Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mr. Obama Goes to Washington

As tradition dictates, President-Elect Barack Obama was invited for a private meeting by President Bush on Monday afternoon. They spent alittle over an hour in private discussing what their aides describe as "policies around the economy, national security, and the war in Iraq."

No aides or press were present for the meeting. It is interesting to note that George W. Bush's meeting with President Bill Clinton lasted for nearly two hours in 1992.

During their meeting, Laura Bush treated Michelle Obama to a tour of the White House. Mrs. Bush gave Mrs. Obama a tour of the first family's living quarters, including the bedrooms used by children of past presidents. White House press secretary Dana Perino said the two women were expected to talk about living in one of the world's most famous building, from family life to the help provided by executive staff.

Bush & Obama meet in the Oval OfficeThe meeting between the current and future president comes amid the backdrop of an economy that is begging to be called a recession and the popularity of the current president continues to plummet to historic levels. President Bush is the most unpopular president since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades ago. Seventy-six percent of those questioned in the poll disapprove of how he is handling his job.

That's an all-time high in CNN polling and in Gallup polling dating back to World War II. No other president's disapproval rating has gone higher than 70 percent. Bush has managed to do that three times so far this year. Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating!

The mood of the public is also at an all-time low. Only 16 percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say things are going well in the country today. Eighty-three percent say things are going badly, which is an all-time high. In the 34 years that this question has been asked, the number who say things are going well has never fallen below 20 percent.

So far, Obama seems to be meeting the public's high expectations. Two-thirds of all Americans have a positive view of what he has done since he was elected president, and three-quarters think he will do a good job as president.

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This country has come a long way. In a commentary written for CNN.com, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of Alabama Governor George Wallace, writes of her support of Barack Obama and the promise of the future.

Excerpts: George Wallace's Daughter on Obama
MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- I heard a car door slam behind me and turned to see an elderly but spry woman heading my way.

The night before, a gang of vandals had swept through the cemetery desecrating graves, crushing headstones and stealing funereal objects.

My parents' graves, situated on a wind-swept hill overlooking the cemetery, had not been spared. A large marble urn that stood between two granite columns had been pried loose and spirited away, leaving faded silk flowers strewn on the ground.

I was holding a bouquet of them in my arms when the woman walked up and gave me a crushing hug. "Honey," she said, "you don't know me, but when I saw you standing up here on this hill, I knew that you must be one of the girls and I couldn't help myself but to drive up here and let you know how much me and my whole family loved both of your parents. They were real special people."

I thanked her for her kind words as we stood side by side gazing down at the graves of Govs. George Wallace and Lurleen Wallace.

After a few moments, the woman leaned into me and spoke almost in a conspiratorial whisper. "I never thought I would live to see the day when a black would be running for president. I know your daddy must be rolling over in his grave."

Not having the heart or the energy to respond, I gave her bony arm a slight squeeze, turned and walked away. As I put the remnants of the graveyard spray in the trunk of my car, I assumed that she had not bothered to notice the Barack Obama sticker on my bumper.

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George Wallace and other Southern governors of his ilk stood defiantly in the 1950s and '60s in support of racial segregation, a culture of repression, violence and denial of basic human rights.

Their actions and the stark images of their consequences that spread across the world galvanized the nation and gave rise to a cry for an end to the American apartheid. The firestorms that were lit in Birmingham, Oxford, Memphis, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Little Rock and Selma were a call to arms to which the people responded.

And now a new call to arms has sounded as Americans face another assault on freedom. For if the stand in the schoolhouse door was a defining moment for George Wallace, then surely the aftermath of Katrina and the invasion of Iraq will be the same for George W. Bush.

The trampling of individual freedoms and his blatant contempt for the rights of the average American may not have been as obvious as an ax-handle-wielding governor, but Bush's insidiousness and piety have made him much more dangerous.

Healing must come, hope will be our lodestar, humility will reshape the American conscience, and honesty in both word and deed will refresh and invigorate America, and having Barack Obama to lead will give us back our power to heal.

My father lived long enough to come to an understanding of the injustices borne by his deeds and the legacy of suffering that they left behind. History will teach future generations that he was a man who used his political power to promote a philosophy of exclusion.

As his daughter, who witnessed his suffering in the twilight of his years and who witnessed his deeds and heard his words, I am one who believes that the man who, on March 7, 1965, listened to the reports of brutality as they streamed into the Governor's Mansion from Selma, Alabama, was not the same man who, in March of 1995, was welcomed with open arms as he was rolled through a sea of African-American men, women and children who gathered with him to welcome another generation of marchers, retracing in honor and remembrance the historic steps from Selma to Montgomery.

Four years ago, the young Illinois senator who spoke at the Democratic National Convention mesmerized me. I hoped even then that he would one day be my president.

Read the entire CNN.com article by Gov. George Wallace's daughter.

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Read the CNN.com article about President George Bush's historic rating.

Read the CNN.com article about President-Elect Obama's visit to the White House.

Read the New York Times article about Obama's White House visit.

Read the Associated Press article about Obama's White House visit.

Provide feedback to President-Elect Obama on your vision for America

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plez sez: "January 20, 2009 marks the end of an error."

if george w. bush and his administration did anything right over the past eight years, plezWorld would like to know about it. everything the bush administration touched was ill conceived and poorly executed. even BARACK OBAMA's brief visit to the White House on Monday seemed like a breath of fresh air after eight years of the foul smell of the "failed policies" that wafted from the bush white house.

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