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Marking 100 days, Obama is 'pleased with progress, not satisfied'

Video by Nicolas GERMAIN

Latest update : 2009-04-30

US President Barack Obama was prudent but positive about his first 100 days in office during a press conference in Washington. He stressed that many challenges ranging from terrorism to pandemic flu continued to need to be confronted.

Also read: Obama's challenges: crises at home and abroad


AFP - Marking his symbolic 100th day in office, US President Barack Obama Wednesday pledged an "unrelenting, unyielding effort" to return to economic prosperity and confront threats including swine flu.

The president said that while he was "pleased with our progress ... I am not satisfied" with the accomplishments in his first four months and stressed there was a long slog ahead to pull the nation out of its worst recession in decades.

"We still confront threats ranging from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to pandemic flu," Obama said in opening remarks of a prime time press conference at the White House marking his first 100 days in office.

He immediately highlighted the threat of a swine flu pandemic, and stressed the United States will do "whatever it takes" to control the outbreak which has claimed eight lives, one a Mexican toddler who died in Texas.

Obama also defended his 3.4-trillion-dollar budget for 2010 -- approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday and due to be voted on by the Senate later this week -- as a budget which "builds on the steps we've taken over the last 100 days to move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.

"So we are off to a good start, but it is just a start," he said, warning that more pain lies in store for Americans.

"Millions of Americans are still without jobs and homes, and more will be lost before this recession is over.

"All of this means you can expect an unrelenting, unyielding effort from this administration to strengthen our prosperity and our security -- in the second hundred days, and the third hundred days, and all the days after."

Earlier in the day Obama flew to the heartland state of Missouri where he told a town hall meeting that his administration had begun "remaking America" since taking office January 20 by reversing some of the most contentious policies of George W. Bush's administration and orchestrating a historic 787-billion-dollar stimulus bill, among other reforms.

"Now, after 100 days, I'm pleased with the progress we've made, but I'm not satisfied," he told a raucous crowd there.

His upbeat assessment of his own presidential debut was tempered with calls for Americans to steel themselves for a long road towards recovery.

"I'm not a miracle worker. We've got a lot of tough choices and hard decisions and hard work ahead of us."

Obama's broad agenda during his debut months -- seen as a success by most Americans, according to opinion polls -- is widely considered one of the fullest plates for any new president in decades.

He has focused on the country's economic downturn and what Obama described as his administration's "bold and sustained" steps to rein it in.

He unleashed a huge government intervention in the economy with a historic 787-billion-dollar stimulus bill and now has high-stakes environmental and healthcare reforms in the works.

In an emergency bid to keep many Americans from avoiding foreclosures, a 75-billion-dollar fund was created to help embattled homeowners, and new loans are coming on line for small businesses.

His administration has also intervened to try to help save teetering US auto giants Chrysler and General Motors, and injected billions of dollars into struggling banks and other companies in moves that critics have decried as partial nationalization.

Abroad, Obama recast US foreign policy by putting greater emphasis on multilateral diplomacy, reaching out to Muslims, and vowing to end decades of enmity with foes Cuba and Iran.

The US president has also made a start on rolling back Bush's "war on terror" policies by mandating the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison camp, outlawing torture and setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, including all US forces scheduled to leave by the end of 2011.

He also doubled down in Afghanistan and Pakistan to tackle mounting insurgency and unrest, and reversed US denial on climate change.

And Obama has expanded a state health insurance scheme to cover millions of children, broadened unemployment benefits, and overturned predecessor Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research.

Date created : 2009-04-30