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May 4th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #105: Night of the living Republicans

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama says he wants ideas from Americans. You know, if everyone sent a nickel with his or her suggestion, he’d pocket 15 million dollars. Now there’s an idea. Until he decides to do that, however, I’ll continue with a letter a day.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was pleasant, with no arguments over the TV remote. Ha! I was just thinking about that. “I’m sorry, Michelle, we’re not watching a rerun of Big Love. I have to watch the playoffs. It’s in the Constitution.”

As I mentioned in a previous missive, we had the in-laws in for our younger daughter’s confirmation. Nice ceremony, nice dinner afterward, and we celebrated Mother’s Day a week early with my Mother-in-Law since we were all together. In honor of the swine flu scare we even enjoyed a platter of bacon that just could not be beaten! Then I went for a great run in the rain with my elder daughter. Just what Dads live for, eh?

Enough about play, I noticed the Republicans were at work this weekend; launching a new nationwide initiative to reconnect with voters, rework their platform, reassess their leadership; all the things that the losing party usually does after a big election. (Of course I mean after getting drunk and blaming the media…)

FULL POST

May 3rd, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #104: Frenemy Territory

Reporter's Note: President Obama likes playing basketball and so do I. He has not, however, called me up for a game, so I am passing the time until the invitation comes by writing a letter a day to the White House.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve come to believe over the years that there are at least two different views of friendship in this world. I don’t mean acquaintanceship. All those yahoos you met when you were raising money and visiting diners are just that; people you met. I’m talking about true friendship. I’m talking about, “Let’s go out back and I’ll tell you a funny story about Biden,” friendship.

Some people believe a friend stands by you all the time, through thick and thin, and will be on your side in any dispute. They believe friends, because they refuse to let anything come between them, are a force to be reckoned with and have less to fear from the larger community than an individual might.

Other people, however, believe a friend stands by you all the time, through thick and thin, and will be on your side…as long as you are in the right. These people believe the true value of a true friend is not that he or she will always agree with you, but that this person cares about you enough to tell you when you are wrong.

FULL POST

May 2nd, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #103: Courting History

Reporter's Note: Every day I sit down to write a letter to President Obama, offering him my thoughts and suggestions. In turn, he sometimes gets a brief, faraway look in his eyes when he is making a speech and I think, “Hmmm. I wonder if he’s thinking of something I said.”

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Forget about the economy, the military, health care, foreign affairs, or the NBA playoffs. Now you have something on your hands that requires real attention. It’s time to pick a new Supreme Court Justice. Wow! For all the exciting Presidential things you get to do, that’s got to be one of the best. I mean, obviously, aside from having traffic stopped for six blocks in all directions by Secret Service every time you want to go grab a burger; because I’m sure that’s pretty happening too.

Picking a player to fit into the SUPCO roster is big league, and I just know I would not be any good at it. First, I’d have a terrible urge to get funny, and people take this so seriously I’m sure they would fail to see the humor in my selection of Emeril. “Bam! We’re going to kick these rulings up a notch! In my opinion, you’re guilty of not enough flavor!”

FULL POST

May 1st, 2009
12:01 PM ET

What about my hundred days?

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

You judge a restaurant by the happiness of the diners, not the fame of the chef. The success of the shepherd is the health of his sheep. The best coach in the world is a failure if his team folds.

A lot has been written in the past week about President Obama’s first hundred days in office, and frankly I think most of the political pundits are missing the point. The real measure of any president is not how he is doing, but instead it is how we are doing. The people of the country. Normal Americans.

Now of course it is patently unfair to lay blame for the nation’s problems at President Obama’s door. We’ve built our economic, international, and infrastructure woes over many years and even Houdini could not have slipped out of this trap in a hundred days. In addition, President Obama has taken bold steps to address many of the issues confronting the country. You may agree or disagree with his ideas, but he has undeniably been a man of action.

Now, that said, let’s look at how our first hundred days have gone.

FULL POST

May 1st, 2009
08:45 AM ET

Dear President Obama #102: The return of Frankenswine!

Reporter's Note: You might think President Barack Obama would be getting more advice than a rookie driver on a Boston rotary, but he has asked for the help of his citizens on that front, and I’m putting the proverbial pedal to the metal with a letter a day to the Commander in Chief’s office.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

OK, I’ve held it in as long as I can. I didn’t want to upset your hundred-versary or distract you from your big news conference, but now I’ve got to speak up about this pig flu business. I’m just not worried about it much. I’m sure you and Joe Biden spent half the night jawing at each other over what he said about the dangers of sneezy seatmates on airplanes, and I realize you have to play it safe with the general public.

But I’ve been reading an awful lot, talking with epidemiologists (fun? oh yeah!), and it just doesn’t look like that big of a deal, even though it could obviously become a bigger deal down the line. So here’s my advice: Don’t scare us unless you really must.

I’m not accusing you of anything I’m just saying I’ve grown tired over too many public officials, too many times, saying the sky is falling. We hear all these breathless warnings every time a hurricane starts swirling, a disease bubbles up, the stock market dips, or a tainted cookie appears in Iowa. A friend at the office calls it “the panic de jour.”

FULL POST

April 30th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #101: Fear and loathing ... and the future looms

Reporter's Note: As President Obama launches into his second hundred days in office, I remain undaunted. He asked for advice, and until he takes back the request, I will take to the keyboard every day with a letter to the White House.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Nice job on the news conference last night! Had to be a lot of pressure, what with the big hundred-day-milestone, the economy still rattling like Uncle Tony’s fake knee, and now pig flu sweeping the land. Remember, when facing my journalistic brethren you can’t ever let the sweat show or they’ll go after you like a terrier on a tennis shoe. Especially that Ed Henry. (I saw him light into a congressman once with such questions that the poor guy wound up in a corner of the Dirksen building whimpering like a school girl and begging for a Jonas Brothers t-shirt.) But you seem to have sussed that crowd out, so just hold it steady and you’ll be fine.

If the Presidency were a sporting event, (and of course it is!) this would be a break between periods; a time to review the game plan, grab a little water, and pump up for the next round, so I’ve drawn up a list of the five most dangerous items to watch for as the next hundred days start toddling by.

1) The TARP Money – Seriously, this program is so badly stacked for potential ripoffs and waste, if your money team does not completely slam some cuffs on it and get it under control, it could turn into a scandal that will dog you until the cows come home. Assuming we can still afford cows...

FULL POST

April 29th, 2009
08:13 PM ET

100 Days – and the stock market

Drew Trachtenberg
Executive Producer, CNN Business News

In the 100 days since President Obama has been in office, the major stock market averages are mixed.

The Dow industrials are down 96 points, or 1.1%, during that time. They closed today at 8,185 (preliminary), but have bounced back sharply from a low on March 9th of 6547.

Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are higher over the 100 day period. The Nasdaq is up 12 percent.

In today’s session, the major averages all rallied on hopes that the economic slide is moderating. Despite a worse than expected report on first-quarter GDP, there were indications in the report that the economy has reached its low-point.

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy • First 100 Days
April 29th, 2009
01:19 PM ET

100 Down, 900 to Go

Katrina vanden Heuvel
The Nation

As we mark the first 100 days of his presidency, it is staggering to consider the enormous challenges President Obama inherited from his predecessor, arguably the worst President ever. Can the devastation wrought by an eight-year nightmare be sorted out in 100 Days? Of course it can't. That's why Obama himself talked about needing to measure his accomplishments not by the first 100 days, but by the first 1,000.

Yet as we near this iconic marker - whether one is disappointed by some key appointments (read on), the size of the recovery bill, escalation in Afghanistan, the bank bailout plan or other issues - this President must be given credit for hitting the ground running and confronting challenges head on. Brutal and fundamental fights still lie ahead - on energy, healthcare, the budget, to name a few.

Obama understood the power - both symbolic and real - of swift, smart action, even within the first 100 hours of his inauguration. He pledged to close Guantanamo and the CIA black sites. He quickly passed a strong recovery bill - even if it was smaller than it should have been; that bill and his proposed budget begin to lay out a new blueprint for economic recovery and reconstruction, and a break with ill-conceived dogma about deficit reduction that has defined and limited economic policy for thirty years. He repealed the global gag order, took steps to restore science to its proper place with regard to stem cell research and addressing climate change, and has embarked on a substantive transformation to a clean energy economy.

Read More...

April 29th, 2009
11:39 AM ET

Specter a wake-up call for GOP

John Feehery
Special to CNN

The departure of Arlen Specter from the Republican Party puts an exclamation point on a rough first hundred days for the national GOP in the Obama era.

While many conservatives will say good riddance to the Pennsylvania senator, other leaders understand that without the Arlen Specters of the world staying in the Republican fold, the chances of regaining a majority coalition are severely diminished.

Specter would have lost in a Republican primary to Pat Toomey, a firebrand conservative who used to run the anti-tax group Club for Growth. That is why he decided to become a Democrat.

Keep Reading...


Filed under: First 100 Days • Raw Politics • Republicans
April 29th, 2009
10:38 AM ET

The first 100 days – for the Muslim World

Obama (second right) at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during his bridge-building and sight-seeing trip to Turkey.
Obama (second right) at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul during his bridge-building and sight-seeing trip to Turkey.

Arsalan Iftikhar | BIO
Founder, TheMuslimGuy.com

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” When President Barack Obama said that during his January 2009 presidential inaugural address, he sent a clear message to the world's 1.3 billion Muslims.

A few weeks ago in Ankara, he fulfilled his promise to give a major foreign policy speech from a capital in a Muslim-majority country in the first 100 days of his presidency. Obama told the Turkish Parliament that, “The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.”

So President Obama has done a remarkable job in his outreach to the greater Muslim world, where perception of the United States had suffered immensely from the garbled rhetoric and actions of the George W. Bush administration.

And many American leaders are following suit to bridge the diplomacy gap with the greater Muslim world. A group of 34 - including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Republican Congressman Vin Weber - suggested in a recent report, Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World, some ways to improve US-Muslim relations. Moroccan Ambassador Aziz Mekouar called the report “a most constructive blueprint for building relationships of cooperation between the United States and the Muslim world.”

FULL POST

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