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Transcript of Barack Obama
Chief Legislator; Chief of Party
The President is the Chief Executive; and is bound by Constitutional oath to "faithfully execute" the laws of the nation.
There have been 79 blocked nominees under the Obama campaign. Some of the most controversial are the nominees for the National Labor Relations Board, which resulted in a Supreme Court case contesting the validity of Obama's recess appointments of several individuals. It has also left key DC Circuit Court postions unfilled, and a change to the Senate rules governing appointment filibusters.
President Obama is best known for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (March 2010). He campaigned using special interest, the bully pulpit, and his role as leader of the Democrats to get this legislation passed despite public backlash and controversy.
The veto power has been used exactly twice in the span of Obama's two terms: the first bill was a budget bill in 2010; the second bill aimed at fast tracking the foreclosure process by loosening notary public restrictions. Obama felt as though the second bill put consumers at risk.
One of Obama's most recent EOs was to increase the federal minimum wage for government contractors to $10.10 an hour.
Presidential Signing Statements
Obama signed a PSS for the Defense Authorization Act December 31, 2011. He addressed here the detainment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, stating he does not intend to hold these individuals. However, he never characterizes detainment as unconstitutional. This leaves the flexibility of detainment unresolved.
Under the direction of President Obama, the combat stages of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan concluded, despite a continued presence in Afghanistan as troops move out. The US has also committed troops to ending uprisings in Libya.
Two major treaties were signed, including the New START treaty, in which Russia and the US pledged to further decrease their nuclear arms stockpiles.
Most controversial here is Obama's lack of pardons compared to his predecessors. He has been criticized for calling attention to the problems with prison overcrowding due to drug sentences, but has not pardoned many people imprisoned on this charge.
Supreme Court Appointments
Justice Sotomayor and Kagan were appointed during Obama's first term in office, and were instrumental in cases that tried the constitutionality of PPACA, gay marriage, state laws restricting immigration, and affirmative action. The court is viewed today as being slightly liberal in their decisions.
Obama is seen as an
for his actions taken during the recession, with health care, in his desire to use EOs in the face of an ineffective Congress, and for his continued use of surveillance programs.
During the first two years of his first term, Obama was much more successful using his various formal and informal powers to pass legislation, including PPACA, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, changing restrictions on homosexuals in the military, and ending the "Great Recession." Since 2010, his ability to bring change has been severly limited by a Republican controlled House.
Protecting the Constitution
: Obama has worked to use the powers granted to him to end unpopular wars and prevent economic collapse in America and oversees. However, he has used top-secret spying programs that have violated our right to privacies and prohibitions against warrantless searches.
Faithfully executing laws
: Obama has used his formal and informal powers to bring change successfully (PPACA, end of DADT) and unsuccessfully (Gun Control, Tax reform.) His inability to lead Congress to major reforms and continuation of some controversial programs are not quite faithful executions of the laws.
44th President of the United States
Commander-in-Chief; Chief Ambassador
Obama is a master of using the Bully Pulpit, as evidenced by the transparency of his administration. He has weekly addresses, frequently on-line. You can see his visitor log at whitehouse.gov, sign petitions, keep up with him on social media, etc. He has used the bully pulpit to apply pressure to Congress, to help him raise record amounts of money for his elections, and to get legislation passed.
Chief of Party
Obama's role as chief of party was the most successful during the first two years of his presidency. Here, he passed more than thirty laws. Since the 2010 midterm elections, he has seen less legislation come across his desk. Due to his low approval ratings (43%), he is not actively campaigning for this year's midterm elections. This is particularly true in Senate races. He unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate budget deals with Speaker Boehner, who was unable to get his party to back these deals.
Obama has used special interest directly and indirectly. SuperPACs were created for Obama, as well as helping him pass health care, urge Congress to pass multiple pieces of legislation, as well as in helping write legislation like PPACA and TARP.