Sunday, 11 March 2012

Highs and Lows of the Obama Presidency (Timeline)

Highs and Lows of the Obama Presidency in Office and the Media

Image courtesy of White House Flickr stream
 "Now is the time to keep our foot on the gas, not put on the brakes. And I am not going to settle for a country where just a few do really well and everybody else is struggling to get by."

Tripling the national deficit, a decline in public approval ratings, and  failing to fulfil his major campaign promise of closing Guantanamo, Obama's first term has been rocked with turbulence and hostility, on top of an inherited economy crisis unseen since the Great Depression.

I've compiled a list of the highs and lows of Barack Obama and his reputation, including legislation, appearances and state visits, and a few things which show that Barack Obama finds the time even on a national holiday to think of the American people.

January 20th 2009 - Inauguration of Barack Obama

Barack Obama following his inauguration.
Image courtesy of White House Flickr stream

The inauguration was a global event in which viewers observed a moment in history in which America welcomed it's first African American president. It set a record level of attendance for any Washington event, and was encapsulated in a theme to honour Abraham Lincoln. The theme was 'The New Birth of Freedom', a phrase from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Since then it could be argued that President Obama has made a conscious modelling of his own presidency on Lincoln's, with building his own Team of Rivals including former opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. It could be argued as to one of the many reasons that a colossal weight of expectations were placed on Obama's presidency from the moment of election.

This marked the beginning of the first 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency, which would be chronicled and documented by news outlets until April 29th 2009.

February 17, 2009 - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The 2009 stimulus package is one of the most criticised acts of the Obama presidency. The cost of the act was highly criticised by those on the right and the cost of the package was estimated to be $787 billion. It was considered by many to be a failure as the deficit at the end of Obama's first year in office was revealed to have tripled at $1.4trillion.

March 23, 2010 -  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Image courtesy of White House Flickr stream

July 21, 2010 - Authorization of Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

President Obama signed an act to overhaul the Wall Street system and the law aimed to provide a new consumer protection system in order to avoid unfair practice experienced by many Americans. 

“These are reforms that would put an end to taxpayer bailouts; that would bring complex financial dealings out of the shadows; that would protect consumers; and that would give shareholders more power in the financial system."
President Obama, April 2010

March 2010 - BP Oil Spill Disaster

The oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 left many disappointed with the President's leadership. 20 million gallons of oil leaked into the gulf and the Obama administration's handling of the crisis left many feeling like their actions lacked decisiveness and generally displayed weak leadership. The administration were criticised for blaming the oil company for the disaster and failing to act quickly enough. The Gulf of Mexico is expected to fully recover by the end of this year.

December 22, 2010 - Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010

President Obama authorised the end to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' act, a controversial law banning openly gay Americans to join the armed forces. The end of the law was a milestone for the gay community and the President released a statement which said, 'I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans.' 

April 27, 2011 - Obama Releases Birth Certificate

Following a row with right wing 'birthers' and sceptics of Obama's nationality, the pressure to release the President's birth certificate mounted. 

April 30, 2011 - White House Correspondents Dinner

Following the birther row, President Obama reacts to Donald Trump's stance on his nationality and constitutional right to be president with this hilarious 'birth video.' The birthing row had been an embarrassing media spectacle, as many believed Obama had been holding the birth certificate specifically to overshadow Republican politics. Since then the 2012 campaign has released 'Made in America' merchandise.

May 1st 2011 - Death of Osama Bin Laden

Image courtesy of White House flickr stream

Inheriting a war on terror which has dominated both American and British war efforts in the last decade, Barack Obama signed off on a raid which resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. The mission had been put into place following information obtained by the United States government in the summer of 2010, and was carried out by a group of Navy SEALs. At present, this could be argued to be the defining highlight of Barack Obama's presidency, finding America's most wanted criminal, a mission which the Bush administration failed to accomplish.

Personally, I enjoy the President's little swag walk at the end of this address.

May 24, 2011 - President Obama is greeted in London by the Queen

On his first official state visit to the United Kingdom, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were welcomed by the Queen. The Obamas also attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

May 25th, 2011 - President Obama receives standing ovation at Westminster Abbey

During his first state address at Westminster Abbey, President Obama praised the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and claimed it would remain 'indispensable.'

June 21, 2011 - Announcement of Afghanistan withdrawal plan

September 11th 2011 - Tenth Anniversary of September 11th

Image courtesy of White House Flickr stream

October 21, 2011 - President Obama announces troop withdrawal from Iraq

November 24, 2011 - The President makes 'Happy Thanksgiving' calls to military workers

Image courtesy of White House flickr stream

                                January 2012 - New York Fundraiser 'Lets Stay Together'

I'll admit, this one is one of my personal favourites. Maybe not a political highlight but definitely one of character.

January 25, 2012 - State of The Union - Announces Auto Bailout Success

"We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back." - President Obama

President Obama reinforced his belief in the bailout on February 27 to the United Auto Workers union conference. He defended the decision, claiming "I placed my bet on American workers. And I'll make that same bet again any day of the week."

The auto bail out provoked criticism from Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, who both opposed the $80 billion given to General Motors, and Chrysler Group.

February 10, 2012 - Barack Obama announces birth control policy compromise

February 20, 2012 - Barack and Michelle Obama come under fire for vacation costs

American voters were left disappointed when it was revealed that the Obama's vacation count had reached 16 in 3 years. Critics claimed that it was a negative turn for the Obama image during a time when the United States is experiencing such troubling economic problems and unemployment figures are still rife.

March 9, 2012 - U.S. Labor Department Announces Unemployment Rate at 8.3%

It was announced that the United States added 227,000 private sector jobs to its economy in February 2012. It was concluded that 3.9 million private sector jobs have been added in two years. However, the President remained concerned that too many Americans were still unemployed, and claimed that "More companies are bringing jobs back and investing in America. And manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, the economy is getting stronger.'

Of course, for good measure, it has to be noted how the President loves the First Dog, Bo. Definite plus for reputation when there's a Dogs Against Romney movement.

Image courtesy of  White House Flickr stream


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