March 11, 2009 / 12:16 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Main developments of Obama's first 50 days

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama marked his 50th day in office on Tuesday with a speech about overhauling the U.S. education system.

Following are some of the main developments of the Obama presidency since he took over from Republican George W. Bush on January 20:

* Obama, a Democrat, was able to gain swift passage in the Democratic-controlled Congress of a $787 billion economic stimulus plan, signing the bill into law on February 17, less than a month after taking office. The aim is to create or save more than 3 million jobs.

* So far, his efforts to stop the bleeding in the U.S. economy have not had an impact on turning around the recession he inherited. The U.S. unemployment rate shot up to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since 1983, as the economy continued to hemorrhage jobs at a rate of more than 600,000 a month.

* The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen from about 8,000 points on January 20 to 6,866 points at midday on Tuesday, a day the stock market was on a rare surge.

* Largely fulfilling a campaign pledge, Obama has put in place a plan to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq in 18 months while drawing complaints from some Democrats for saying he will leave up to 50,000 combat troops there. He has ordered the deployment of 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan to bolster the military presence against a strengthened Taliban.

* Obama has signaled he wants to move early to follow through on his campaign promise to engage Iran. His administration has invited Tehran to participate in a conference on Afghanistan later this month.

* Obama and his economic team are preparing for his trip to attend the Group of 20 leading economies summit in London in early April. He is also planning a visit to Turkey to confer about Iran.

* The president proposed a huge $3.55 trillion budget that funds Democratic priorities and would generate a $1.17 trillion deficit for fiscal 2010, drawing fire from Republicans who voiced concern about rising deficits.

* Obama launched an effort to overhaul the costly U.S. healthcare system with a summit that drew bipartisan praise from its participants, with the goal of reaching an agreement this year.

* He has taken steps to advance his proposal to tackle global climate change, sketching out some estimated revenue the government could receive from requiring companies to adhere to emissions caps.

* Obama filled out his Cabinet with several mainstream establishment figures, such as Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Robert Gates as defense secretary and Lawrence Summers as chief White House economic adviser. But the administration has been criticized for its slowness in filling deputy and undersecretary positions at key agencies like the Treasury.

* Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner got past some tax problems to gain Senate confirmation, while Tom Daschle’s bid to become Health and Human Services secretary could not overcome tax issues. Republican Senator Judd Gregg withdrew from consideration as commerce secretary, citing political differences with the Democratic president.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Caren Bohan in Washington; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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