A Look at Obama's First 100 Days

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Wednesday marks President Obama's 100th day in office and traditionally the benchmark is used as a gauge on a president's early performance.

There's been a lot written so far about Obama's work overall and the economy has captured most of the headlines. But what about his record on certain social issues?

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody followed by Pat Robertson's comments on President Obama's policies.

As President Obama goes under the "100 days" microscope, conservative evangelicals may feel it's more like spending 40 years wandering in the political wilderness.

As a candidate, he shared about his faith, embraced certain evangelical leaders and talked about reducing abortions. It sounded promising, and many evangelicals responded at the polls.

Winning Over Conservatives

But is Obama meeting the expectations of conservatives? It depends who you ask.

"By and large I have not been very encouraged by our president's first 100 days in regards to pro-life issues, in regards to sensitivity to the evangelical community," said Frank Page, leader of Taylors Baptist Church.

Page is one of the few conservative evangelicals on the president's Faith Council.  He knew Obama was pro-choice, but says the actions coming out of the White House so far have left him wondering.

"I have not been surprised by anything our president has done, but I have been surprised at the rapidity with which he has done what he has done," Page added. [The] removal of what few protections there are for example regarding innocent unborn babies-- this has happened quickly."

Some might say very quickly once they look at actions President Obama has taken so far:

-- First, the reversal of the Mexico City policy, allowing U.S. taxpayer money to go to groups who promote abortion methods overseas.

-- Additional embryonic stem cell research is now allowed.

-- A likely change of the abortion conscience clause could greatly affect Christian medical professionals.

-- Kathleen Sebelius is set to head up the nation's health department. Pro-lifers believe she's one of the most pro-abortion governors in the country.

Too Much, Too Soon?

The White House says the issues aren't so clear cut, but for many pro-lifers it's been so much so fast. Even a key evangelical who backed the Obama campaign had concerns.

Professor David Gushee reached his tipping point a month ago and expressed it in USA Today writing, "President Obama we need more than lip service on these crucial issues."

"I was beginning to be concerned that a pattern was emerging in which the president was not fulfilling his promises to go for common ground on the cultural issues," he said.

That led to a phone call from the White House promising to move on the issue of reducing abortions. Serious discussion has now begun.

"Since that time I've been invited to participate in the development of an abortion reduction initiative," Gushee said.

Many Catholics Not Impressed

That plan can't come soon enough for some in the Catholic community.

Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Weekly writes, "Catholics who voted for Bush in 2004 but for Obama in 2008, in large part because he spoke differently about life issues from the way previous liberal Democrats addressed life issues, are beginning to worry that they were had."

Polls show Obama's approval rating has dipped somewhat among Catholics. It's a complicated relationship because while abortion is important to the group, so are other broader issues that they find Obama appealing to.

Younger Evangelicals Weigh In

That brings us to younger evangelicals. Obama made significant gains with this group during the election. Many struggled with voting for a pro-choice president. Do they regret it today?

The White House still believes they have a winning hand with the younger faith crowd because their priorities appear broader than abortion and gay marriage.

"They genuinely believe that his stands on issues like climate and tax policy and international relations were morally better, better reflective Christian values," Gushee explained. "And so it was a Christian vote for him in that sense."

Being Sensitive on Serious Issues

White House officials recognize many of their moves, especially on abortion, will not be favorably received by conservatives in the faith community, but they are quick to point out that they've tried to be as sensitive as possible in these first 100 days.

For example, those close to the White House say the administration chose not to reverse the Mexico City abortion policy on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in an effort to not offend pro-life groups. Instead, the policy change took place the next day.

Sources also say rules on embryonic stem cell research and the abortion conscience clause could have gone further.  Melody Barnes, a top official at the White House told CBN News the president's Faith Council is another step in the right direction.

"I think that sends a strong signal that he is committed to working with and talking to people who may have views different from his own and again looking for those areas of common ground," she said.

Some Conservatives Impressed

Pastor Joel Hunter, one of the other conservative evangelical leaders on President Obama's Faith Council, believes Obama is doing just fine so far.

"I am neither disappointed nor surprised with the first 100 days of President Obama's Administration. He is simply fulfilling the promises he made during his campaign," Hunter told CBN News. "Do I agree with all of them? No! But do I think he is displaying wisdom and balance in his approach to the moral and controversial issues? Yes!"

Hunter went on to say that as someone who "is completely pro-life," he's encouraged by President Obama's vision "for empowering those marginalized with the resources they need to become responsible citizens."

"I am also encouraged by how he truly is listening to many perspectives and trying to draw out the best and most practical solutions," Hunter added. "I know he is listening very attentively to faith leaders and is depending on the faith communities to do our part in making this a better country and world. We have a long way to go. I am hoping that we all will more closely resemble Jesus in the years to come."

Remaining Cautiously Optimistic

Pastor Frank Page doesn't know if common ground will ever be found. He remains cautiously optimistic and says God has put him on the president's council for a reason.

"I approach this with prayer, with council from godly friends and did so because of a calling from God," he said. "I'm the kind of person that would have said no if God had told me to say no. I would have said no quickly and will resign immediately as soon as the Holy Spirit says that's enough."

It's been a little too much for conservative evangelicals so far but Page won't give up the fight.

"I desperately, every chance I get ask people to please pray for me that I would have wisdom and discernment to speak what I need to speak and to be quiet when I need to be quiet," he began, "but to present a Christ-like influence on that council to say what Ephesians 4:15 says to speak the truth in love and that's what I want to do."

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.