New president to have a busy next few days

Monday, January 19, 2009

As if he isn't going to have a busy enough day on Tuesday, the new President Barack Obama has to answer for a number of things he's promised to do "on day one."

Even if one counts Wednesday as his first full day in office, his handlers will have trouble fitting it all in.

Those of us who remember President Johnson's trouble extricating the United States will be watching in awe as Obama calls in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and puts an end to the war in Iraq.

A top adviser says that's exactly what he will do, although the actual end will take longer, provided it's done "responsibly and deliberately but decisively," as he promised in July.

The Israelis and Hamas may have beaten the new president to the punch, apparently agreeing in some form or another to cease-fires in the Gaza Strip.

If that clears out Obama's schedule, it should leave more time for closing Guantanamo Bay, and prohibiting waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques -- let's hope there's no reason intelligence services are tempted to use them any time soon.

It will take a while to convert the White House auto fleet to hybrids, but let's hope the old cars can get out of the way for the crush of visitors making their way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in time for the open house he's promised on "day one."

In his spare time, he'll take steps to deal with the economic crisis and make plans for ramping up the war in Afghanistan -- and we hope bringing Osama bin Laden to justice in the process.

If he gets all that done Wednesday, Thursday should be quite a day.

The St. Petersburg Times operates a "Truth-O-Meter" to keep track of statements made by Barack Obama -- and most other national leaders -- during the past presidential campaign and into the future.

Using staff research, so far, Obama's statements include 49 that are true, 32 "mostly true," 33 "half true," 19 "barely true," 25 "false" and 2 "pants on fire."

You can check out the "Truth-O-Meter" on your favorite public figure at http://politifact.com

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