President Barack Obama will mark his first 100 days in office this week. To mark the anniversary, here is a comparison of how Barack Obama and George W. Bush spent their first 100 days in office. You may be surprised to learn that both presidents were/are still popular after their first 100 days.
Here are the major accomplishments of the first 100 days of the Bush administration:
1). $1.6 Trillion Tax Cut – In his first 100 days George W. Bush’s top administrative priority, a $1.6 trillion tax cut, passed the House of Representatives, on its way to eventual passage in the Senate.
2). Faith Based Initiatives – Early in his first 100 days, President Bush signed an executive order creating White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The office focused solely on helping religious or “faith-based” groups obtain federal tax dollars.
3). The Environment – Bush rolled back some of the Clinton era environmental regulations. He also announced that the U.S. was abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, and began his push to allow drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
4). No Child Left Behind – Only six days after taking office, President Bush sent his No Child Left Behind education reform plan to Congress. The bill, H.R. 1, was the first major piece of legislation passed for the new president.
It might seem odd now, but at the time George W. Bush had an approval rating of 60% after his first 100 days. Americans also gave Bush high marks are the economy with 52% favoring his handling of the issue. However, some early trends were starting to take shape as 58% of those surveyed said that Bush favored business over the environment, and nation was split 44%-43% over whether or not the nation was on the right track.
Here are the major accomplishments of Obama’s first 100 Days:
1). Economic Stimulus Plan – Obama got Congress to pass a $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
2). Expanded SCHIP – Obama signed a law that expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan to cover an additional 4 million children.
3). Lilly Ledbetter Act -Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act which requires equal pay for women.
4). Ethics Guidelines– Obama implemented new ethics guidelines that are designed to curtail the influence of lobbyists.
5). Iraq and Afghanistan – Obama announced the phased withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, while sending an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan.
6). Budget and Healthcare– Obama got his budget passed, which paves the way for healthcare reform later this year.
Obama also has gotten high marks from the public on his first 100 days performance. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Obama has a 69% approval rating. Americans are also giving Obama high marks on the economy as 58% approve of his handling of the issue. They approve of Obama’s handling of the environment by 61%-23% margin, and 50% of Americans think that the country is heading in the right direction.
Both Bush and Obama had major accomplishments in their first 100 days. The major difference between the two is the speed with which Obama has been able to get things done. Bush and Obama took office facing very different expectations. Not much was expected of Bush, so many experts gave him credit for exceeding the modest expectations set for him, while much has been expected of Obama, and so far he has delivered.
The argument that Obama has done too much doesn’t hold up well, when compared to the fact that Bush laid the groundwork for most of his priorities in his first 100 days. With the exception of the time after 9/11, these first 100 days were the high point for the Bush administration. Only time will tell, how we will someday look back at Obama’s first 100 days.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association