Obama Delivers 'Sweeping Change' at 'Warp Speed,' Now 'We Will Practice What We Preach'

ABC and CBS on Friday night delivered glowing assessments of President Barack Obama's first three days in office, with ABC's George Stephanopoulos declaring “this first week was disciplined and strategic” enabling “sweeping change.” Fill-in anchor Diane Sawyer pronounced: “Change the tone and change it at warp speed.” CBS's Bob Schieffer relayed how “I think he's off to a very good start” and marveled at how -- given “the severity of the problems” -- any “human” could “live up to the expectations,” yet Obama “has laid out an ambitious program” and by closing Guantanamo and deciding to “outlaw torture” he “has told the world that we will practice what we preach.”

Admiring how Obama's discipline is meant to demonstrate he's “moving on all fronts to bring change,” Stephanopoulos trumpeted how on day one and day two he's used executive orders to bring “sweeping change to open government,” “sweeping change in foreign policy” and “then day three, today, two promises kept.”

Referring to the “great crowd that stretched over a mile before” Obama as he made his inaugural address, Schieffer expressed awe:
With the severity of the problems he faced, no human, no matter how confident, it seems to me, could look out on that crowd and not wonder: “Can I live up to the expectations of all those people?” Yet, in the three days since then, he has laid out an ambitious program, promises of more transparency in government, new walls between the government and special interests by executive order. He will close Guantanamo prison and outlaw torture. He has told the world that we will practice what we preach.
From the Friday, January 23 World News on ABC:
DIANE SAWYER: It's early to be writing history already on the Obama presidency, but tell me about the first three days. What do you think the headline is?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Change, which was the headline of the Obama campaign. And this first week was disciplined and strategic like that campaign, all designed to show that the President is moving on all fronts to bring change.

Look at day one: He brings in the White House staffers, calls in, signs those executive orders for sweeping change to open government, those ethics rules we just talked about.

Day two, sweeping change in foreign policy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, new envoys for Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, and, of course, those executive orders which completely did away with the legal foundation for President Bush's war on terror.

And then day three, today, two promises kept: Working on the economy, but, also, with bipartisan congressional leadership, the President showing that he wants to change the tone in Washington.

SAWYER: Change the tone and change it at warp speed. Alright George, our thanks to you.
From Friday's CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Bob Schieffer is our chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation. And, Bob, it's been quite a week beginning with Tuesday.

BOB SCHIEFFER: It really has, Katie, you know the scene I will always remember was the look on Barack Obama's face when he came out on the Capitol steps and looked out on that great crowd that stretched over a mile before him. Wouldn't you just love to know what was going through his mind at that moment? He had to be awed by just the sight of that gathering.

And with the severity of the problems he faced, no human, no matter how confident, it seems to me, could look out on that crowd and not wonder: “Can I live up to the expectations of all those people?” Yet, in the three days since then, he has laid out an ambitious program, promises of more transparency in government, new walls between the government and special interests by executive order. He will close Guantanamo prison and outlaw torture. He has told the world that we will practice what we preach.

These are not insignificant things, nor is his plan for economic recovery. But it's going to take more than just talk to put all that there place. He'll have to reign in some Democrats. He'll have to give Republicans some of what they want and that won't be easy. But I think, Katie, the huge crowds that came to Washington have changed the tone here. If he can take advantage of that I think he has a real chance to get some of this done. I think he's off to a very good start.

COURIC: All right. Bob Schieffer, Bob, that you can thank you. And this Sunday on Face the Nation, Bob will have the first exclusive interview with Joe Biden since he became Vice President.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center