President Obama's first four years
Bret Baier reports from Washington
- Duration 9:59
- Date Jan 20, 2013
Bret Baier reports from Washington
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This is the view looking down the mall towards the Washington monument.
There towards the Lincoln Memorial the mood here this weekend as much different than it was four years ago fewer people perhaps.
The sense of optimism for many people has waned after four tough economic years.
So what happened.
And what's next for this president.
On -- aspect.
We gather because we have chosen hope over period.
Unity of purpose.
Over conflict in this story -- Obama swept.
Into the presidency on the wings of change the definitive pick of an energized electorate the nation's first African American president.
He started on day one with the action on an early promise.
There -- -- his order to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year.
American morning breakfast with respect to power -- this -- detainees.
-- Gitmo as it's known remains open almost four years to the day after that signing.
As you sit on the campaign trail in 2008 and 2012.
The economy was his job once the bill is passed -- prison Obama had big hopes for his 787.
Billion dollar stimulus bill six which squeaked through congress in February 2009.
With just three Republicans in the senate.
And none in the house voting for it.
The most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.
I hope this investment will ignite our imagination once more one month later he was calling for the -- -- of auto makers General Motors and Chrysler to the tune of 62 billion dollars.
We will not.
Let our auto industry simply vanish.
Critics called the stimulus or waste and questioned the logic of the government taking an ownership share in private companies.
But supporters -- the stimulus saved the economy from really tank it and called the auto bailout -- huge success clearly be bailing out of General Motors.
Ranks very high it certainly helped him in Ohio and Michigan on the campaign trail.
Timothy Geithner a chief architect of -- and the AIG bailout in 2008.
As Treasury Secretary made the case before congress for tougher regulations on Wall Street.
Eventually leading to the Dodd-Frank bill the president signed into.
-- -- -- -- Years of spending under both parties added up in the debt ceiling talks of 2011.
Quickly led to a budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans who had taken back control of the house in the mid terms.
There is there a risk that the United States could lose its triple -- credit rating yes or no no risk of that.
No -- no risk.
While the debt ceiling was eventually raised in August the political fight and the spotlight on the country's deficit and debt problems.
Led SNP to downgrade the US credit rating for the first time in history.
Geithner steered the major economic moves in the first term now he's stepping down a -- president Obama's pick to replace him -- Jack -- His chief of staff and former budget director a man -- establish a close relationship with this president.
-- is not so chummy with Republicans on the hill after that debt ceiling negotiation.
Back in 2011.
And for that reason and others his looming confirmation hearing could be a bit bumpy.
But if confirmed -- will likely be dealing with -- top issue in this second term how to get the economy moving while addressing the country's long term fiscal prop.
This is a president that's forced to grapple due to the tenor of our times with the budget woes with -- economy that just can't quite get over the hump.
Com and it's gonna consume most of his time I believe in the second term.
What he cannot do.
Going into this term is go from economic crisis to economic crisis that's not leadership.
What he's gonna have to do is figure out how -- we address this in a broader policy way Health Care Reform cannot wait it must not wait and it will.
-- -- -- To get health care legislation done he largely passed control over to congress to put the bill together and the figure out how to get it through.
It became a messy process done about it 2000 plus page bill or it did pass and was signed into law.
Ladies and gentlemen the president the United States of America Morocco -- it.
Everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health yeah prison Obama seemed to effectively fend off the health care law criticism on the campaign trail.
It's been an albatross around the president even though it's his signature achievement.
Secretary Sebelius is staying on for a second term at HHS she will oversee the major aspects of the health care law implementation.
Scheduled to take effect.
Now there are many major questions about the health care law that still remain unanswered about access cost.
And total coverage.
And that's even before it's been set up anywhere.
The wild card is is truly help companies.
Deal with this.
If companies start dropping coverage and agreeing to pay the penalty we got in -- situation on our -- for all the talk about US troop moves under President Obama.
Doubling down in Afghanistan it is in our vital national interest.
To send an additional 30000 US troops to Afghanistan winding down and eventually ended the war in Iraq.
Now it's time to turn the page certainly his first term and perhaps his entire presidency.
Will be remembered for one night tonight.
I can report to the American people and to the world.
-- the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.
The leader -- Qaeda.
He managed to escape the problem that a lot of democratic presidents have had ever since Vietnam which is the perception of somehow being weak on national security.
Exit today is the killing of bin Laden I think.
-- mostly history -- remember the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Truth is that -- seals who did it in.
And both the bush and the Obama administration deserves credit but it happened under the president's watch you want to reset.
-- -- She's the much touted US diplomatic reset with Russia.
Never seem to materialize.
Even after President Obama was caught on camera apparently going the extra mile to assure the Russians about future US missile defense -- so.
It's going to be harder this time so I don't see where US Russian relations can productively -- And that's going to be a big problem for the president starting of course.
But Iran's -- even bigger issue that remains and -- undecided and we've gotten some Russian help so far on Iran but it doesn't mean we're gonna get Russian help with the next step.
The Arab Spring signaled the fall of Middle East leaders with whom US officials had.
For thirty years cultivated careful relationships.
President Obama called on Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to step down a change must take place.
Allocated US resources to support a UN sanctioned no fly zone in Libya crude into the killing of Libya's Moammar Qaddafi.
But in Syria while calling numerous times for Bashar Al Assad to step down.
A bloody civil war continues there and the US still has not publicly stepped in.
There's no doubt that overall pres Obama -- legacy towards the Middle East is wide net of limited American activism.
And that is caricatured by how we handled Egypt Libya Syria Iraq.
There are still unanswered questions about the investigation into the 9/11 attack on the US consulate in Ben Ghazi Libya they killed -- US ambassador.
And three others.
And we have yet to hear from survivors of that attack Secretary Clinton will testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
At state and defense analysts don't see a lot of changes in direction policy wise perhaps less of an inclination for American intervention.
Senator John Kerry is seen as issue win to replace Secretary Clinton.
-- defense after Bob gates in Leon Panetta the president's pick up Chuck Hagel sends a similar message.
He's a Republican but he's past statements on Israel and Iran as well as his opposition to the troop surge in Iraq.
Will likely make for a heated confirmation process if confirmed.
Pay go will most likely lead major budgetary belt tightening at the Pentagon.
You're seeing a president now looking for a wet -- used to sit allies our defense on the cheap.
Your president using drones using intelligence and new ways anything but to send troops into a foreign war.
In -- second term many analysts look for at least one last big push perhaps immigration reform.
With a growing Latino vote putting adding additional pressure on both -- parties ahead of 2016 others feel.
Really the time has passed for big bold moves historian Douglas Brinkley -- you just heard -- I heard from said.
This gridlock in Washington is very real and quote the president has to wake up every day determined not to be a lame duck breast.
One quick fact about team Obama -- in -- team Obama he has had more chiefs of staff than any other president in history.
And with Denis McDonough his next chief of staff.
That will make fun.