NPR's Liasson Discusses Obama's First 100 Days
President Barack Obama ’83 has had the most active first 100 days in office since Franklin Roosevelt’s first term in 1933, National Public Radio national correspondent and Fox News political analyst Mara Liasson said during a talk on campus April 23.
Obama, who will mark his 100th day in office April 29, “was in effect being president before he was inaugurated,” Liasson said. As soon as he was inaugurated, he passed the single-largest spending bill in U.S. history, has since introduced legislation on energy, education, and healthcare, and tackled important foreign policy issues. “This is a big, transformative agenda…This is an ambitious, historic transformation,” she said.
However, she pointed out that Obama’s high approval rating in polls makes him no more or less popular than any other president at this point in his career. Clinton and Bush had similar approval ratings at this time in their presidencies; Carter’s was even higher, she said.
Liasson said that Obama has the potential to be a great president-- partly because he has a big crisis to deal with and partly because of the breadth of his ambitions. One uncertainly, however, is whether he ultimately wants to be “a superstar or a hero.” In other words, does he care more about being popular than about accomplishing things? Is he willing to push his agenda even if that will compromise his popularity? She said it is too early to tell.
Liasson’s reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning news magazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, D.C. — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway. Her talk at Occidental was hosted by the department of Diplomacy and World Affairs and the Office of Global Affairs, and sponsored by the Remsen Bird Fund.