In his first 100 days in office, President Obama has demonstrated a clear departure from his predecessor. From relaxing marijuana enforcement laws to releasing torture memos, the new administration has moved rapidly to revoke and alter policies that marked the legacy of the Bush team.
Obama "is pleased with his actions thus far, understanding that the American people are certainly not going to grade his administration or our efforts... just by the actions of the first 95 days," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
Even before he entered the White House, the 44th president advised his transition team to draft an executive order to close down the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay. The latest in the series of moves has been the release of the so-called "torture memos" detailing the authorization and legalization of harsh interrogation techniques by Bush-era officials. The Obama team has also taken a visibly different approach to energy and environmental policy.
The swift-moving president says he is trying to fulfill his campaign promises and supporters applaud his efforts. Critics say he could be putting too much on his already-full plate.
Here is a list of the Bush administration policies and laws that Obama has reversed so far:
From Drugs to Gay Rights to Health Policy
Shifting Away From Calif. Pot Busts
Signaling a drastic shift in the Bush administration's policies on drugs, Obama's appointed Attorney General, Eric Holder, said federal agents will relax their enforcement of marijuana laws and go after only those distributors who violate both state and federal law. California is one of 13 states that have either legalized or decriminalized the use of medical marijuana and permits its sale for medical purposes. However, it still violates federal law and under the previous administration, authorities targeted medical marijuana sellers under federal laws even if they complied with state laws.
As a presidential candidate, Obama vowed to bring change in policies related to medical marijuana use. Advocacy groups applauded the change but raised their concerns about more than two dozen California cases that are hanging in a limbo in federal court. The move comes at a time when the Obama administration is taking a tougher stance on the problem of drug and weapons trade along the U.S.-Mexico border. Other states that permit marijuana for medical purposes are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Endorsing Gay Rights
On March 18, the Obama administration formally endorsed a United Nations statement urging world leaders to decriminalize homosexuality, a declaration that less than three months ago Bush refused to sign.
"The United States supports the U.N. Statement on 'Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity,' and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support of this Statement that condemns human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity wherever they occur," the State Department said in a statement. "We join with the other supporters of this Statement and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora."
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