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. kate

    He can blame Pelosi and Reid for the divide and of course their "stimulus" package.
    I ,as well as many other former Dems, will be voting them out in 2010.
    What a disgrace.

    February 23, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. kimthejournalist

    This is an absolute joke. Obama has bent over backwards for centrism, and the GOP feels the need to be contrary just for the sake of it. I'm glad bipartisanship is over– hopefully now the Obama administration can actually get some good ol' partisan work done, which is why we elected him. You know, to push the DEMOCRATIC agenda.

    February 23, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Yea right!!

    .....And that's what the Republicans want. They are not trying to be bipartisan in any way because it destroys President Obama's popularity rating. This is truly not a time for political serades. I am so disgusted with all of the crap. The Republicans do not care about the American people. All they want is for Pres. Obama to fail regardless of what they have to do to for him to fail (as Rush Limbaugh says). For example, the governors not accepting money for their states. That is simply ludicrous. I have never heard of such things that these Republican leaders are. Everybody needs to get over the race thing & start working to repair this country. All of this is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Joanna

    well i guess so! There are only so many times you can get slapped in the face. The GOP doesn't want to work together. Obama tried and tried. But I see that he realizes that it was all in vain. It is really ashame that the GOP is so dense.

    February 23, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    You can shrug off Republican opposition to the stimulus bill, as just petty and immature jealousy, or anger at losing the presidency.
    Or you can 'reason' through the reality of the mess that President Obama is making with this 'not really a stimulus' bill. You wanted big government... you've got big government. While Obama may be bold and has achieved a great deal during this very short time, he has rushed us to a scandalous state of the union. I am so proud of the Republicans for standing against Obama's socialist agenda. I am
    absolutely sure that many Democrats either don't fully understand, or could care less about capitalism versus socialism. But all can understand that the difference between independence and liberty,
    or dependence and being controled by an 'unseen' government beauracracy.

    February 23, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    President Obama can only ask for Bipartisanship. the senators are asking like little kids, IF you want play with my ball I want play with you

    February 23, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. reggie

    So true. Obama is in way over his head. Experience is what we need now more than ever. Unfortunately, we have NONE in President Obama.

    February 23, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Obama is all talk

    During the very long and contentious campaign I grew weary of Pbama's constant refrain. I did not believe him. His first month in office has provem me correct in my assessment to date – Pbama is long on campaign rhetoric, but whort on delivery and leadership. I have seen campaign promise after promise discarded by the road side for the sake of expediency. Obama and pelosi have beung best friends, and that spells trouble for the country. Obama chastises bankers going on a business trip to Las Vegas suing thd company's own funds, and Pelosi jets off on an Italian junket on taxpayer money. What I have seen in just a short period is Obama's ability to divide this country along economic and race lines and polarize the country like nobody has dome before.

    February 23, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. ANGIE-OH

    that is because the gop are poor losers. they still think only of themselves and not of the people that voted for them. they are a bunch of evil, mean spirted selfish old goats that need to be replaced. that is 1 thing out of many, many problems the repubs have.

    February 23, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Dennis

    BHO never had any record of sucess in working in a bi-patisan manner. John McCain has had a whole career of working with Democarats, Suddenly people are surprised that BHO can't just say the word and make it so. Contrary to the thought of those who were brain washed by the media, BHO is not God.

    February 23, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. joe

    keep beating a dead horse.....why do we even care right now about that!

    February 23, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. DP

    How can it be when both parties have looked at only the ideas where they are fundamentally different? The stimulus package contains a bunch of junk that the Republicans will not support and the Democrats know this. There was not a chance for debate and the initial version of the bill was written without Republicans. On the other hand, the Republicans have pushed for only tax cuts for the bottom two tax brackets (10% and 15% – not the rich). Both sides should have come together and put forward a bill that contained only major road projects, water sewer construction, school renovation/building, and a mix of tax breaks. Healthcare, unemployment, and research issues should have been left out. We live in the greatest country. We need to stand side by side and enact the issues that we can agree to terms.

    February 23, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. C W

    Obama followed through on his campaign promise to reach across the isle and give the GOP a chance to be part of the solution, and not just continue creating problems.

    If bipartisanship is happening in Washington, it's the fault of the Republicans. They are the ones who are naive in thinking the American people haven't noticed that the GOP seems intent on bringing down our country. All they care about are the rich and their cronies.

    My guess is if you looked at the political party affiliation of the heads of the banks that have "disappeared" over $250 billion of the TARP money, you'd see nothing but "GOP" next to their names.

    February 23, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. Ted

    Washington DC is partisan because the Republicans want it that way. Not too long ago, they were ignoring the Democrats across the aisle as they were in the majority and had the White House. For bipartisanship to work, the Republicans have to get over their loss in November and get back to work and reach across the aisle. They need to remember that it was their party in power for the past eight years that put us in this mess. Now they need to suck it up and get to work with the Democrats to clean it up.

    February 23, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. In Michigan

    Of course they're divided. Rush told his party to make sure Obama fails, and that's just what they'll do.

    February 23, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    GOP as always puts Party first, pushing their prohibitionist agendas ahead of what's best for the country. Even with the country collapsing, thanks to the inept Bush and cronies, the GOP still can't get past their idiotic personal agendas.

    February 23, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. DEM in HI

    I agree that Obama has a long road ahead. However, what I am upset about is that we have not had one investigation into how we got we are and not arrest for companies falsifying their balance sheets. It is a fact that Bears & Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, FannieMae, FreddieMac, Citi Bank, and B of A were hiding billions of loses on questionable accounting practices. Yet, we give over a trillion dollars to them without one change in the laws or lending practices. If we do not want to repeat the past, you have to make changes. The definition of insanity is trying to do the same thing twice under the same conditions and trying to have a different outcome. The party is over and we need to insure we never repeat this again.

    February 23, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Joshua College Station Texas

    Is no one in the media listening to what Obama is actually saying? He has said repeatedly, it will take time to change the culture. He made many efforts to reach across the aisle in his first few pieces of legislation management. Just because those efforts weren't reciprocated doesn't mean he failed.

    Entrenched anti-cooperation sentiment from both parties doesn't go away in a week or a month, and Obama has no illusions that it would. But that doesn't mean he isn't going to keep trying.

    CNN, always stirring the pot, trying to rile up the public. Pshaw!

    February 23, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. Is this the best we can do?

    Real simple why, he arrogantly dismisses anyone that doesn't agree with him as "remember he won".

    Clinton was right, as was 47 percent of us, this guy thinks he is something else, but HE IS MORE OF THE ARROGANT SAME.

    Salesmen in chief is all he is, teleprompted speeches written by someone else is ALL he is good at, take him away from them, uh, uh, uh, "we will look into that" or "we will uh, uh, uh form a commitee".

    Empty vessel in an empty suit.

    One and uh, uh done Barry.

    February 23, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. Lori, Houston Texas

    Who wrote this story? Rush Limbaugh? How can a country be united when we have highly paid jackasses who spew their lying nonsense to people who are too busy/lazy/ignorant to check the facts? In 2001 GWB told the Republicans what to do when he said "you're either with us or against us". He wasn't speaking to the world, he was speaking to Americans. The Republican party wants President Obama to fail because the don't believe in a democratic America. They want corportism to rule and a Black man to fail. I've sat at enough dinner tables over the last 2 years to hear the most disgusting things said about the Obamas. Where do people get that nonsense? From listening to Rush, O'Reilly, Dobbs, Hannity etc... you know, the propaganda arm of the R Party. Just remember that our Beloved Consitution has survived over 200 years. It will take much more than a bunch of greedy, racist, bigoted R's to destroy her,Thank God.

    February 23, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. chris

    bunch of garbage. While I didn't vote for Obama and have gotten sick of the democrats over the last 8 years of their enabling, the Republicans have made it clear they don't wish to work in the status of minority party. Unless they control it, they'll destroy it. SO to blame this on the Obama administration is garbage. This is the game, now instead of blaming the Republicans for trying to stall all progress in their typical "NO" behavior, the emphasis has been shifted to blame Obama for their "no" abstinence. Why CNN wants to enable this is beyond me outside headlines and more attention to it.

    February 23, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. B

    This is an incredibly ignorant article. Obama has always fought for bipartisanship, but he (or anyone for that matter) cannot solve the political system as an individual. I do not see how CNN can dismiss Obama's repeated attempts to incorporate Republicans into the economic stimulus package a few weeks ago – a remarkable attempt by any president (Democrat or Republican) towards bipartisanship.

    February 23, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Mike Dallas

    Who needs to worry about foreign Islamic terrorists coming to our shores to destroy America, we have republicans hell-bent on doing the same, but from the inside.

    As stated by the bald bloated bonehead himself he "wants Obama to fail".

    President Obama extends his hand to repubs and they bite it! This after he removes the 400 m for contraception, the resodding for 200m and increased tax cut, all in an attempt to be bi-partisan. The result is not ONE vote in the House and 3 in the Senate. Oh, I forgot the kindergarten temper tantrum by Boehner you complained he didn't have time to read the bill. Yo' Moron, Congress and the media had the bill for weeks, you could have read it and then kept up with the amendments. Of course, there I go, this from a party that holds the half-wit in such high esteem, but who apparently has never read a thing in her life. Oh, silly me.

    Now, he is taking is case, (repubs say "campaigning", but then repubs only mix it up with the unwashed masses when they want our votes), to the American people and after every appearance, his popularity and that of the bill grows. That is what happens when you show you care about the people and not just being in power and whining when your not.

    The American people are watching so, let the repubs continue to ignore the intelligence and appeal of President Obama, both of which translates into power. The republican party does that at it's own peril.

    Thankfully.

    February 23, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. CNC

    I am sick and tired of the media trying to cowtow to the Republican base to prove the MSM is not "left biased". In reality, the media realizes that it needs a strong Republican party in order to provide the controversy it needs to ensure high ratings. To ensure controversy, the MSM are now providing the Republican party with the most favorable coverage possible and throwing objectivity completely out the window.

    The President's policies do not exclude the Republicans in any way. In truth, those policies are extremely centrist and inclusive of the Republican point of view. The President's policies have become so inclusive that they have begun to alienate some of the liberal base.

    That congress is "divided" is not a result of policies that Barack Obama has put in place. It is divided at the choice of the Republican party which has chosen opposition at all costs. The Democrats have attempted repeatedly to include the Republicans in the process. It is the Republicans who are refusing to take a seat at the table (so that they can later claim they weren't included).

    February 23, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Gretel

    Mr Mooney what's your point? After less than 2 months, you are already giving a verdict on an issue that should be deliberated for 4-8 years. This is beyond absurd. What people like you fail to understand is that whenever big changes come about, there is almost always a period of turmoil first before things finally settle. That is exactly what is going on right now. Things appear to be in a state of flux because the ground below is being shaken. DUH!

    Your article goes out of its way to portray Obama as some naive clown who is just rattling on and on. And as for this nonsense about "Clinton said..." Clinton also said that Obama would not be able to beat the republicans in the presidential campaign. Clinton also criticized Obama's approach to foreign relations, which she is now endorsing. Smart people like Clinton and Obama know how to adjust their views and positions to adapt to the circumstances as time goes on. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are naive. Keep underestimating Obama, just like you all did when he announced that he was running for presidency, and see who will be eating their words 6 years from now. Unlike many republicans who just cannot admit when they make mistakes, Obama is not about saying "I was right." He is about doing what's best for the country.

    Oh and by the way, apart from the the three republican senators who approved the stimulus, there are several republican governers and mayors that supported Obama even though the stubborn senators in congress remained along partisian lines. Obama said he would reach across the aisle, and this is just what he did and continues to do.

    February 23, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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