January 30, 2009 / 6:12 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Obama White House tightly manages message

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama has tightly managed the White House message during his first days in office, staging media events that portray him as a leader taking the country in a new direction who keeps his promises.

He traveled to the State Department with fanfare to participate name special diplomatic envoys for the Mideast peace process and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, encouraging the perception he favors diplomacy over military power.

By contrast, his trip to the Pentagon this week was not carried live on television. And while he emphasizes diplomacy, Obama’s pronouncements on some international issues have sounded strikingly like those of former President George W. Bush.

Here are some of the themes Obama has been pushing:

* Monday - Obama took a sharp change of direction from the Bush administration by reversing some of the outgoing president’s climate policies at a morning event at the White House, a move which appealed to his environmentalist backers.

* Tuesday - Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to urge Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate to back his more than $800 billion spending bill to lift the economy out of recession. House Republicans praised the president for the visit but complained that congressional Democrats had excluded them from the legislative process and the next day voted against the measure. However, the visit showed Obama trying to fulfill a campaign promise to bridge the bipartisan divide in Washington.

* Wednesday - Obama staged a White House event with corporate executives who support his economic stimulus plan. The ailing economy was the day’s main focus, but Obama paid a low-key visit to the Pentagon for his first meeting with the full Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top U.S. military leaders. He said later that difficult decisions had to be made soon about Iraq and Afghanistan. Cameras caught Obama shaking hands with rows of enlisted troops and thanking them for their service.

* Thursday - Obama delivered for his labor and women’s rights supporters, signing a measure into law that made it easier to sue for pay discrimination. The law overturned a Supreme Court ruling that imposed a strict time limit of such lawsuits. The measure was signed in the White House East Room and broadcast live. Obama later used an Oval Office meeting with his Treasury secretary to promise a more comprehensive plan to boost the economy, even as he criticized corporate executives for taking huge bonuses during a financial crisis.

* Friday - Obama used bad economic news to press the U.S. Senate to move forward on his more than $800 billion stimulus bill passed by the House. His remarks were carried live from the White House at an event discussing a task force on middle class families. He also used the event to sign executive orders reversing some Bush-era decisions seen as anti-union, pleasing another key constituency.

Writing by David Alexander, editing by Patricia Zengerle and Alan Elsner

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