January 20th, 2010
10:45 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama's first year: Strong foundation or house of cards?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/20/art.obama0909.gi.jpg caption="Obama's first year: Strong foundation or house of cards?"]Washington (CNN) - He was talking about health care, but President Obama could have just as easily been summing up his entire first year when he made some blunt comments in a closed-door meeting with House Democrats last week.

Democratic sources who were in the room say Obama, pressed by liberals angry about the reform package getting watered down, decided to quote Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who said recently: "What we're building here is not a mansion, it's a starter home. It's a starter home, but it's got a great foundation for expanding health care coverage to 31 million Americans."

Obama's point was that he believes the health bill - if it can pass (and that's in real doubt now) - would be a dramatic step forward but is just the first draft. He hopes to come back later in his presidency to pass a second reform package that finishes the job.

The same goes for other big Obama promises like energy reform to deal with climate change and financial regulatory reform to clean up Wall Street - "mansions" that have not been built yet, even though a strong "foundation" has been put down to meet these promises in the future.

But Republican Scott Brown's stunning victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday suggests Obama may not even get the first draft of health care reform through Congress, because of a huge split in his own party: Angry liberals in the House are signaling they will not rush through what they consider to be the Senate's weak version of reform before Brown gets seated in the Senate, while skittish conservative Democrats in the Senate, like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, may no longer be on board with any kind of reform, out of a fear of becoming the next Martha Coakley.

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soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. EDDIE

    The Democrats blew it.Simply blew it.and that sucks.Get ready for a whole bunch of nothing to happen for Americans.I just can't believe the blew it.Amazing.

    January 20, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Mike

    All his mansion building may put the rest of us in the poor house........

    January 20, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. I Love America

    House of cards – and big wind just came through......

    January 20, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. The proof is now

    Obama has had one party rule for a year now. He has NOT passed Health Care. So, who is at fault here? The liberals will yell and scream and say the republican conservatives have lied and spread false facts. Dems will say Rush, Hannity and the tea baggers have spread lies and created a hostile politcal uprising.
    Many still want to blame Bush.

    But the fact is, Obama has had the tools to do almost anything he wants. But he has failed at keeping his OWN party in line. He has let Pelosi take charge, and she is NOT a leader. Neither is Ried. Obama has dropped the ball big time. Again, I am sure many libs and Dems will blame everyone but themselves. They had it all, and the could not do a darn thing in 12 months.

    January 20, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. TexasJack

    OH MY GOSH: Strong foundation. You call passing a bill for a Muslim Stamp. Taking In God We Trust of our currency and not allowing our troops to say Jesus Christ is a foundation. This man is creepy with all the earmarks of the founding Terriost. No way will he be back for another term. He has done nothing, will do nothing and has no ideal of what to do except embarrass the U.S. On top of this his wife Michele has 22 people working on her personal staff at a cost to taxpayers of 103,000,000 dollars. Their total job is to take care of her needs. And CNN says she has a 71% approval rating. Where are these polls taken, in Chicago?

    January 20, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Angus McDugan

    Obama must not work behind closed doors. If nothing else, it generates a preception of hiding bad things from the people.

    Mr. Obama, We the people are smarter than you give us credit for, so please don't hide behind closed doors with people that only represent 50% of the country.

    January 20, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Enough

    House of cards............knock that sucker over and start from scratch. The Democrats have controlled everything for a year, and what a disaster that has proven to become, makes us really miss Bush, he wasn't so bad after all, compared to this bunch running the circus. Careful what you wish for...............how's that hope and change working for you?

    January 20, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Tim

    So did you hear that Obama's US Intel Chief, Blair, has come out and publicly stated it was wrong to treat the Christmas day bomber as a criminal and he is exactly the type of person that we should treat as an enemy combatants and use special interogation techniques to gather valuable information. Not only that, but he also said he was not consulted, nor were many other people that are supposed to implement our strategy regarding terrorism.

    Geez, I wonder why those who were in charge decided to treat him as a common criminal instead of an enemy combatant? I wonder if they were getting some sort of message that we needed to change the way we prosecute the war? I wonder if they felt pressure to read him his maranda rights as soon as possible?

    Thanks to all your idealistic hope and change, we have a clown running the country.

    Who was it that said he saw no upside in treating this terrorist as an enemy combatant? Put him in charge of some more stuff, he's a genious. Him and Obama should be making all decisions.

    January 20, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. HypocriCNN/FOX Nuisense Are Antichrists Of News!

    I'd Say The First Year Of The Obama Presidency Just Became A House Of Cards Thanks To Last Nights Upset In Massachusetts. This Administration Has Been Getting Pushed Around Too Much, And Letting People Who Shouldn't Be Runnings Things Run Things. Health Care Should've Been Signed Already, And Now It Has A Very Slim Chance Of Even Passing At All.

    January 20, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. MattMan

    Obama's first year has been a disaster for this country.

    He has lost all of the jobs and productivity in one year that had accumulated during the prior ten years.




    January 20, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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