The Corner

The Other Hundred Days

From the White House Bulletin (sort of like the Hotline) on Bush’s 100 Days in 2001:

Reuters (4/26, Ferraro) reported Congressional Democrats “came out swinging against President Bush on Thursday, charging that despite good public approval ratings he has shown in his first 100 days in office to be a man of high-priced special interests, not the working people.” In trying to ” get the public to focus more on his ‘extremist record’ rather than sunny disposition, Democrats blasted Bush on a variety of fronts, from rolling back on environmental and workplace protections to pushing a tax cut primarily for the rich.” Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle said “after three months of the Bush White House, people can finally understand the true meaning of the president’s ‘compassionate conservatism.’” Daschle said, “It is compassion for conservatives. . Under FDR (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt), all we had to fear was fear itself. Now we have to fear arsenic in our drinking water, pollutants in our air, drilling in our public lands, a rollback of woman’s rights and workers rights and the return of crippling deficits.” Reuters added House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt “added: ‘I think the first 100 days can be summed up in one word: Disappointment.’” Reuters added Democrats used the 100 day benchmark “to issue a report card giving Bush ‘D’s’ and ‘F’s’ in about a dozen subjects, including health care, campaign finance reform, energy, taxes and defense.” Their “thumbs- down review came out as public opinion surveys showed most Americans approve how Bush has handled his job, even though many have concerns in some areas.” A new Reuters poll “of 754 voters conducted April 23-25 by John Zogby found 63 percent viewed Bush either very or somewhat favorably while 35 percent viewed him either somewhat or very unfavorably.” CNN (4/26, Inside Politics, Woodruff) reported Democrats “seem to think Mr. Bush’s milestone offers a great opportunity to attack his record and to begin positioning themselves for the next election.” CNN (Karl) added Democrats “were out with an unflinchingly harsh assessment of” Bush’ first 100 days. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt was shown saying, “There’s been no collaboration. There’s been no negotiation. There’s been no consensus building. There have been no bipartisan conclusions. It is ‘My way or the highway’ every day.” CNN added Democrats “were especially tough on Bush’s environmental record. They put forth a woman whose son suffered from arsenic poisoning to highlight the Bush Administration’s backing away from the strict arsenic regulations proposed by President Clinton.” At their joint press conference, Gephardt and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle “gave Bush a report card. On education, they gave him an incomplete, on military reform an F, also an F on Medicare reform, energy policy, campaign finance reform and on environmental protection an F- minus. The report card is much harsher than the grades Daschle gave the president just a few days ago.” Daschle was shown in an April 23 interview saying, “I guess I would give him an A-plus for his first 30 days, a B-plus for his second 30 days, and a C-minus for his third 30 days, and — and probably a better grade his last 10, given the China situation.” CNN added, ” Three days later, Daschle’s A, B’s and C’s have apparently turned to F’s.” The Democratic National Committee is now “taking an unprecedented step against the president who has only been in office less than 100 days,” launching “an ad campaign criticizing President Bush.” CNN (4/26, Inside Politics, Woodruff) interviewed House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, who said President Bush hasn’t “lived up to his own standards. He said during the campaign that he had certain goals, certain themes, and I don’t think he’s lived up to those, by his own standards. Let’s take one, he wanted to be a compassionate conservative, a reformer with results. Yet in the first days of this administration he has unwound a lot of actions that were taken over the last eight years that I think were very positive. Standards on arsenic in drinking water were taken away in one signature of his name. We had reached an agreement on international family planning help that he took out in one day. It was very hard to reach, and I think very important, not only for us but for the entire world. The Kyoto Treaty, which was an attempt to get international standards on CO2 to stop global warming — he just walked away from it without as much as a real explanation, or going back to the bargaining table to get something done. In addition to that, he said he doesn’t want to leave any child behind, which we all obviously agree with. But when you get to this education bill, there’s very little money there for elementary and secondary area education to repair school buildings, to hire teachers — yet he finds $70 billion in the first year for a tax break, most of which goes to the wealthiest Americans. We don’t think those are the right priorities, and we don’t think he’s living up to his standards.” Gephardt added that “rather than leaving no child behind, what we’re really doing is leaving no special interest behind.” Regarding Bush’s outreach to Democrats, Gephardt said, “There is a difference between having meetings with people and talking to people, and actually trying to meet in the middle and get things done, negotiate, collaborate, work together to try to find a consensus. That has not happened. It’s not happened here on the Hill, and it’s not happened between Democrats and Republicans and the President.” The Washington Times (4/27, Boyer) reports, “President Bush says he brought a new tone of civility to Washington, but Democrats yesterday offered a harsh review of his first 100 days, accusing him of imperiling women, children and workers in favor of big business. ‘This is not compassionate conservatism,’ said House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, still calling into question the legitimacy of Mr. Bush’s presidency. ‘This is leaving no special interest behind, and it must not stand.’ Republican lawmakers dismissed the criticism as the frustrations of a minority party, compounded by Mr. Bush’s 63 percent approval rating. ‘They’re searching for a bogeyman, and they’re not finding one in the president,’ said Rep. Steve Largent, Oklahoma Republican. ‘The untold story is the disarray and confusion and lack of leadership among the Democrats.’”

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