Obama's First 100 Days: The Good, The Bad, and the Geithner

Has it been only 100 days since Barack Obama took the oath of office? Actually, it's only been 98, but sometimes 100 days feels like more than 100 days. This is one of those times. Obama's first 100 days have been among the most eventful in history.

So how's it going?

According to the American people, pretty damn good. Not only does 69 percent of the public approve of the job Obama is doing, but last week, for the first time since January 2004, more Americans felt the country is headed in the right direction than in the wrong direction (48 percent to 44 percent). Remarkably, this "right direction" number has been steadily rising even as the economy has been steadily falling.

In his Grant Park acceptance speech on election night, the newly elected president warned that "the road ahead will be long," and "our climb will be steep." But his poll numbers are a vindication of the idea that, with the right leadership, Americans are mature enough to heed those words and not expect immediate results.

So any list of the most impressive achievements of Obama's first 100 days should start with the intangible qualities of transformational leadership --- from the president's personal equanimity (which Robert Reich described as "the serene center of the cyclone -- exuding calm when most Americans are petrified") to his masterful use of the bully pulpit.


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