PRESIDENT Barack Obama yesterday gave an assessment of his first 100 days in office, saying he was “pleased” but “not satisfied” with progress made.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Missouri, Obama highlighted achievements including the expansion of healthcare, the passing of a massive economic recovery package and the restoration of America’s reputation through the announced closure of Guantanamo Bay.
But he acknowledged that a lot more needed to be done, notably to pull the US out of the depths of recession, declaring “we have got a lot of work to do”.
Obama made the comments during the first of two set piece addresses to mark the 100-day milestone. Later last night he was to take part in a prime-time televised press conference, the third of his administration.
Speaking at the Fox High School in Arnold, Missouri, Obama received a standing ovation as he acknowledged that yesterday marked his 100th day.
He told the audience: “We have begun to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and we’re working to remake America.”
The president proceeded to list the achievements of his early administration and the challenges which remained. He also hit out at critics who have said the scope of his reforms was too vast.
“After 100 days I’m pleased with the progress we have made but not satisfied. I’m confident in the future, but I’m not content with the present.”
In office just three months, the Democrat enters the next phase of his new presidency with a high job approval rating and a certain amount of political capital from his history- making election.
But he also faces a thicket of challenges as he seeks to move ahead on multiple fronts both foreign and domestic amid recession and war. He will need continued public support to accomplish his lofty goals.
Thus, Obama used the anniversary — some aides derided it as a “Hallmark holiday” — to press his case.
He defended his ambitious, costly plan, saying: “These challenges could not be met with half measures. They couldn’t be met with the same, old formulas. They couldn’t be confronted in isolation. They demanded action that was bold and sustained.”
And, Obama countered critics who said he’s taking on too much, as he works to turn around the recession while revamping energy, education and healthcare in the United States.
“The changes that we’ve made are the changes we promised,” said Obama. “We’re doing what we said we’d do.”
Earlier, Obama began his day at the White House, where he welcomed Sen Arlen Specter, the veteran Pennsylvania Republican, to the Democratic Party. The president said he was “grateful” for Specter’s decision to switch parties. Vice President Joe Biden, who had long encouraged his former Senate colleague to become a Democrat, also attended.
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