SPECIAL REPORT: Barack Obama set to enter the White House with a long "to do" list
- Title: SPECIAL REPORT: Barack Obama set to enter the White House with a long "to do" list
- Date: 6th November 2008
- Summary: (W4) KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (OCTOBER 6, 2008) (REUTERS) WOMEN IN BURKAS WALKING DOWN STREET
- Reuters ID: LVAE7M8W3G9I91WA3N97EZQI66VC
- Duration: 00:00:06
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- Topics: International Relations,People
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- Story Text: When Barack Obama starts his new job as the 44th President of the United States in January he will face very high expectations and a daunting "to do" list.
Vanishing jobs and slumping markets confronted Barack Obama on the first day after his historic election as U.S. president, escalating pressure for urgent action to curb the world's relentless financial crisis.
A day after being elected America's first black president, Obama heard a chorus of congratulations from around the world but also warnings about the creeping global recession that will crowd the top of his agenda along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Investors and world leaders expressed hope Obama could guide the international community while investors eagerly awaited an announcement on who would be selected as Treasury Secretary to oversee the $700 billion program to buy distressed assets and recapitalize wobbly financial institutions.
"We are in an economic crisis that promises to go on for some time," said Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute in Washington.
"Most economists forecast that the recession will go on well into 2009, maybe even through the year. We've also got two wars going on. He's got to successfully bring an end to the war in Iraq as he's promised, but without creating chaos in that country. He's also promised that he's going to step up efforts in Afghanistan. He's got to find a way to do that. So he's certainly got his hands full."
Also on the President's desk will be decisions about how to defeat a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and how to prevent the spread of their influence in the region. In Iraq, Obama must assess whether the Baghdad government is stable enough to permit a more substantial withdrawal of U.S.
troops. He will also have to deal with a possible growing threat from neighbouring Iran.
On the domestic side, the new president faces a record foreign debt and a record budget deficit. An unpopular tax increase, by whatever name, is more than likely. And last, he must chose whether to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil by drilling offshore in domestic waters -- to the cheers of the oil companies and to the boos of environmentalists.
As all presidential candidates do, Obama made a number of campaign promises, but whether he will be able to make good on those promises as President will become a matter of juggling priorities.
"That's going to be a real problem for him because he simply doesn't have the money to fulfill all his promises. And as soon as he misses a few, there are going to be enormous amount of disappointment out there, people have invested so much in terms of their hopes and dreams in an Obama presidency, when he doesn't live up to these inflated expectations, you are going to see a lot of disappointment and disillusionment I think in a part of many people," Tanner said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that, even with the support of a Democratic Congress, Obama assumes the presidency amid very high expectations.
"The fact is, this president goes into office with more expectations than any President I can ever remember in my lifetime,"
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- Embargoed:21st November 2008 12:00