With decisions that some presidents don’t make in 4 years packed into his first 100 days, what President Obama’s advisers deride as a “Hallmark holiday” presents a legitimate occasion for a report card, and for a Politico team to catch up with White House insiders. “I don’t want to go through accomplishments, because I feel like I’m just walking around with a punch card,” Rahm Emanuel says.
We know now that Obama is no mild-mannered centrist. He’s made the most forceful—and divisive—push for activist government in decades. “It’s what he promised,” David Axelrod said. “Every single thing is completely consonant with what he talked about” during the campaign. Obama seems mature, hard-working, able to make tough decisions and wrangle huge egos. Emanuel credits an “espirit de corps. … Everybody knows they’re on the Obama team.”