January 21st, 2009
08:38 PM GMT
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NEW YORK - In his inauguration speech President Barack Obama said, "...those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel briefs U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel briefs U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

He has wasted no time putting those words into action. Wednesday Obama announced a pay freeze for senior White House staffers.

Perhaps more importantly, he also imposed new limits on lobbyists, saying anyone who works in his administration and leaves can not lobby the White House while he is in office.

It is unclear how much of an immediate impact these changes will have, but it is a step in the right direction.

A government job is not supposed to be an internship for a lucrative lobbyist job. Special interests wield huge power in DC.

They impact legislation in a way that the founding fathers never envisioned.

It will be hard to break their grip, but if Obama can make a start, it may go a long way in trying to restore people's faith in government.

Do you think Obama can usher in real reform in Washington or is this just more talk?

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. EDWARD OWUSU KORANTENG

    Do you think Obama can usher in real reform in Washington or is this just more talk?

    That is a pretty right question to ask. Mr Obama is a human being like all others; but looking at how he has started, I don't want to think he is just another President. The man seems to me to mean business. He is the only politician who I have ever bothered to write about. I like him!

    January 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  2. The Mrs.

    One can only hope that he will be a catalyst to change. He does not have to stand alone in this, there will be support as long as there is transparency and honestly in his actions. However since im arab, i have to say im even more skeptical this would actually blossom into real change, one can only hope. My advise to the president : an old arab saying "he who doesnt take care of those close to him(family, citizens) wont be able to take care of those who are far (strangers, other nations). As an arab i support him, and wish him luck in fixing the situation in his own country , before he looks at foriegn policy..... take your time president and the world will be ready once the situation at home is solved.

    January 21, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  3. Sorel

    Well, freezing the payment of senior staffers does not sound much like talk but rather like immediate action doesn't it?

    January 21, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  4. Patrick Riley

    Great Start!!! Freezing the pay for the leach White House Staffers!!!
    NOW!! Let's get down to creating a LITTLE BIT OF PEACE in the Middle East!! Don't show the ABSOLUTE & TOTAL support for that AXIS OF EVIL ROGUE STATE.....israel..
    Be neutral in their support..The ABSOLUTE & TOTAL SUPPORT has angered the planet & made life very difficult for PEACE LOVING AMERICANS..!! 1300 innocent Palestinians..DEAD!! BUSH didn't even blink an eye, nor did that other witch, CONNIE..
    Let's go FORWARD!!! The WHOLE PLANET EARTH!! Fight poverty, create a bit of dialogue between nations..NOT BULLETS & BONBS!! Let's bring Al Qeada & the Taliban to the negotiating table..Ask them..WHY DO YOU WANT TO WAGE WAR ON US??? NO one has ever asked that question that I am aware of!! There must be an answer to this question & a solution..
    Lives are too precious to waste for the sake of ignorance, greed & money..Grow up..WORLD & try to understand your short falls..

    Patrick Riley
    RAF Lakenheath, UK

    January 21, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Joshua Owen

    The first few steps seem to be good. Still, I see problems., if a person leaves the staff, hires on with a lobbying firm but doesn't actually do the lobbying. This i believe is a patch for what is really needed a law, stating to the effect that no person whom has ever been part of Congress, the House or an administration can lobby, or work for a lobby firm. There are many problems with what I say, freedom to choose ones' employment and the most important is the requirement that Congress govern themselves in the interests of the people and not for the benefit of members. While Congress is passing laws, they should look at there benefits and retirement pkgs., I think we could find a dime or 10 billion.

    January 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  6. Emmanuel

    I think Obama is bringing in real genuine reform not only to Washington but to the whole world , because if the world have to be positively changed, the positive change must start from washington. His mission is divine and I see him as Man's second chance for peace. "For God Still Love the world that he sent Obama"

    January 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  7. eguavoen derick osas

    I think Obama can usher in real reform in washington and also bring changes to american politics,his campaign has set an example for us to see,he brought together the right people and they ran one of the best campaign in history.His cabinet choice as president is another example of people he surround himself with,i believe together they can bring about this change.Obama is not all about politics,its also a movement,a movement for change.his life and achievement is a testimony of greatness.just few are born with greatness.let give him our surport,yes we can.

    January 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  8. Henri

    I believe he meant it when he swore on the Lincoln bible to return America to the moral ethics of the founding fathers. Lobbyists are a corrupting force in government. So are the fantasy bonuses in Wall Street. I wonder how he is going to stop the corrupting force of porn on the internet?

    January 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  9. H. B.

    If he gets things done the way he wants them done, yes, he will be able to reform Washington's bad habits. About that, as with everything else, he MEANS BUSINESS.

    Trouble is, the very things he wants to get rid of are things he must ask a "bought" Congress to permit. They won't wAnt to part with their special-interest money, and that money won't want to be told they can't bribe a Congressperson through the presently-legal system of buying influence through campaign contributions.

    In a word, where dealing with the spectre of lobbyists, he is facing down a mighty dragon and trying to get a room full of crocodiles to make it possible.

    Lobbying should be illegal – period. But I think the only way it can be done is through a national referendum, where the PEOPLE, not Congress, decide whether lobbying should be allowed, restricted or abolished.

    .... I hope it happens. We kicked one bunch of bums out in the election. Now let's boot the other bums – the bought lawmakers and their "buyers," the lobbyists. Remove their influence totally, and for good.

    January 22, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  10. linda westfall

    Keep up the good work MR PRESIDENT, YOU'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK GOD BLESS

    January 22, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  11. Nam(South Korea,Busan)

    I think so.

    He will lead a new era.

    I'm a believer.

    BUT ironically I'm feeling:

    Another Bush will come in the future.

    January 22, 2009 at 1:46 am |
  12. Lauro Silva - Brazil

    A new lease on life! Yeah, that's it. Joyful, hopeful people singing and dancing on the streets of Washington and a very old Black Lady still alive in Africa stating she might hopefully see yet a Negro as president of USA. Politicians´immorality throughout the world has been taking it out of the people for so many years and because of that everyone on the other hand giving up hope. Many times people´s enthusiasm happens to be a died down blaze that flares up again with a sudden wind. That is what literally is happening in the United States and in the world right now. Mr. Obama must not stop hearing what his people say. People do not waste time mending their fences. All they want is to live well and decently. What Mr. Obama has done on his first day as president is much laudable, a pure demonstration of prudence and courage and we hope other governments all over the world take it as a living example to be followed. No doubt people are all over that first day, be pretty sure, Mr. Obama. No doubt as well an invisible force starts acting from now on trying to throw everyone off the track. Any question to be solved demands to start nipping its cause in the bud. A new life is starting out.

    January 22, 2009 at 2:23 am |
  13. Michael C. McHugh

    There has never been a president in my lifetime who has inspired more confidence in his ability to get major reforms passed. Obama's task really is equal to that of Lincoln and FDR, but I think that if anyone can get things done, he can.

    January 22, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  14. Mariam Martirosyan (Armenia)

    As a manager for a small office I know very well what a difficult thing change is. It requests one a lot of courage to think and implement change, especialy fiscal change. Nobody likes reduction of salaries yet sometimes this proves to be the wisest thing for the overall public good.
    I can only imagine what great deal of courage, diligence and consistency Obama has if he initiates such change right on the first day of his work. Great start! He is right when he says NOW is the time of sacrifice if we want to live better. No pain, no gain.

    January 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  15. Gary Bailey

    The people have lost all faith in government and now they are placing their faith on Obama's shoulders. There is a House and the Senate which run our government and I believe the lobbyists have bought and paid for their votes long ago. Why does war continue ? Because that is what the military industrial complex of the world wants. Why is there hunger in the world ? Because the people of the world bow down to the war mongers and allow them to rule. What should be our first priorities ? Housing, Medical, Education, Transportation, Water, Electricity, Food, Clothing, Highways and not necessarily in that order.

    But what seems to be the priorities with America ? Gambling, Drinking, Football, Basketball, Operas. Movies, Disneyland, missles to mars, Billions for wars and advertising (Three million for thirty seconds at the Super Bowl. Insanity is Insanity no matter what you call it.

    January 25, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  16. cmanning3

    Everyone in government should forgo their salaries for a year. Especially Governor Jodi Rell of the "great" state of CT. I'm trying to log on the unemployment website to no avail. I have been trying the phone lines too. I have been trying since early this am. I am livid! This is absurd... Are you guys hiring? I need a job!!!

    January 26, 2009 at 2:47 am |
  17. dan in Tucson

    Obama need to practice what he preaches first. He has a Raytheon lobbist in his cabinet. I don't understand the hypocrocy. Obama, more than ANYONE, needs to set the example. His plan has no beef if he doesn't even follow it himself. That's how you lose respect real fast.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  18. A,Herold, Switzerland

    We are full of hope,! Except with his plan to send more troops to Afghanistan. I have been there recently. As long as these troops kill so-called terrorists but also all too many civilians instead of building roads, houses, hospitals, the people of Afghanistan will continue to support the "Talibans" – as a less evil.

    January 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm |

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