Mr President Hits the Ground Running; the Buck Stops Here: President Barack Obama Gets Straight Down to Work in the Oval Office at the White House Yesterday Morning with Initiatives on the Economy, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and the Middle East

Daily Mail (London), January 22, 2009 | Go to article overview

Mr President Hits the Ground Running; the Buck Stops Here: President Barack Obama Gets Straight Down to Work in the Oval Office at the White House Yesterday Morning with Initiatives on the Economy, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and the Middle East


Byline: David Gardner

HE PROMISED it would be straight down to work after the inaugural day festivities and he promised sweeping change.

Yesterday President Barack Obama was as good as his word.

His first move was effectively to halt all war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay terror suspects, and he was set to follow that with an order that will see the widely-condemned Cuban prison camp shut within a year.

He then plunged into the Middle East peace process with phone calls to Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, Israeli premier Ehud Olmert, Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

And for the first time he spoke out over the crisis in the Gaza Strip by pledging U.S. support for the fragile ceasefire.

In a day of frantic activity in the Oval Office, the 44th president also asked his military leaders to submit plans for a new mission to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Last night he also called a meeting with his top economic advisers to plot the way forward in dealing with the financial crisis.

That came as it emerged that President Obama was freezing the pay of about a hundred White House employees who make more than $100,000 a year.

The president hit the ground running after grabbing just a few hours sleep.

His first task after walking into the Oval Office at 8.30am after a night racing around ten inaugural balls was to open the traditional letter left by the departing president that was addressed: 'From No 43 to No. 44.'

The content of the note was not revealed - but Mr Obama wasted no time proving he was heading in a very different direction from the unpopular George W Bush.

He used a direct executive order - that does not require the backing of congressional lawmakers - to move quickly against the military justice system at Guantanamo Bay that was a cornerstone of Mr Bush's war on terror.

His order for prosecutors to request a 120- day suspension pending a review of the system was expected to derail the cases against 21 detainees, including murder cases against five men charged in connection with the September 11 attacks.

Aides said the order includes a provision to keep Mr Obama's election pledge to close the naval base jail that still holds 245 prisoners.

While his move will win applause around the world, it will still leave him with a massive problem of just how he closes the jail.

Mr Obama has not yet said where the prisoners will be held if Guantanamo Bay is closed, whether they will face justice in mainland civilian courts, or be freed.

The latter option would be a political minefield.

Last night, he received a possible solution from the Swiss government, which offered to take the detainees off his hands.

Full details of Mr Obama's conversations with leaders in the Middle East were not released.

But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said: 'He used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership.'

Mr Obama inherits the aftermath of a Gaza conflict that dogged the final days of the Bush administration.

The Israeli offensive that ravaged Hamas-run Gaza and left some 1,300 Palestinians dead, at least half of them civilians.

Thirteen Israelis also died.

Mr Gibbs said the president 'emphasised his determination to work to help consolidate the ceasefire by establishing an effective antismuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming', and by working with Palestinian leadership to help create a 'a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza.'

Last night it was reported that Mr Obama was on the verge of appointing former Northern Ireland peacemaker George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy - a move that could put Tony Blair out of a job. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mr President Hits the Ground Running; the Buck Stops Here: President Barack Obama Gets Straight Down to Work in the Oval Office at the White House Yesterday Morning with Initiatives on the Economy, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and the Middle East
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.