Obama: Enchanted, Surprised, Humbled, Troubled
WASHINGTON--After two years of campaigning for the White House--town halls, debates, position papers--President Obama was struck Wednesday--Day 100 of his administration-- at how full his plate is on matters he never imagined having to handle.
"I would love a nice, lean portfolio to deal with, but that's not the hand that's been dealt us," Obama said as he wrapped up his third prime time news conference.
The president's comment came as the swine flu has suddenly surfaced as a major public health threat, the federal government is bailing out the banking industry and trying to rescue U.S. automakers. He's even had to deal with pirates, on top of the two wars he knew he would face.
The president took with relish a question by Jeff Zeleny from the New York Times about things that surprised, troubled, enchanted and humbled him during his first 100 days.
Obama, who usually never writes down even multi-part questions he's asked, with a
flourish took pen to pad to get down Zeleny's list.
Surprised: "Compared to where I started, when we first announced for this race, by the number of critical issues that appear to be coming to a head all at the same time."
For all of Obama's transition team planning--the unexpected was, well, unexpected.
Troubled: "I'd say less troubled but, you know, sobered by the fact that change in Washington comes slow." Obama said that he thought all the gigantic matters he's juggling would earn him "a timeout on some of the political games."
Change, easier chanted than done.
Enchanted: Obama struggled for a few moments, seeming to search for something deep. Stumped, he lavishly praised the nation's military.
Humbled: "I can't just press a button and suddenly have the bankers do exactly what I want or or, you know, turn on a switch and suddenly, you know, Congress falls in line.''
Now he knows.