Monday, February 9, 2009

Barack Obama is a novice - and it shows


After a rocky start, the new President knows he has to seize back the political agenda, says Toby Harnden.
By Toby Harnden
Last Updated: 6:47PM GMT 08 Feb 2009


During last year's epic election campaign, Hillary Clinton said that in the White House "there is no time for on-the-job training". Joe Biden, too, remarked that the presidency was "not something that lends itself to on-the-job training". Both were aiming barbs at their then primary opponent. Mrs Clinton has since brought what she would refer to as her "lifetime of experience" to the role of Secretary of State, while Mr Biden has traded 36 years in the Senate for the vice-presidency. And the rookie they derided is President.

Now, the words of his former rivals are returning to haunt President Obama. After a distinctly rocky start to his presidency, he has admitted he "screwed up" and is returning to one thing in his political career that he has perfected – campaigning. In Elkhart, Indiana, today and Fort Myers, Florida, tomorrow, Mr Obama will try to seize back control of the political agenda with question-and-answer sessions with voters in two of the swing states that gave him victory.

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