Obama Order to Shut Gitmo, CIA Detention Centers

Torture techniques, especially waterboarding, were a hotly contested topic during Obama's presidential campaign. After he won the presidential election, Obama reiterated time and again that the United States does not torture.

"I was clear throughout this campaign and have been clear throughout this transition that under my administration, the States do not torture," Obama said at a press conference two weeks ago. "We will abide by the Geneva Conventions that we will uphold our highest values and ideals."

Like his first full day in office, Obama's schedule is fully booked again today. The president spent the morning meeting with top economic advisers and his senior staff.

In the afternoon, Obama headed over to the State Department and met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Jim Jones and Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.

Before an audience of State Department employees, Obama and Clinton announced new envoys -- a "new era of leadership" -- including former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East, and Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This morning, newly minted Secretary of State Clinton emphasized diplomacy and teamwork in a speech to department employees on her first day.

"I believe with all my heart this is a new era for America," Clinton said. "We will make clear as we go forward that diplomacy and development are essential tools in achieving the long-term objectives of the United States."

Obama is already focusing on international diplomacy despite the mountains of domestic challenges facing him.

Wednesday he met with national security advisers, the Iraqi ambassador and Gen. David Petraeus to begin working on a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq by the summer of 2010.

"During the discussion, I asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq," Obama said in a statement following the meeting. "In the coming days and weeks ... we will undertake a full review of the situation in Afghanistan in order to develop a comprehensive policy for the entire region."

Fixing the Recession

Guantanamo Bay and Iraq are not the only hot button issues facing Obama. The administration is likely to face increasing pressure to implement a fix for the economy. Even though Obama has repeatedly warned that things will get worse before they get better, he has taken steps that his administration feels will bring some relief to the economy, such as working with Congress members to draft a new stimulus package. Gibbs said today that the president would also receive daily economic briefings just as he receives intelligence briefings.

Last week, senators gave the Obama administration access to the remaining $350 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to stabilize the financial markets, which the new team has promised to spend with more accountability. Today, the House will vote on the same resolution. House leaders are expected to meet President Obama next week to discuss the stimulus package and other issues.

But as Obama has warned, finding a fix might not be easy or quick as the recession continues to worsen.

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