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Obama's Hundred Days
President Barack Obama walks down the Cross Hall to hold his first news conference, Monday, Feb. 9, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP)

President Barack Obama walks down the Cross Hall to hold his first news conference, Monday, Feb. 9, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP)

You can call 100 days arbitrary. You can call it a gimmick, when it comes to sizing up a new administration. But you can’t deny that by the hundred-day mark — particularly in wild times like these — we learn a lot about a new president.

Today marks 100 days in office for President Barack Obama. It’s been a cool frenzy of high-wire moves in an economic meltdown. If polls are right, Americans certainly feel better under Obama. Now, where are we going exactly?

An economy in crisis. Big plans on healthcare, education, environment. Huge spending, and a new face abroad. The president has reached out to old foes, and drawn blood of Somali pirates. One hundred days is not much. But we’ve seen a lot.

This hour, On Point: Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and conservative Pat Buchanan on what we’ve learned about this new president, and where he will lead.

You can join the conversation. What’s your take on President Obama’s first 100 days? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

In our studio we’re joined by Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian and author of “No Ordinary Time,” her Pulitzer Prize-winning history of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Her 2005 book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” was a New York Times #1 bestseller. She’s also written acclaimed histories of LBJ and JFK.

With us from Washington is Pat Buchanan, political analyst, syndicated columnist, author, three-time presidential candidate, and leading conservative voice. He served as senior advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and ran himself in 1992, 1996, and 2000. His most recent book is “Churchill, Hitler, and ‘The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World.”

More links:

Behind-the-Scenes: 100 Photos for 100 Days — Amid all the Hundred Days coverage, this special Time magazine photo gallery stands out.

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  • Mike

    ouch, this is going to be good, please call pat when he pulls the spin, and how he claimed palin was one of the best candidates for prez. or Bachmann crazy claim dems cause the flu.

    say what u want about obama, but least we know what is going on when he picked his cabinet, plans for health care, foreign, domestic policies more transparency (yet with some difficulty)improve our standing around the world and show the world we are a nation that does not torture or sink as low as a terrorist to accomplish our missions. can u say the same for bush.

    even know the like of Hanity, Rush, Oreily and Foxes try to say anything to lie, spin, the facts against him(much different then criticizing).

    He been a pretty good prez so far, open-minded, pretty moderate( even know the right-wing with say otherwise)

    Obama been willing to try and work with others and find common ground. on top actually spending to help the whole of society not the small elite where 5 trillion spent and nothing to show for it for the majority of country,

    than obama few trillion to improve our schools, infrastructure, education, hopefully amtraks and railway, health coverage,save programs that help the disable, mend and slow jobs loss.

    he could work on banking regulation, prosecution of people who torture, booting the parasite lobbist from our government(wishful thinking)

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    There’s a nice slide show of Obama’s first 100 days up at flickr in the official Obama photostream by White House Photographer, Pete Souza.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/sets/72157617357737487/show/

  • Felipe

    Thanks Richard for the link … great great wonderful pictures from Pete Souza.

    Arlen Specter must go. He is fake and he is in it all for himself. Did you see Obama’s body language, this moring. He is not crazy about Arlen the Selfish, Moderate only when it is Convenient Specter.

    If I were head of the Senate Judiciary Committee for two years, like he was – oh boy, things would have been different. He always went along with the Cheney’s crap.

    He is a double faced flaky person. I still think that Chris Matthews would be the perfect guy with principles for that seat. Let’s get rid of Arlen Specter.

  • Joe

    Much discussion 100+ days ago about cabinet choices (team of rivals, etc.). Would like to hear guests discuss cabinet choices/effectiveness/cohesiveness.

  • Anne

    Socialism?? I think we are just continuing to have socialism for the rich. We are giving banks and auto companies billions of dollars so their poor execs can continue to get big compensation. This has to stop.

  • Hassan

    Concerning the soundbite where Obama mentions that America is not at war with Islam.

    Let us look at the facts on the ground:

    1. 1300 Palestinians died in the Israeli bombing campaign. Not a word of cristicism. Now there lives are destroyed and Isareli is not letting in any reconstruction materials not to mention the settlements are continuing.

    2. Still in Iraq.

    3. Increasing the war in Afganistan.

    4. Cristising Pakistan for making a peace treaty with an area in the border region.

    5. Still criticsing Iran even though they are completing in accrdance with the nuclear non-profeliration agreement (Even though Israel has nuclear bombs)

    All of this points to more of the same, war against Islam, whatever the soundbites Obama says.

  • Michael Bastian

    Dear Tom,
    I am thrilled about the first 100 days of the Obama presidency. What a change and breath of fresh air. I strongly believe America is coming back – to a great extent what Obama has done so far and has set out to achieve. As one who has lived and worked in Europe, I see a real transformation in public opinion about America and it’s standing in the world. After a disastrously failed Bush Presidency America is regaining credibility, respect and leverage domestically and internationally. Very inspiring!

  • Martin Lowenthal

    One limitation on what Obama is trying to accomplish centers around the fact that the Bush administration has somewhat gutted many departments of expertise and support personnel. One of the reasons Obama may be hesitant to take over large banks is that he currently lacks the institutional capacity to run these complex organizations and he needs to rebuild the agency infrastructure of the federal government. This will take time and money.

  • JP

    Good point Martin!

    Worst of all was the brain drain in intelligence agencies and the Justice department, whether because they didn’t willingly play Bushie ball or because they simply became utterly disillusioned.

    Of course, no government arm or agency was spared, as Cheney, Bush, and Rove saw to it that all were ousted who were not true Bushie believers.

  • JP

    Unfortunately, the Bushie true believers were all the worst of the worst, and that is what Obama and the country is now mostly stuck with, permeating all arms of the executive and judicial branches.

    I hope Obama’s administration knows just where to clean house… and as Bob Woorward said, Cheney undoubtedly left behind carefully planted soies and saboteurs.

  • JP

    Correction…

    Unfortunately, the Bushie true believers were all the worst of the worst, and that is what Obama and the country is now mostly stuck with, permeating all arms of the executive and judicial branches.

    I hope Obama’s administration knows just where to clean house… and as Bob Woorward said, Cheney undoubtedly left behind carefully planted spies and saboteurs.

  • Sam

    To Hassan,

    PLEASE be unbiased when you try to be judgemental:

    1. 1300 Palestinians died in the Israeli bombing campaign. Not a word of cristicism. Now there lives are destroyed and Isareli is not letting in any reconstruction materials not to mention the settlements are continuing.

    Israel has always been committed to Peace and Ceasefire, however the rockets wont stop, ditto with Suicide Bombers, ditto with the construction materials that can be used to build military installations than rebuilding the civil establishments.

    Ofcourse, Israel will allow it, if the ordinary Palestinians are left alone by Hamas and the proxies!

    2. Still in Iraq.

    We are PRESENTLY in Iraq, just to make sure that they can “take care” of themselves rather than getting engulfed in a civil war!

    3. Increasing the war in Afganistan.

    Dont you have any sympathy for the people who are suffering due to Taliban (this is/was a war AGAINST TALIBAN)

    4. Cristising Pakistan for making a peace treaty with
    an area in the border region.

    Are you completely unaware that Pakistan is the biggest looser in the region just because of the “so called peace treaty” with terrorists aka Taliban, also it has been suffering for a long time now.

    Pakistan and Taliban are NOT ONE!

    5. Still criticsing Iran even though they are completing in accrdance with the nuclear non-profeliration agreement (Even though Israel has nuclear bombs)

    We are making progress with Iran, things cant be changed overnight, this administration has agreed to Talk to IRAN to start with, I guess you have to appreciate that!!

    All of this points to more of the same, war against Islam, whatever the soundbites Obama says.

    No one wants to stage a War AGAINST Islam, it was Mr. OBL who starte the whole drama (atleast for us in the States) and that coward used the shield of religon so that he can influence more innocents into HIS PERSONAL AGENDA and nothing more!

  • millard-fillmore

    Hassan, is Islam one big group that comprises Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Taliban? I thought that many in the list are independent countries which run their own business without first consulting “Islam”.

    By the way, why is your comment sympathetic to Taliban, which is a version of radical Islam and a threat to society? Shouldn’t you be opposing them, unless you find their rule of law wonderful? Maybe you would love to live under their rule, but I’m quite happy that the drones are blowing them off. I could care less for their ideology or their application.

    As for war on Islam, you don’t have to look much further than the Shia-Sunni violence where both blow each other’s mosques and people. At least Islam is showing signs of letting go of sexism, since there are examples of female suicide bombers too.

  • Jordan

    It’s 100 Days of No Accountability in this viral video, watch: http://tinyurl.com/deejcj

  • juliaBing

    Taliban believes in Radical Islam and a threat to society. If somebody is bad and threat, the best thing to do is to mind our own business and stay the hell out of there.

    Who cares about Shia-Sunni violance and bombing each others masques. It is their internal matter. We defend the constitution of the United States of America.

    From the postings above, somehow if somebody was for the bombing of Gaza, they are also for eternal occupation of other islamic countries in the middle east.

    I know, we are losing, the islamic countries are suffering with flow of more and more weapons thruough their border. So why are we doing?

    Or, is there any other country that is benefiting when there is more terror, fear, security issues and endless war between Government of USA and 1.5 billion Muslims?

    Anybody brave enough to come up with a guess?

    Obama failed in foreign policy and financial policy; because of the teams that are appointed and controlled by Rahm Emanuel, et. al.

  • juliaBing

    Hassan,

    Not sure if you are a supporter of Obama (I hope you are).

    Did you happen to know that #1 American who can influence political climate in Afghanistan and Pakistan is Richard Halbrook.

    Somebody sent me an article from the First Page of Pakistan Times newspaper that Richard Halbrooks relatives are Israeli Citizens.

    That’s what I don’t understand. Flying 747 in NYC skyline is a mistake and been done by one person. But appointing Richard Halbrook to that region. How can we expect these people respect USA if we keep making these insensitive and in-your-face mistakes.

    There is no excuse for this arrogance.

  • Mike
  • Lilya

    NBC Correspondent Engel

    “Everytime I come back to USA, I am more and more surprised about the disconnect between the real situation in Iraq and the Political Scene in Wash, DC.”

    How come? We have OnPoint – are we still failing to understand what a trap we are in.

    Yes, because we do not hit the right tones with the correct guests.

    Can we get Richard Clark, Richard Butler as Guests.

    We have to find out and admit why we invaded Iraq? (Israel, Israel, Israel) If Obama cannot put this out on the table with humility and apologies, factions in Iraq will only see USA is as the Evil Occupying Power and will only keep quiet as long as we feed them our tax dollars.

    The biggest employer in Iraq is US Taxpayers.
    The biggest sector in Iraq is “Security”.

    Certain factions will not hesitate to create excuses so that the green cow will not stop giving milk.

    We have to see things through Iraqi eyes.

  • millard-fillmore

    Taliban believes in Radical Islam and a threat to society. If somebody is bad and threat, the best thing to do is to mind our own business and stay the hell out of there.

    Yes, unless there’s a danger to neighboring democratic countries and if it indirectly affects us. Besides, we’re there to catch Osama.

    Who cares about Shia-Sunni violance and bombing each others masques. It is their internal matter. We defend the constitution of the United States of America.

    That was to illustrate to Hassan about his fallacy of ‘war on Islam’. So, chill, and don’t take my comment out of context.

  • Lilya

    a) Osama died on Dec 13/14, 2001

    b) Let’s find out what “really” happened on 9/11

    c) If some “terrorists” really attacked WTC, etc.
    – let’s find out why they did that
    – let’s give in to their demands (whatever it is, whatever they want)

    d) Then peace, freedom and prosperity forever (no more searches at Airports)

    ps. If Richard Reed had stuck the plastic explosive into his butt, do you have any idea what you were going to be doing before boarding airplanes?
    (hint: instead of removing your shoes)

  • Joe B.

    Great discussion! Thanks for having Pat Buchanan on the program again. I always find his analysis and opinion to be honest, fair, and “on point”.

  • Stephen

    I agree I appreciate having Pat Buchanan on the program. I don’t really agree with many of his opinions but I enjoy listening to his point of view anyway.

  • http://wbur.org Barbara Browne

    I love Barack Obama and I am so proud that we elected him president. In February, I was in France where the people are very active political thinkers. Everyone I spoke to, said essentially the same thing (with huge smiles on their faces and a conspiratorial “high five” posture): Obama, hein? You Americans have finally done the right thing!

    Obama’s most important accomplishment by far is that he has improved the standing of the U.S. in the eyes of the rest of the world. The reaction of world leaders was superb. Maybe under Obama’s leadership, we can become the country people look to as a moral compass, and maybe we can stop acting like a bunch of middle school boys, and lead by example by doing the right thing whenever serious decisions are made.

    About the economy. It seems that NOBODY, particularly not financial experts, has ANY idea how we can pull ourselves out of this economic crisis. So, given that he inherited this catastrophe, how can any reasonable person measure his efficacy in terms of the economy?

    About the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Pakistan. We have to take control now because Bush took his eye off the ball. I don’t like that it’s being called Obama’s war as if it’s something he had been itching to get into. He’s just doing what he has to do.

  • Nikhil

    The economy today is not the only problem. What people fail to see, or just are ignoring are the current environmental problems. Obama should push new environmentally friendly energy sources, nuclear, biofuels, solar, wind, anything otherwise in the near future there could be impossibly severe problems with the climate of our planet.
    The environment is a problem. It is not something to push off to the side. I’m not saying the economy is not important, what I am saying is that through these new renewable resources, the economy can be re-stabilized. Cars that run more efficient is not the answer, that is too little of a step. Cars have to be totally redesigned to be hyper efficient and run on electricity. Battery technology should be researched like how the nuke was researched in World War 2. And who says that these new technologies would just drain resources. Initially they might, but it would put the American energy economy light years ahead of everyone else. Foreign countries will look towards America as the forefront of technology instead of the other way around. We have the money, but we are all to greedy to save the planet. Spend some money on environmental technologies and in the long run, we will be so ahead it won’t even matter. Instead of outsourcing jobs to other countries, the jobs will flow back here as America will become the country where the world gets its energy hardware from instead of the USA importing insane amounts of oil to quench our energy needs. Obama needs to full out revolutionize out energy structure instead of start it on its course.

  • R.M.
  • Arnold

    Obama’s got little good to show for 100 days; the economy is even worse, nothing practical done relative to the environment, still in Iraq and even more in Afghanistan, health care and tuition costs still going up, energy policy still MIA, state secret privilege use increasing, violating his own executive orders, inconsistent policy on enemy combatants, transparency on extremely selective terms, bailouts only for bigwigs, ….

  • JP

    Yes, Arnold,

    Amazing how Bush/Cheney screwed things up so bad that nothing seems to help much… not even hundreds of billions of carefully targeted dollars!

  • David

    **In February, I was in France where the people are very active political thinkers. Everyone I spoke to, said essentially the same thing (with huge smiles on their faces and a conspiratorial “high five” posture): Obama, hein? You Americans have finally done the right thing!**

    Much of my family lives in Paris, and I know all about ^^ this arrogance. And it IS arrogance Barbara. How dare France suggest the we “finally” did the “right thing.” Their record on human rights, racism, etc. is absolutely appalling.

  • millard-fillmore

    “In February, I was in France where the people are very active political thinkers. Everyone I spoke to, said essentially the same thing (with huge smiles on their faces and a conspiratorial “high five” posture): Obama, hein? You Americans have finally done the right thing!”

    Ah yes. The arrogant froggies who sold their Jews down the river during WWII and couldn’t even save their country from the Nazis, and it was up to America to come and liberate their sorry asses.

  • Arnold

    He is having a lot of success raising the debt and deficit. Wonder what the second act will be.

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