12/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Obama Honeymoon

Presidential honeymoons are opportunities for bold action. President-Elect Obama -- with the winds of hope behind his back -- has given every indication that he plans to land running to confront the extraordinary challenges we face.

Bill Clinton signed the stalled Family Medical Leave Act on February 5, 1993. But his First Hundred Days Agenda was distracted by controversial cabinet appointments, a firestorm of protest from military officers against allowing gays to serve openly in the military and the ATF disaster in Waco, Texas.

The honeymoons of FDR and LBJ were bold strokes, marked by big accomplishments and new directions. FDR faced economic collapse. LBJ, a turbulent civil rights movement demanding equality, crushing urban poverty and pent-up demands to make progress on the unfinished business of the New Deal -- health care for all. Here's just a sampling of the rapid-fire days of their first months in the White House.

Roosevelt and the New Deal (1933)
At the edge of financial collapse Roosevelt used his power and influence to change the course of the nation:
March 4 Inauguration Day
March 5 National Bank Holiday declared
March 9 Banking Reform Bill passed
March 22 Roosevelt signed bill ending Prohibition
March 31 Civilian Conservation Corps created
May 18 Tennessee Valley Authority Created
June 13 Homeowners Loan Corporation created
June 16 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) created

Johnson and the Great Society (1965)
Johnson's landslide victory over Barry Goldwater paved the way for some of the most significant social legislation of the 20th Century.
January 4 Great Society program in State of the Union Address
January 20 Inauguration Day
July 30 Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid bills
August 6 Voting Rights bill signed
August 31 HUD created

Barack Obama has the chance to create an equally impressive and paradigm-shifting package of legislation and new public programs. Today's economic, environmental and global challenges are huge and create a political imperative for new ideas that match the magnitude of moment. People voted for change. Now let's do it.

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