"I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies -- they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair," he said Oct. 26, 2008. "But what we'll do is we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of drug companies or the insurance companies."
Obama kicked off his health care effort with a summit at the White House March 5.
The goal of the day was not to develop a concrete proposal, but rather bring all of the key players on this issue together in one room. Obama addressed an audience of 150 participants, including Democrats, Republicans and advocates for doctors, nurses, patients, labor unions and business groups.
Obama pledged to get a health care bill signed during his first year in office in order to implement the plan before the end of his term. At the White House summit, he dismissed criticism that his administration is taking on too much at once and that now is not the time to tackle health care reform, because of the nation's struggling economy.
"There is always a reason not to do it. And it strikes me that now is exactly the time for us to deal with this problem," he said.
The Obama campaign's Web site said that he would give a speech "at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration."
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Obama would not be pinned down on the time frame for the speech but said he had a "unique opportunity to reboot America's image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular."
Earlier this month, Obama delivered a speech before the Turkish Parliament and told its members that the United States "is not at war with Islam," as his campaign said he would.
He called for a stronger relationship between the United States and the Muslim world that goes beyond the fight against al Qaeda.
Turkey was the last stop on Obama's European swing, and his first visit to a Muslim nation as president. There he sought to repair relations with the Muslim world that were damaged after the attacks of Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq. The president said his administration seeks "broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."
On March 9, Obama signed an executive order reversing President Bush's 2001 order banning the use of federal funding for research on new embryonic stem cell lines.
The first piece of legislation Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which changed the law to make it easier for those suing employers because of alleged pay discrimination.
"Now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons," Obama said in his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver Aug. 28, 2008.
Ledbetter was featured in an Obama campaign ad and the issue of fair pay became a hot topic on the campaign trail after Republican nominee Sen. John McCain voted against the legislation.
On Feb. 4, Obama signed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), keeping a campaign pledge but breaking another one at the same time.