Jan. 26, 2009
"I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."
President Obama, speaking with the Dubai-based Arabic-language news network al-Arabiya during his first formal interview since becoming President
"For too many years Washington has been asleep at the wheel. Now we have an ally."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, California governor, on the White House's support for states setting their own auto-emissions and fuel-efficiency standards
Giving his first interview to an Arab news network is a bold choice for a new President especially one who was often accused during the campaign of secretly being a Muslim but Obama's move shows his seriousness about fixing U.S. relations with other parts of the world. In the interview, the President seems optimistic about a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but warns that it will require time and new thinking about the problems in the region as a whole.
The President also spends the day trying to fix problems at home, directing federal regulators to move quickly on applications by California and 13 other states to set strict auto-emission and fuel-efficiency standards. The order fulfills a campaign pledge and indicates yet another sharp reversal from the ways of the Bush Administration, this time on environmental policy.
Meanwhile, a controversy comes to an end on Day Seven: Treasury Secretarynominee Geithner is confirmed and sworn in despite his tax problems, meaning Obama's economic team finally has a leader at the helm.