A surprised Rudolph Penner, assistant director of President Ford's OMB and later a CBO director, offered a blunt assessment of the new president: "[He] has proposed a huge restructuring of government, and people are actually taking him seriously. The man ... turns out to be downright radical." This president was Ronald Reagan, who pushed through changes in spending and taxes that redefined economic policy for a generation.
After a week in office, another newly minted president mused in his private diary, "Everybody has warned me not to take on too many projects so early in the administration, but it's almost impossible for me to delay something that I see needs to be done." That president was Jimmy Carter, who--true to his word--sent a flood of proposals down Pennsylvania Avenue, so many that Congress soon bogged down in near-gridlock. By the end of his first year, American were beginning to wonder whether Carter could get things done and--worse--whether he was up to the job.