WASHINGTON — Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama made many promises to the American people. Msnbc.com has chosen 14 of these to explain, explore, and track. See if the new president keeps his word, and vote on his progress during the first 100 days.
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Obama’s words: “We're going to lead by talking to our enemies, and not just our friends. And I believe that there are a lot of Republicans who hunger for that kind of bipartisan approach. That's what I will offer as president of the United States.”
The issue: An analysis by The National Journal concluded that then-Sen. Barack Obama had the most liberal voting record in 2007. And yet, at the core of his run for the White House was a pledge to transcend partisan infighting and create a new, unified majority.
Pitching his plan, Obama said, “We need a leader who can finally move beyond the divisive politics of Washington and bring Democrats, independents and Republicans together to get things done.”
He promoted his bipartisan work during an October debate, saying, “On economic policy, I associate with Warren Buffett and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. If I'm interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden or with Dick Lugar, the Republican ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO. Those are the people, Democrats and Republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House.”
Following through: Currently, there are two Republicans in Obama’s Cabinet. Robert Gates, the only GOP official to stay on in the new administration, is currently serving as defense secretary. And Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois has just been confirmed as transportation secretary.
Another Republican, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, was nominated for commerce secretary, but withdrew his name from contention after objections to the stimulus package.
Obama’s call for bipartisanship is also being considered on Capitol Hill, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is testing the notion of allowing GOP members to offer amendments on legislation and engage in more open debates on the floor.
But there's been a sharp party-divide when it comes to the economy. Obama's $787 billion stimulus package passed with only three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House.
And GOP leaders have loudly criticized the president's proposed $3.6 trillion budget.
"The federal government should keep a lid on taxes, control government spending and borrow less — rather than increase the size and scope of the federal government so much that Washington is guaranteeing future tax increases," said possible 2012 Republican presidential contender, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
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