody who dares to have a different opinion a racist or teabagger. All Hail the President!

    December 27, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. charlie in Maine

    You ain't seen nothin yet. (aplologies to my grammarian friends).

    Compared to his agenda B.

    Compared to what McCain could (would) have done A-

    Compared to what W Bush did A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    December 27, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Fed up Monority

    I don't think you know who Bush're being ignorant.

    December 27, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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