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. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    At least he's trying-which is more than these whiny Republicans are doing. These obstuctionist/greed heads are digging their own political grave.
    Keep on, President Obama-the American people are behind you!

    February 23, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. ranjit

    If I remember right, this is one of the worst transition in the history of United States. Before all these nomination circus started, we did hear some great reviews of the transition. News about the 60 pages questions for job applications and stories of the best methodology used to select nominess was perpetuated by the media. Now, no one talks about the nominations process. Is it because, they don't want to show obama administration in bad light?

    February 23, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Lush Limprick is the real RNC chairman!

    Memo to President Obama:

    Due to the fact that the Republicans are reveling in the role of being obstructionists and making sure they do what is needed to see that “Obama fails” according to their spokesperson, I say let the repubs craft the package with “tax cuts”. Because, the unemployment numbers are growing by 100,000 each month, and gaining speed like a snowball rolling downhill, let the repubs explain how folks with no salary, therefore no tax break benefit, will help the economy. Bank of American and Citi are again teetering on the brink of collapse, do as the “deregulate” and “free market correction” repubs want and let the banks fail, Let the repubs explain to the citizenry that allowing banks to fail is “good for the economy”.

    Meanwhile Mr. President it is time to craft Plan B for the average American. Once the banks fail, I suggest using the 350 B in the TARP fund via Geithner, which would bypass Congress to have FEMA build public showers/bathrooms in city parks and other publicly owned land. Supply tents to the same areas for housing. Have FEMA set up distribution centers in all public schools cafeterias to give MREs to the unemployed and homeless. Give enough money to major metropolitan areas to keep public transit working on a reduced level. Finally, set up triage centers in the vacant big box stores in shopping centers to provide medical attention to the average American.

    This will go much farther to helping the average American citizen to get thru the upcoming depression as triggered by the Republican tax break stimulation plan..

    Then the 2% of Americans that will benefit from the tax breaks can hop on their private jets and fly to the Fiji Islands when the country has completely collapsed and there is no water or electricity.

    The Republicans in Congress better hope there is enough space on those private jets to include them on the journey to finding a new homeland…

    February 23, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. obama-mama

    The republicans are the cause of the divide in Washington. They are a bunch of derelicts. Still have it out for our President. They need to grow up. They were spineless when Bush was in office and now they want to make a stand. To hell with them all.

    February 23, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Justin - NC

    Obama's era is only a month long so far. They're expecting overnight Change and Obama already said it wasn't going to happen that fast. "It may not happen in one term, but we will get there," were his words. Besides, you can't have bipartisanship when one side's answer to everything is tax cuts and deregulation which didn't work for the last eight years of partisan government under Bush.

    February 23, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Doug

    You misspelled success in your title. 🙂

    February 23, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Linda in MS

    I think he's doing a great job, inspite of all of the obstacles and hurdles the Republicans are throwing at him. He has tried to work with them, but they put party first and the country second. It seems that Pres. Obama and the Democrats in Congress now have little choice but to move forward with or without the opposition's support.

    February 23, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. libs be dopes

    Bipartisanship got off to a bad start when Prez Pelosi and all her underlings wrote the Porkulus Bill and barred Republicans from giving input.
    If you want to see bipartisanship work you have to get rid of Prez Pelosi and Prince Harry. They are liabilities that Obama can do without.

    February 23, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Eric Roberts

    I think we are confusion division with the republicans be obstructionist. Obama put out the olive leaf and went to the Republicans...sought thier advice and even conceeded some pretty important things in the stimulus bill...even though the Democrats didn't need republican support to pass this, yet the obstructionist Republican party chose to vote along party lines and vote agaisnt it. It's time they start doing thier jobs and represent the people rather than doing the will of Rush Limbaugh and the the Republican party. We don't elect parties...we elect individuals. We elect them to office...not the party leaders.

    February 23, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Judy from PA

    I know that our economy is bad right now and something needs to be done. But it always scares me when the government acts 'quickly'. I don't think that is always a good thing. Remember how quickly the Republicans acted to get the Patriot Act passed? Or how quickly they lead us into the Iraq War? This stimulus bill is important and needed to be done correctly, not quickly. I don't think the Obama Administration should pat themselves on the back for doing something quickly.

    February 23, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Frost/Tennessee

    He's doing a great job, The people's President we all knew the GOP would fight him, they hate the American People.

    All the GOP know how to say is NO.. but no once with all the getting savy with the internet have they posted a different plan.

    Until this is done.. No one is listening to them.. peroid..

    February 23, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Well, at least he has some sense of what has to be tried to get things moving again. Maybe he should use the Selective Service system to put the 18-26 yr olds to work (including females who should also have to register by the way) where maybe they can even learn a trade while helping put the infrastructure back together.

    February 23, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. still hoping

    If you have a mind of your own and can actually read rather than follow what you are being told may I relate the following: for 6 years the economy was good under GWB. We still had the banking/housing bubble looming that was generated under Clinton, but we were hanging in there knowing it would burst soon. Two years prior to GWB's presidency ending, the democrats took over congress and the economy tanked. It's been getting worse daily ever since that day, and yet people blame GWB when it was the democratic congress and Bill Clinton.

    So go ahead and be uniformed, blame the republicans and wallow in your and my demise. At least we have some people, including the 12 targeted republicans who bravely opposed the spending bill, who will fight for doing the right thing instead of just anything or following the poular thing. Just look at the mortgage bill which was fed to you as a country problem when it was just 5 states. So go ahead and just keep believing what you are told, or grow up and think for yourselves for a change. That would be change you really could count on.

    February 23, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Philly Guy

    Obama has tried his hardest for bipartisanship in every way: Symbolic (Superbowl party), Employment (hiring Republican staffers) and Political (reaching across the isle regarding the stimulus package. The Republicans are too entrenched in their ways. You cannot change the unwilling.

    February 23, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Linda in MS

    Kevin In Ohio

    I don't know where you get the idea that Obama ran a deceptive, divisive, and hateful campaign. You have got to kidding, right? Sarah Palin nearly created lynch mobs at her rallies, and the only tactic they could use was to try and smear Obama's character. Your party lost because it represented nothing but failure, and was represented by one candidate who didn't have a clue and another who did not have a brain. Get over it.

    February 23, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. Kevin in Ohio

    Since when is disagreeing with something wrong? Oh, that's right, comrades, we must all agree with our leader. Many Republicans would have supported a stimulus package that did NOT include Pelosi and Reed's pet projects. But Chancellor Obama refused to listed to those concerns.... partisanship is clearly Obama's fault.

    February 23, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    If any politician in D.C. would know of the partisanship HRC would know. The hope that is President Obamas, of working towards one goal for all, has been quickly denied him by the ever, dirty fighting, Republican party, who would not EVER work for the good of the people of this country UNLESS it benefitted their pocket book ten times over.

    President Obama in his effort as a community organizer worked with the poorer people , who are use to sharing a common goal that will benefit everyone. He didn't spend enough time in D.C. as a senator to learn that the politicians of the world don't share anything, with anyone, unless it benefits their personal bottom line. He needs to have a little time to learn the greedy lessons he is about to learn in D.C. and heaven knows what they will teach him. It will be interesting to watch this wide eyed, eager, personable, caring young man and how he grows into the presidency... Hopefully his values will change slowly in some respects and quickly in others. Hopefully he will learn very first that his only friend in D.C. is his wife and two little girls.

    February 23, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. Lee in TN

    It is true the country could not be more divided than it currently is. That however, is not Barack Obama's fault. The divide began during the Reagan years and culminated during the most divisive administration in U.S. history, the Bush/Cheney 8 years in office. It will take President Obama a good portion of his time in office to reverse the damage done by these extremist 'neo-conservatives" who have taken over and destroyed the republican party.

    February 23, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. mary,florida

    Wow,this was a great 30 days for this country.The republicans dont know what partisanship is,except when their a minority.Then they think its important.They have never agreed to the principles of the less fortunate.Their policies favor the rich.

    February 23, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. naqib

    He claims to be...

    HI... here's a bill thats rediculous... sign i

    Oh you don't want too.... a trillion dollars that doesn't stimulate...

    Well.. you're just obstructionists...

    Well.. the bill passed anyway... so they didn't obstruct anything... they just won't be to blame when this makes things worse... oh yea... caused the DOW to drop to a 25 year low... Nice Job

    February 23, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. mary,florida

    Well Obama brought them to the well.And the repubs would rather die than drink the water.So be it.

    February 23, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. John Galt in Colorado

    Success in what?

    February 23, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. person

    IF CNN actually did it's job and scrutinized the W administration this much there would be no IRAQ war, katrina disaster, silly bush tax cuts, scooter libby cover-ups, and politicization of the DOJ.

    So u guys take a lesson or two from BBC!!

    February 23, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Maggie from Virginia

    Rob,

    You need some introspection to learn the real reason you have a problem with Holder's comments. I do not think Mr. Holder was singling out any particular race as "cowards". He was speaking of all races.

    February 23, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. sharon,ny

    No matter who is in the presidential seat, "it takes a village" (to quote Hillary years ago).....we only have part of the village on board, and, until the Repubs stop trying to bring this man down and start to compromise, nothing will change. I'd like to hear of one person that can turn 8 yrs. of Bush around in 100 days! There isn't one out there, and, Obama isn't trying to make it all happen at once....it's impossible. I commend him for trying to bring all together, but, we cannot wait forever for all to come on board and at some point have to go forward with what we think is right. He's not a savior....he's just a man trying to
    undo what has been done and move this country forward. Let's give him a chance. And for those of you who are skeptics, why don't YOU run for the office? If Palin can get as far as she did in such a short time, I am sure you could get just as far in the next four years and YOU can be Predisent and fix everything in your first 100 days!

    February 23, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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