April 29th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Obama’s first hundred days: Looking through the lens of history

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David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

How should one assess the First Hundred Days of President Obama?

I come at this question through an experience of some years ago. After he won the presidential election of 1980, Ronald Reagan asked his transition team to come up with an action plan for his early weeks in office. I was a co-captain of that team with Richard Wirthlin and headed up a research project to study the First Hundred Days of other recent presidents - FDR, Ike, Kennedy, Nixon and Carter.

Let me outline our 3 conclusions and see how President Obama stacks up:

First, the public makes a fresh evaluation of a president the day he takes office. Until then they have only known him as a candidate and possibly as a Senator or Governor. But as soon as he enters the White House, they look at him anew: Is he really up to the job? Can we trust him? Does he know where he wants to go? Do we want to go there too? Or does buyer’s remorse set in?

Some presidents pass the test with flying colors – think FDR, Ike and then Reagan. Others disappoint – think Ford and Carter. From my perspective, Barack Obama has struck most Americans as one of the most promising presidents we have seen. Indeed, a major historian told me recently that “he is the single most impressive man I have witnessed in my adult lifetime” – and I am not at all sure that this historian voted for him.


April 29th, 2009
08:13 PM ET

100 Days – and the stock market

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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.


Filed under: Economy • First 100 Days
April 29th, 2009
08:03 PM ET

Jon Stewart on the coverage of the First 100 days

This week, Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" decided to make fun of the First 100 Days coverage at a number of news organizations – including CNN.

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
April 29th, 2009
07:56 PM ET

What Pandemic Level 5 means

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Caleb Hellerman
CNN Medical Unit Senior Producer

The current Pandemic Phase system of the WHO has only been in existence for five years. It was created in response to concern about the emergence of the H5N1 avian flu virus in Asia. Until this week, the Phase has never been higher than 3. (H5N1, while it carries an alarming fatality rate, does not spread easily from person to person.)

It’s safe to say that SARS would have rated at least a 4, and possibly a 5. More context: there have been four significant influenza pandemics since these things have been tracked: 1889, 1918, 1957 and 1968. Because of this pattern, many experts believe – generally – that we have been due for another one.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Health Care • Public Health
April 29th, 2009
07:35 PM ET

Live Blog – Pres. Obama's Press Conference

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Here's your chance to comment on President Obama's press conference tonight at 8 p.m. How would you rate his first 100 days in office? What would you ask him?

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")

2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)

3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)

4) No links

5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: 360° Radar
April 29th, 2009
07:10 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Hurtling toward a swine flu pandemic

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

The swine flu crisis is erupting on a milestone week for President Obama; today is 100th day of his presidency.

Arbitrary or not, Day 100 has become part of the drill when it comes to covering new administrations – and tonight, CNN will have extensive coverage, starting with President Obama’s prime-time press conference at 8 p.m. eastern. We’ll cover the presser live and follow with plenty of analysis and reality-checking. We’ll also give you a chance to grade the president - and Congress - on their performance so far.

Starting at 11 p.m. eastern, 360 will have the latest on the swine flu outbreak, which health officials say is hurtling toward a pandemic.

Today brought a flood of new developments in this fast-moving story. The World Health Organization raised its alert another notch, from 4 to 5 – its second-highest level. More than 140 cases have been confirmed in at least 9 countries. Germany and Austria are the latest to report swine flu.

In the U.S., the number of confirmed cases grew to 91. The virus has been reported in at least 10 states, and hundreds of suspected cases are being investigated. A toddler in Texas became the first U.S. fatality. He was visiting from Mexico and died in a Houston hospital.

Health officials say we can expect more deaths. The new Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, held a news conference today, her first full day on the job. Talk about being thrown into the fire.

A lot of viewers have been asking why we’re devoting so much coverage to the swine flu story. They point out, rightly, that the death toll hasn’t yet come close to the average annual death toll from the common flu, which kills around 36,000 Americans each year. But that’s just one piece of the story and one measurement of the danger.


Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
April 29th, 2009
06:50 PM ET

Comparing Obama to FDR

Today, as the world examines President Obama's record over his first 100 days, the progressive  Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute launched a blog called New Deal 2.0 to examine the country’s financial crisis. Contributors range from Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz to former U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chief Economist Robert Johnson to noted progressive Rev. Marcia Dyson. We’ll be watching for comments related to stories we're covering on AC360° each night, but check out the new site.

Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama
April 29th, 2009
06:01 PM ET

Ted Turner and T. Boone Pickens talk energy

Mary Anne Fox
AC360° Producer

I was intrigued with the idea of producing a segment where former media mogul and CNN founder Ted Turner and legendary oilman turned environmentalist T. Boone Pickens interview each other. What do two people who’ve made a fortune from scratch, live for giving it away and are obsessed with clean energy ask each other? There was just one problem: their hectic schedules.

Despite the endless efforts of our editorial producer, Kay Jones, we couldn’t get the two billionaires together in the same city for an interview. But, thanks to our CNN bureaus, we were able to bring them together via satellite. Using four cameras with T. Boone in our New York studios and two with Ted nearly nine hundred miles away in Atlanta we were able to mimic a face to face. And as soon as the two hunting buddies saw each other on the big plasma, they took it from there and never looked back.


April 29th, 2009
05:41 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/29/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

US Senator Arlen Specter speaks to Vice President Joe Biden as US President Barack Obama looks on April 29, 2009 in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Beat 360° Challenge But wait!… There’s more! When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
April 29th, 2009
04:55 PM ET

New Swine Flu FAQs – How should the new flu be treated?

Program Note: What are your questions about the flu? Tune in tonight for answers on AC360° at 11 p.m. ET.

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Here are some of your most frequently asked questions about treatment and medication for the swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that it would begin referring to the illness as the 2009 H1N1 virus.

What medicine is available if I get sick with the swine flu?

CNN: The antiviral medicines Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) have shown they can kill the new flu strain. You should take the medicine within two days of contracting the flu. The medicine is more effective when taken in the early phase of the infection.

At this time, CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu or Relenza for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. The federal government is releasing nearly 13 million doses of antiviral medications to states to stem the spread of swine flu.

Meanwhile, national health officials said in a news conference Wednesday that efforts are under way to create a vaccine against the new strain of flu.

Should I take an anti-viral medicine now to be safe?

CNN: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking Tamiflu or Relenza as a precaution only for people living in households with someone who may be sick with swine flu. Even then, the CDC recommends these medicines for those under 5, over 65, or pregnant.

The CDC also recommends the drugs for schoolchildren with chronic medical conditions who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed, probable or suspected swine flu case. Also, old, young, or pregnant travelers to Mexico, or those traveling to Mexico with chronic medical conditions. Health care workers, first responders, and border workers in areas with confirmed cases of swine flu should also be considered taking anti-viral medication as a precaution, the CDC says.

How would a pregnant woman be treated for the swine flu?

CNN: The CDC recommends that pregnant women who meet current case definitions for confirmed, probable or suspected swine flu infection should receive treatments that are used for people who are at higher risk of complications. Treatment guidance for clinicians treating pregnant women is on the CDC Web site.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Public Health
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