IN THE NEWS #478 - The First 100 Days

By George Grow

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

President Bush will observe his first one-hundred days in office Sunday. Some Americans are using the event to consider his performance as President.

The first one-hundred days in office has served as a measure for American Presidents since Nineteen-Thirty-Three. That is when Franklin Roosevelt was sworn-in as President. He quickly proposed a series of measures to deal with America's serious economic problems. Congress approved almost all the important bills that he requested. Mr. Roosevelt's success set an example for all the Presidents who have followed.

Twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan began his term as President by seeking to cut some of the programs started by President Roosevelt. Mr. Reagan was praised for getting his administration off to a fast start.

However, the first one-hundred days are not always a good way to measure the long-term success of a President. Larry Sabato teaches political science at the University of Virginia. He says Jimmy Carter was successful in his first one-hundred days as President. But he says Mr. Carter had many failures during his four years in office.

Professor Sabato adds that Bill Clinton was generally unsuccessful in his first one-hundred days. However, he was re-elected and served two full terms as President.

Bruce Buchanan teaches political science at the University of Texas. He says an examination of President Bush's first one-hundred days in office has some value. He says the President will hear public comments about his performance. And, he says it will help decide what issues are important to Americans.

This week, the Washington Post newspaper and A-B-C News released results of a new public opinion study. It found that sixty-three percent of Americans approve of the way Mr. Bush is doing his job. Many Americans praised the President for his performance in the dispute with China about an American spy airplane. Sixty-five percent of those questioned said they thought Mr. Bush could be trusted in a crisis. And, sixty-nine percent said he is doing a good job as commander-in-chief of the military.

However, the study found that many Americans question Mr. Bush's desire to help average people. Fifty-one percent said the President does not understand the problems they face.

Mr. Bush says he is pleased with his performance during his first one-hundred days as President. He told reporters he hopes Congress will approve a big tax cut for Americans. He also said he wants to improve education. And he wants to develop more energy without harming the environment.

Historians say that a fair examination of any President's actions can only be made after he leaves office. They also agree that it can be very difficult to change public opinion.

This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS, was written by George Grow. This is Steve Ember.

Voice of America Special English