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Obama: Administration Off to 'Good Start' in First 100 Days


U.S. President Barack Obama, marking his 100th day in office, says his administration is off to a "good start," but that he is still not content because Americans are struggling economically.

At a Wednesday night news conference, Mr. Obama said millions of Americans are still without jobs and homes, and that more will be lost before the recession ends.

Swine Flu

On other topics, President Barack Obama said his administration is closely monitoring the emerging cases of the swine flu virus, saying it is a very serious situation.

He said every American should know the entire government is taking precautions and is prepared. He said schools with confirmed or suspected cases should consider closing. He says he requested $1.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress to address the situation.

He said it is a cause for deep concern, but not for panic and said he has been advised there is no need at this time to close the U.S. border with Mexico, where the worst outbreak has been reported. He said the United States has ramped up screening efforts and sent additional supplies to the border.

Mr. Obama said he is consulting extensively with public health officials, and said the federal government is doing all it can to identify new cases and allocate the appropriate resources.

He also said he was pleased Congress has passed a budget resolution.

On foreign policy, he noted that in his 100 days, he has moved to end the war in Iraq and close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Auto companies

Mr. Obama said he is very hopeful that a resolution can be found to allow Chrysler Corporation to remain as a viable automotive company. But he said the details of such a plan have not been finalized.

The administration has given Chrysler a Thursday deadline to make drastic cost cuts and form an alliance with Italy's Fiat auto company, or else lose further government financial support.

The president said another auto giant, General Motors, is still in the process of presenting the administration with its plan for staying in business.

He said the administration's goal is to have viable and strong U.S. auto companies.

Mr. Obama spent part of Wednesday in a suburb of St. Louis in the midwestern state of Missouri, where he warned that the U.S. still faces many obstacles.

He said there that the country must find ways to make sure the current financial crisis is never repeated, and that it must reduce growing health care costs that are hurting businesses and families.

President Obama has undertaken an ambitious agenda since becoming the nation's first African-American president on January 20. He pushed through Congress a $787 billion economic stimulus package and unveiled a number of initiatives to rescue the ailing financial and automotive industries.

He ordered the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and changed the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. He took steps to improve America's image abroad, including outreach to the Muslim world, and made overtures to U.S. rivals Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.

The president entered his 100th day in office Wednesday with an approval rating above 60 percent, but he is facing another major challenge -- an outbreak of swine flu that has killed dozens of people in Mexico and has spread to the United States and other parts of the world.

It has been a tradition for journalists and historians to examine a new president's first 100 days in office since Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency in 1933. President Roosevelt pushed through 15 major pieces of legislation during that period to help the nation combat the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in U.S. history.

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