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Presidential changing of the guard

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February 2nd, 2009

Obama's first 100 days in office

By Mark Abromaitis

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States last month, he inherited war, some of the most trying economic conditions since the Great Depression, and a number of other major concerns facing the country.

But he also inherited a sympathetic Congress. So President Obama s first 100 days in office will show the new administration s true priorities as his political capital is riding at an all time high.

Financially speaking

Obama s senior advisor, David Axelrod, says one of the first goals of the Obama administration will be to create a stimulus package to help the economy.

"Look, we feel it s important that middle-class people get some relief now," Axelrod said recently on NBC s Meet the Press. "Giving people more spending money will help get our economy going again."

It all starts with infrastructure

With unemployment creeping up, Axelrod says the new administration has an overarching plan to help address the country s long-term needs in education, health care, and business.

It all begins with infrastructure, Axelrod says. "We have to act every economist from left to right agrees that we have to do something big in terms of job creation, but we want to do it in a way that will leave a lasting footprint."

Axelrod explains, "We re talking about investing in alternative energy projects that will help us achieve energy independence. We re talking about rebuilding the nation s classrooms to bring them into the 21st century, and labs and libraries so our kids can compete. In the area of health, [we want] IT, so that we can computerize medical records, which will cut costs, reduce errors, and improve care."

The plan also includes rebuilding America s crumbling bridges, roads, and waterways.

"These are things that will put people to work, but also that will strengthen our economy in the long run, and that s where we re focusing our attention," he adds.

Crossing the great divide

Axelrod says the Obama administration is working to get past partisan politics. "We ve got to get beyond this sort of politics where we re each on the jagged edge of a great divide, shaking our fists at each other. We have a great Cabinet. It represents great talent and experience from inside Washington and outside Washington.

"The bottom line is, watch what we do, watch the policies that we implement," he says. "We re going to move this country forward."

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