Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama at 100 Days: Change easier chanted than done.



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.


A First Hundred Days that will change America....

Where's the objectivity in the MSM?

In his first 100 days, President Obama has pledged wholehearted support for the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid, which includes plans for the demolition of the Collins High School Campus gym to construct a 6,000 seat Velodrome (indoor bicycle racing track) at a cost of $37.1 million. Collins High School Campus is in Douglas Park.

At the same time, the United States Department of Education has placed the highest sanctions possible on 4 Chicago charter schools, including North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School, which operates one of its facilities from the Collins Campus. The federal sanctions will result in restructuring and could lead to closing of the schools. If North Lawndale College Prep is closed without a suitable education alternative, the Collins High School building could be vulnerable to demolition or takeover by the Park District or some other entity.

Chicago 2016 prides itself on developing a plan that doesn't require demolition of homes or displacement of residents. However, the City and our elected officials neglected to tell the us that they could be effectively displacing North Lawndale students. If the school is not closed, the remaining students will be severely inconvenienced with the loss of a gym. It is not clear where students will have gym classes while the Velodrome is being constructed. As it is, students from some local schools are already sharing gym facilities or using the local parks because they have no gym.

North Lawndale, more than any other community, has experienced massive disruption and mayhem due to school closings and restructurings to produce Renaissance 2010 schools whose results are not much different from the failing schools they replaced. Just when we thought things were settling down, there's a chance we could lose North Lawndale College Prep High School, and the Collins building completely.

Losing the Collins building (or the use of it as a school) effectively means that North Lawndale won't have use of the only building in the community that was originally intended for use as a high school. If North Lawndale Prep closes, we wouldn't have but 2 high schools left--a troubled charter high school that shares the Collins building with North Lawndale College Prep, and the Power House High School, which got off to a very rocky start. North Lawndale already has no traditional high school, let alone access to high schools with a demonstrated track record of success.

I hope and pray he takes the next 100 days to think of less disruptive alternatives to community development.

I am glad the hesitation in the the Presidents speach last evening was because he 'thinks before he speaks'Give the guy a break for heaven sake. He is digging us out of a hole that was left by the previous administration remember.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 29, 2009 9:27 PM.

Obama 100 Day press conference. On the flu, torture, Specter, Notre Dame, surprises. Transcript. was the previous entry in this blog.

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