WASHINGTON -- The Obama White House doesn't "subscribe to the legitimacy" of the 100-day metric for presidential progress, but is mighty satisfied with the new president's accomplishments.
"This isn't Biblical," a senior White House adviser said of the 100-day marker. "You don't do 100 days and rest."
Even so, this senior official, a long-time adviser to the president who spoke on the condition he not be quoted by name, said "you would be hard-pressed to find another administration that's done so much in such a short period of time. It's been a very productive 100 days."
For most of the 45-minute session the White House adviser spent with a small group of reporters, the suggestion that Obama had been more productive than Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his first 100 days (the president whose scale of activity first generated 100-day assessments of subsequent presidencies) was left on the table. When asked if that was the proper interpretation, the adviser said Obama's had been the most productive since FDR.
Here is the list of the accomplishments the White House actively touts, even as it disdains what it calls the "Hallmark Holiday" of the 100th day in office.
- Passing the "largest" economic stimulus bill in American history.
- Ordering the closing of Guantanamo Bay military detention facility and abolishing "enhanced interrogation techniques."
- Setting a fixed timetable for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq.
- Ordering 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and enlisting, with modest new assistance, European allies in a new multi-layered strategy there and in Pakistan.
- "Returning science to its rightful place" by lifting the Bush restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
- Signing laws to expand children's health insurance (financed by a 61-cent per pack increase in the federal cigarette tax the adviser did not tout).
- Signing a law meant to improve the ability of women who allege pay discrimination to sue their employer.
- Diminishing the role of lobbyists in the White House
- "Forge a meaningful statement from the United Nations" criticizing North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile.
- Lifting travel and remittance restrictions for Cuban Americans who seek to travel more frequently to the island and send more US currency to their immediate family.
- Engaging world leaders in Europe, Turkey, Latin American and the Caribbean with "strength and humility."
"And this is just the beginning," the adviser beamed. "The president is governing consistent with the way he campaigned as a candidate."
And this adviser was well-equipped to describe, in lush and laudatory detail, how the president has adapted to the rigors of the job.
"He's slipped into that chair (in the Oval Office), you know, as if he's been there all his life," the adviser said.
"It's been kind of eerie. He's a real ballast for everyone. I've been struck by the fluency with which he moves from one issue to another. I remember one day he was briefed on the North Korea missile launch situation, then there was a meeting on GM and Chrysler, then a briefing on the Afghanistan policy, and there was another meeting on GM and Chrysler. And then (White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel came into my office and said Fargo (North Dakota) was under water and, at that point, it became a West Wing (former NBC TV show) episode."
The adviser said nothing has slowed the president down or dimmed his confidence. The roughest spot, not expectedly, was calling "a military family who has lost a loved one."
In the main, this adviser said, he couldn't be more proud of what's transpired -- even if day 100 is, as he said, no more or less important than day 97.
"It's really been thrilling to watch him embrace this role as he has."