February 23rd, 2009
09:48 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama's first month marked by success and setbacks

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/22/obama.so.far/art.obama.news.gi.jpg caption="President Obama, who won the presidency on a bipartisan platform, now faces a very divided Washington."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - During the most contentious stretch of the Democratic presidential primary campaign last winter, then-candidate Hillary Clinton mocked Barack Obama for his pledge to transcend Washington's entrenched partisanship.

"The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!" Clinton bellowed.

Obama dismissed Clinton's sarcasm as overly cynical and further evidence she was a creature of Washington. But as President Obama prepares to make his first major address to the nation, Clinton's comments are borne out.

For a candidate who won the White House on a mantle of bringing the country's two political parties together, Washington could not be more divided on Obama's initial weeks in the Oval Office and the policies he has put in place.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Had It

    He can bring the right-wing horses asses to the water, but they would rather die of thirst than drink.

    2010 is next year. Vote the rascals out. At least one more of our republican representatives will be gone. That's a fact.

    February 23, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Greg in MN

    At least he's trying to reach across the aisle! The GOP is just saying "No" to anything that come from the other side.

    I hope he keeps trying to end the partisanship in Washington. That way the GOP will keep looking like the spoiled children they are.

    February 23, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. MysteriousTraveller

    And of course it's Obama's fault.
    The GOP while blocking everything that the president proposes and offering nothing but those magical tax cuts in return are, as usual, blameless.

    You, sir, are a fool.

    February 23, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Anonymous

    If anyone is surprised by this, they are an idiot! That man is going to break this country's back, us first!

    February 23, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. lynn in NM

    Hillary was right. That was what the media led us to believe. Now the media is finding out that he can not walk on water. Maybe if they had paid attention, they would have seen that earlier.

    February 23, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. pointofview

    well duh, and that was by design. obama's chief of staff wants division and caose in order to push agenda and paint the opposition in a corner. This administration wants/needs this nation to be divided in hopes people will pick and chose what side to be on in hopes more go his way. Obama has shown very little leadership except in his own causes. He promised to also be the president of the 45 million that did not vote for him but what is one more broken promise..

    February 23, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Nathan,

    Who cares about bipartisanship. We want things done for the American people. If the Republicans don't want to help what is Obama supposed to do. Shouls he just say well this may be right for the country but the Republicans won't sign on so we won't do it.

    If my memory serves me I believe Obama won the White House and the Democrats won the congress. They should lead and let the Republicans do what they do best which is play politics. IF the right thing is done for the country do you really care how many Republicans voted for it?

    February 23, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Accountability

    Bipartisanship is not measured solely on how many votes Barack gets in Congress or how many voices are raised in opposition to his ideas. Bipartisanship is measured in his attempts to listen to and incorporate (like int he stimulus package) the ideas of the other side, but more importantly, how the programs that are passed address the needs of all Americans, not just Democrats.

    Simply because the Republicans have made a strategy out of opposing every proposal of the President does not mean that he is not bipartisan.

    February 23, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Super D

    The reason there has been no bi-partisanship is mostly Obama's and the Dems in general bills have been atrocious.

    If Obama would move to the center in terms of economic policy and try not to spend us to prosperity, you would find a lot more Republican support.

    February 23, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Maggie

    I blame the Republicans. President Obama's trying to get all the little kiddies to work together, but the bullies who ruled the playground for 8 years don't like it now that someone else is in their sandbox.

    February 23, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    CNN.... Obama did NOT run on bringing the parties together.... the devisive, deceptive, and vindictively hateful campaign that got him elected is now like the chickens coming home to roost. Bipartisanship doesnt just happen..... it must be earned. Until this guy starts to LISTEN to the American people and the minority party, nothing will get better.

    February 23, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. Tee


    February 23, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    He's trying to change the ways things are done. Bipartisanship is needed so we can get the best possible solutions to the problems that face us. Since the republicans are the minority, it's only fair that we let them get their two cents in.

    February 23, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It would have helped if the Republicans actually wanted to be more than the party of "NO." That is all it seemed that they wanted to do was not work on anything that wasn't their idea or had a majority of their ideas. I think it died because the Republicans didn't handle defeat well.

    February 23, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Change is constant

    I wonder if the slogan of the 2012 presidential candidate opposing Pres. Obama will be "Change We Can Believe In"?

    February 23, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. Shayne in NH

    That is because there are two types of people in our country and you've heard this mantra before: those who see the cup half empty and those who see it half full. I, for one, belong to the latter. I'm also a realist. I realize that it takes more than 40 days to correct an issue that was 2,922 days in the making.

    They didn't build Rome in a day. I'm starting to believe Phil Gramm was right, after all-maybe we are indeed a nation of whiners (at least half of us). I'll be polite and not mention who you are, republicans.

    February 23, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. BW

    Please quit bringing up past facts and quotes, CNN. This does not look like "bipartisan" reporting. How dare anyone re-report the truth.

    February 23, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Laura

    First, Obama tried, it was the Repubs who slapped the hand away. The Dems gave in some headway, but still not one of them in the House would have the guts to step up and shake hands.

    Secondly, after 8 years of one of the most divisive Presidents in modern history, I don't think anyone with an IQ over 70 thinks that will be undone in only a month. I think inroads can be made, but it will take some time.

    February 23, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Molly

    This is because the American voter has not had the chance to replace all the other stale, crusty politicians that are slowing down and dividing the system. Only the media can't see this...and of course wont post this.

    February 23, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. pat C.

    hillary is right on. president obama needs to crush the republicans and move on without them. we don't need the whimpering, back-stabbing, negative monsters on board with the president anyway.
    they tried to stop him in every way during the election and nothing worked on this incrediable man. he is our chosen leader and we will support him! he is our chosen one and HE WILL SUCCEED!

    February 23, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. rich

    One Month = Obama Era????????? CNN needs to downsize. Obvioulsy somebody is being paid to make up stories rather than reporting real news. Pity.

    February 23, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Tate

    If Obama would think that Americans or Republicans would support socialst ideas that have failed for 1000s of years and spit in the face of our founding fathers. If he actually thought that and not just reading what axelrod told him, then he is more clueless than I thought. However with his spread the wealth and reward bad behavior policies I did not believe he was this left wing. It is scary what this junior lawyer and senator is doing. You will not hear one economist other than the ones who work for him, say anything he has done will work.

    February 23, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. Trysh in Los Angeles

    It wasn't for lack of trying on his part. We already know the Republicans were given a directive from Rush Limbaugh that they were to work for President Obama's failure and that they were instructed to stick together against the stimulus bill. They got the concessions they requested and STILL voted against it. And it's across the board. The Republicans in California who voted for the budget to pass were just told they would not receive funds from the Republican party for their 2010 campaigns because they had an agreement to vote against any raised taxes....it doesn't matter if 20000 people were about to receive pink slips and the state was going to crash.

    See...they are party first, NOT service first. But, I will donate money to Abe Maldonado's campaign because he was the deciding vote and had good plans. THIS is what bipartisanship is about; voting the right person and ideas regardless of the party affiliation. For some reason, Republicans cannot wrap their brain around that idea. Most just don't care about others; they just want their ideas pushed on to others.

    February 23, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. Rob

    I think a lot of whites who voted for Obama will soon be voting as a white block, especially after Holder's remarks. I know Obama and the democrats lost my vote in 2010 and 2012 based on what Holder said. My family and I don't deserve to be labeled "cowards" by Holder, and the very sad fact that blacks seem incapable of telling black politicians and spokespersons to knock it off when they start their blame whitey game speech is why whites have to reunite and vote as a block again the way blacks voted for Obama. Holder is black and the AG of the USA. Of all American citizens, he is the last person in America who should ever make a "cowardly" remark. Rein 'em in, Mr. President, or your reign is going to be over 01-20-2013. You can't run as a uniter and have chiefs under you who divide every time they open their mouths.

    February 23, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Thomas

    President Obama can only make the offer of bipartisanship. It is up to the representatives of the respective political parties to accept his offer.

    If the GOP refuses to accept President Obama's offer of bipartisanship, there is little President Obama can do.

    The fault rests not with the offerer but with the offeree.

    February 23, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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