And On Day 101 ... A Look Back at Obama's First 100 Days in Office

By Christine Cupaiuolo — April 30, 2009

Sure, grading President Obama after just 100 days in office may be absurd, but it sure is popular. Here’s a look at how Obama has measured up on issues of particular interest to our readers:

– “Are your reproductive rights more secure today than they were 100 days ago? How about the human rights of women around the world? Are we making progress toward universal access to basic sexual and reproductive health services, comprehensive sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment here and abroad?”  Emily Douglas of RH Reality Check offers answers to these questions and more in this informative report card.

Obama scores highest on global women’s rights and reproductive health and women’s economic equity. When it comes to sexuality education and teen pregnancy prevention, RH Reality Check gives Obama a “C.”

– C. Nicole Mason, a political scientist and executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, writes at Women’s eNews: “For women of color, it’s also the time to mark a new era of political visibility and prominence.”

Since he took office, Obama has appointed or nominated eight women to his cabinet or other high-level leadership positions and more than 50 percent of these nominees have been women of color. This is not only more than any other U.S. president, it’s a watershed moment in the history of women of color in this country.

Hands down, the standout appointment is Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. She is a pro-labor activist from La Puente, Calif., who has served as congresswoman for the majority Latino 32nd district representing East Los Angeles for eight years. In a time of severe economic crisis and record unemployment rates, she will bring to the policymaking table an unparalleled understanding of the issues facing low-to-moderate income working families and immigrants.

Mason goes on to identify other key players serving in influential positions — such as Lisa Jackson, who will head the EPA; Melody Barnes, director of domestic policy; and Cassandra Butts, deputy White House counsel — and provides some historical context.

– “As progressives, we can nearly always find something to complain about, but now more than ever, it’s time to celebrate this new direction and saddle up for the work ahead,” writes Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, before introducing Planned Parenthood’s picks for the Top 10 Women’s Health Achievements.

Counting backwards: 10. Repealed the global gag rule; 9. Moved to overturn the HHS midnight regulation; 8. Supporting teens’ health over ideology; 7. Expanding access to family planning; 6. Restored affordable birth control; 5. Formed the White House Council on Women and Girls; 4. Nominated strong women’s champions to key cabinet posts; 3. Expanding access to Plan B; 2. Focusing on AIDS outreach; 1. Committed to health care reform.

– Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, says her group is marking the milestone “as yet another reminder of how electing leaders who support the fundamental American values of freedom and privacy does make a difference in the lives of women and their families.” Keenan identifies seven signs of change so far but warns of a “a long and bumpy road to progress” ahead.

“There will be budget debates, a possible vacancy on the Supreme Court, and more,” writes Keenan.

– On LGBT … “If Barack Obama were a student in a high school civics class, he’d be getting a pretty good grade for class participation. Compared to the rows of sullen, silent Presidents behind him, he would look like a gay rights brown-nose,” writes attorney Emma Ruby-Sachs at Huffington Post.

“But 70% of LGBT voters came out in support of Barack Obama because they expected that the support for equal rights expressed on the campaign trail would result in action for LGBT people once Obama was in office,” she adds. “And when it comes to actual change in the lives of LGBT people, nothing has been done. Obama has failed to hand in any of his assignments.”

Plus: Need a visual reminder? The White House has produced its own photo slide show. Or watch the past 100 days in 100 seconds. OK, it runs longer than 100 seconds, but who’s counting?

3 responses to “And On Day 101 … A Look Back at Obama’s First 100 Days in Office”

  1. Rachel, I was surprised to not see analysis here about Obama’s deliberate distancing from The Freedom of Choice Act during last night’s speech.

    I can’t have been the only one who heard him back away from it, can I?

  2. I like how you brought together different perspectives on different issues affecting women. For the most part, what I gather from the comments from different experts in their respective fields is that Obama hasn’t really pulled through as we had hoped. Perhaps this is an unfair judgment. When has any politician been able to produce real change in a matter of months, especially with a financial debacle as dire as the current one? All the people quoted in your post overall conclude that besides the positions in his cabinet that are being filled by women, they are not satisfied with what Obama has accomplished so far.

    I believe the idea of even judging Obama’s 100 days is a tacky move by the media. We are the ones who elected this guy on the basis of his eloquent words and inspiring visions for our country. Why aren’t we giving him just a short period of time to gather himself before judging his every move? Maybe we just got too used to scrutinizing the man in the Oval Office for 8 years, and rightly so. But if we’re expecting Obama to pull off miracles in all aspects of our country that seem to be failing, we must also allot him some time to do so. Yes, we have a right to expect Obama to follow through on his promises of change, and we should believe that after a long period of poor choices, someone in charge finally has their head in the right place. This should be more than enough just in itself to keep us satisfied. By watching him so closely for these 100 days, we have reassured ourselves that he is not the kind of man to turn on his words or change his character once he achieved his goal of reaching the office. But as we scrutinize his policies of this 100 days, we should have no problem being lenient enough and comfortable enough to have faith in the person we put there. Such is the strength of a democracy. It’s about time we restore our faith in it.

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