News / USA

    Obama Weathers Criticisms on Leadership, Economic Policies

    US President Barack Obama speaks after he tours an advanced battery facility, Johnson Controls, Inc. in Holland, Michigan, August 11, 2011
    US President Barack Obama speaks after he tours an advanced battery facility, Johnson Controls, Inc. in Holland, Michigan, August 11, 2011

    In the past week of market turbulence, President Barack Obama faced mounting criticisms of his leadership and economic policies. Some of this came from 2012 Republican presidential candidates, but also from some prominent columnists and African-American figures. The White House has responded, as the president intensifies defenses of his policies.

    Stronger critiques of Mr. Obama have come in the wake of his difficult compromise with Republicans for a $2.4 trillion deficit and debt reduction package, and amid the wildly fluctuating stock market after the U.S. creditworthiness downgrade by a major rating agency.

    Critiques also focus on what most economists now agree is the fact that the president's $800 billion stimulus, passed by Congress two years ago responding to the financial crisis and recession, was insufficient to boost job growth and sustain recovery.

    Among the 2012 Republican candidates seeking to replace Mr. Obama in the White House, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is using increasingly sharper language to challenge what he calls the president's lack of experience.

    Romney said this at Thursday's Republican candidates debate in Iowa.

    "I'm not going to eat Barack Obama's dog food. What he served up was not what I would have done if I had been president of the United States," said Romney.

    Some of the harshest assessments of Mr. Obama have come from some prominent newspaper columnists who questioned the president's leadership abilities, as well as his personal empathy.

    Other commentators, not to mention lawmakers in the far left of Mr. Obama's Democratic party, have questioned his determination to stand up to what the president himself has called Republican intransigence.

    Mr. Obama is certainly not the first president of either major political party to face such harsh critiques at this stage in his first term.

    But for the nation's first African-American president, remarks in recent months by two prominent African-American figures may have carried a more painful sting.

    The outspoken Princeton University Professor Cornell West stirred controversy earlier this year by saying Mr. Obama was in danger of being "another black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs."

    That's a reference to criticisms that Mr. Obama has been too close to banks and other powers on Wall Street, even as he attempts to further economic recovery and grow jobs.

    Other criticism has come from prominent African-American television personality Tavis Smiley, who with West has traveled across the country in a "Poverty Tour" to, as Smiley puts it, hold Mr. Obama "accountable."

    Asked about such criticisms during a recent news briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president remains focused not only on improving the economy overall, but also on those who are struggling the most.

    "This president is very focused on every American who is suffering during these turbulent economic times and the policies that he has espoused and that he has pushed take into account very seriously those who are most affected," said Carney.

    Despite the criticisms from these two high profile African-Americans, Mr. Obama’s support among African-Americans remains generally strong, though some recent polls show signs that such support could be weakening.

    White House officials say the president remains focused on the toll that the financial crisis has taken on African-American and other minority communities, a reminder of which he received in person in July when he met with Marc Morial, head of the National Urban League.

    "The black unemployment rate continues to rise, notwithstanding the fact that you do have job creation in the private sector," said Morial.

    With recent stops across the country, at campaign fundraisers, and in next week's three-state bus trip in the U.S. midwest, Mr. Obama is intensifying his responses and explanations of his policies.

    At a battery factory in Michigan this past week, he urged Americans to pressure members of Congress to stop what he called partisanship and gridlock that he said have undermined public confidence.

    "You have got to tell them you have had enough of the theatrics, you have had enough of the politics, stop sending out press releases, start passing some bills that we all know will help our economy right now. That's what they need to do, they have got to hear from you."

    Traveling again next week in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, including several Town Hall meetings, Mr. Obama will hear again from Americans about their frustrations with the economy.

    On Friday, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he will make additional points about "the strident position" of some in Congress, a reference to Republicans and Tea Party lawmakers, to increasingly "put party ahead of country."

    However, the White House said Mr. Obama also is prepared for questions he will face from some who voted for him in 2008 about compromises he has been willing to make with Republicans.

    Upon his return, the president is due to leave for a 10-day vacation with his family in Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

    At a time of financial turmoil, would this give the wrong impression? Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters this week Americans would not "begrudge" Mr. Obama spending some time with his family, adding that in reality "there is no such thing as a presidential vacation."

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.