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President Obama Marks 100 Days in Office

The first three months of the Obama presidency bring changes and government actions. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. This week we look at President Obama's first one hundred days in office.

The tradition of marking the first one hundred days of a new president began with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was sworn-in as president seventy-six years ago during the Great Depression -- the worst economic crisis in the country's history.

In his first one hundred days in office, President Roosevelt worked with Congress to pass a series of measures. They were designed to re-build trust in the American economy, and help the unemployed and those in danger of losing their homes and farms.

Since then, the first three months of a presidency have been compared to Roosevelt's. Presidents are judged on their ability to quickly demonstrate leadership and win congressional approval of their proposals.

The media and political observers have spent a lot of time examining Mister Obama's first one hundred days in office. But many of them admit the one hundred day mark is a meaningless number. Others say it is too soon to be judging the work of the president.

On Wednesday, Mister Obama marked his one hundredth day by speaking at a school in the state of Missouri. He said he is proud of the successes, but that more has to be done.

BARACK OBAMA: "Now, after one hundred days, I am pleased with the progress we have made. But I am not satisfied. I am confident in the future. But I am not content with the present – not when there are workers who are still out of jobs, families who still cannot pay their bills."

Mister Obama has dealt with many issues since becoming the nation's first African-American president on January twentieth. He has faced economic problems and worked to strengthen relations with other countries. Congress passed his seven hundred eighty-seven billion dollar economic recovery plan. The president has also taken steps to rescue the struggling financial and automotive industries.

Since taking office, Mister Obama has ordered the closure of the American detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He set a time limit for withdrawal of most American troops from Iraq, while increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.

Mister Obama also made efforts to improve America's international image. He received criticism from the Republican Party for offering talks with Iran and Cuba. Republicans also criticized him for shaking the hand of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The party opposes his plan to cut taxes for middle class Americans and use of government spending to increase economic activity. Party leaders warn that will result in a huge increase in the national debt.

Yet studies show Mister Obama's public approval rating is above sixty percent. The president also increased his support in the Senate this week. Long-time Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter announced he is leaving the Republicans to join the president's Democratic Party.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.