Perhaps it’s just the honeymoon period, but President-elect Barack Obama is on a roll.
Just days before he takes over as America’s 44th commander in chief, he’s pulling the kind of political victories that you’d expect from a second-term president who had just ushered in a four years of peace and prosperity.
Instead, the nation is coming off a divisive presidential election, is economically crippled and is mired in two wars.
Yet, Obama, who is enjoying high public approval and very low negative ratings, landed an unprecedent win Thursday, as the Senate agreed to free up the second half of the $700 billion bailout package. And the esteemed body voted 52-42 against a resolution that would have prohibited the president-elect from using the $350 billion left in the program.
Suggesting a shift in politics as usual, six Republican senators crossed party lines to vote for the release of the funds. Conversely, nine Democrats voted to keep Obama from using the remaining billions.
In a letter to senators, Larry Summers, Obama's economic adviser, sought to reassure that the Obama administration would be responsible with the funds.
"We completely agree that this program must promote the stability of the financial system and increase lending, preserve home ownership, promote jobs and economic recovery, safeguard taxpayer interests, and have the maximum degree of accountability and transparency possible. The incoming Obama administration has no intention of using any funds to implement an industrial policy."