Presidential Archive 2/3 – 2/10/09
By Linnie Frank Bailey
After starting his first week in office by offering an olive branch to Republicans, the President took a more forceful approach this past week to assure passage of his stimulus bill. He took his case directly to the people and the bill passed the Senate with only three Republican votes.
President Obama suffered a setback with the withdrawal of Tom Daschle to head his healthcare effort, however he admitted to his mistake and moved forward noting, “I don't want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards -- one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.” A new nominee has not yet been announced.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Third Republican Added to Cabinet
President Obama nominated the third Republican to his cabinet -- Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. The President called Gregg a “master of reaching across the aisle” in announcing him as his choice to lead the Commerce Department today. Gregg joins Secretary Ray LaHood (Transportation) and Secretary Robert Gates for a total of three Republicans in the cabinet.
First African-American Attorney General
Eric Holder was sworn in as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, becoming the first African-American to hold the position.
Former Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services, after controversy over unpaid taxes and relationships with healthcare corporations. Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, apologized for failing to pay his taxes in full. He said earlier he was “deeply embarrassed” for a series of errors that included failing to report $15,000 in charitable donations, unreported car service and more than $80,000 in unreported income from consulting. (Daschle recently filed amended tax returns and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest for 2005-2007.) Daschle's resignation came hours after Nancy Killefer's withdrawal as Obama's chief performance officer, a new post in the administration. It was reported that Ms. Killefer’s withdrawal also involved tax issues.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Out and About in DC
The President and the First Lady made an unannounced visit to a class of second graders at the Capital City Public Charter School. “We were just tired of being in the White House,” the President joked to the students. After reading a book to the students, the President fielded questions from them about life in the White House.
New Caps on Executive Compensation
President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner issued imposing new restrictions on executive compensation at firms taking money from the government – including a 500K salary cap. The action is not retroactive for firms previously receiving bailout money.
First Lady Visits HUD
First Lady Michelle Obama began her visits to Federal agencies with an appearance at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Workers were reported to be inspired by her visit and speech. She also planned to drop in on the Department of the Interior, which has not received a First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt.
Health Care for Uninsured Children
President Obama signed his second major piece of legislation into law to expand health care coverage to 4 million uninsured children. “In a decent society, there are certain obligations that are not subject to tradeoffs or negotiation,” he said at a signing ceremony in the White House East Room. “Health care for our children is one of those obligations.”
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Washington Post Op-Ed
The Washington Post ran an op-ed by President Obama entitled: The Action Americans Need. The piece was an argument for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.
First Flights on Presidential Helicopter and Airplane
President Obama took his first flights aboard Marine One and Air Force One, on his way to the House Democratic Issues Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Friday, February 6th, 2009
The President attended the National Prayer Breakfast where he stated, “Instead of driving us apart, our very beliefs can bring us together.”
After the breakfast he announced an executive order establishing the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and talked about the role faith-based and secular community organizations will play in our economic recovery.
"People trust them. Communities rely on them. And we will help them," he said.
The President named Joshua DuBois to lead the office, and also announced the creation of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships -- a group of 25 religious and secular leaders, listed below.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Town Hall in Elkhart, Indiana
The President held a town hall in this Indiana town which has been hard hit by the economic downturn. Elkhart has seen its unemployment rate more than triple over the past year -- from 4.7% in December 2007 to 15.3% this past December. The President used this occasion to push the stimulus bill.
The First Press Conference
President Obama held his first press conference, in the East Room of the White House. The topic—the economic status of the country and the need for the Stimulus bill passage. The President stated, “the single most important part of this Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is the fact that it will save or create up to 4 million jobs. Because that is what America needs most right now.” He reminded critics of the bill, including Senate Republicans who are pushing for more tax cuts, “we learned very clearly and conclusively over the last eight years, tax cuts alone cannot solve all our economic problems – especially tax cuts that are targeted to the wealthiest few Americans. We have tried that strategy time and time again, and it has only helped lead us to the crisis we face right now.”
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Town Hall in Ft. Myers, Florida
The President visited another town hard hit by the bad economy. He listened to personal stories of job loss and homelessness and promised to try to help struggling Americans.
Senate Passes Stimulus Bill
The Senate voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Three Republican Senators joined Democrats in passing the bill. Now, lawmakers must reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill before President Obama can sign it.