Grading President Obama

Grading President Obama
ESSENCE.COM Feb, 13, 2009

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Presidents’ Day is observed each February to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, widely considered to be two of our greatest leaders. But this Presidents’ Day, a Black man, for the first time in our nation’s history, is holding the highest office in the land. ESSENCE.com spoke to everyday people in the nation’s capital about the significance of this Presidents’ Day to them, and the qualities that the 44th President has or will need have to make him another one of history’s best.

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“I think President Obama will be remembered in history most for dealing with the recession, kind of like FDR. He’s been bringing in a lot of new programs and administrative agencies that are picking up the slack and taking on new roles, and changing the face of public service and government as we know it.”

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“Presidents’ Day holds greater meaning for me this year. My mother passed away on the twenty-third of December, and the last thing that she did before she was hospitalized for cancer was go out and vote for Obama. His election was something she wasn’t expecting to see in her lifetime, and the fact that, on this Presidents’ Day, an African-American is serving as President is amazing. It’s heartbreaking for me, but it’s amazing at the same time.”

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“I think he will go down in history for unifying our country and showing that America’s about doing things collectively. That’s something that we got away from. He’s more than a Black President; he represents a movement of people wanting to do things together again.”

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“What I like in Obama as President so far is his demeanor, the calmness behind everything. I don’t think there are too many people guiding him; he’s guiding himself. He has counselors and lawyers and people who are in the ship with him, but he is captain of the ship.”

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“One of the things he’s done that has stood out to me is, he’s really trying to pull the Republicans into fixing the economic problem as well. He’s not pointing fingers at them, even when most of America thinks that they caused the problem. I was impressed by how he came in with a plan and went to work immediately, especially after coming off such a grueling campaign to get elected.”

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“This Presidents’ Day celebration holds a major significance when you consider that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves back in 1863. It feels very full-circle that in 2009 Barack Obama is now the President of the United States, a country that was built on slavery.”

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“I think he’ll go down in history for being a people’s president. Usually a president is some guy you never really see, or someone who came up from a large famous family. Obama is someone who came out of nowhere, so it shows that anybody can do it. He’s not untouchable.”

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“What’s been most striking to me is the President’s work trying to save our economy with the stimulus package. The falling economy and the unemployment rate is the most important issue we’re facing right now.”

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“I hope that President Barack Obama is remembered for making changes in America that made not only our social and economic systems work better, but I also hope that he’s known for being a better steward of the environment.”

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“In his first four weeks, it’s been interesting to see how the Republicans are giving him a lot of grief, and are making him work very hard. I think he’s been handling it well. He’s coming in with confidence and not letting anyone stop him.”

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