Obama's Washington

Obama's Washington

BBC/Wamu poster

Barack Obama takes office on January 20th with a full in-box, and a great deal of expectation.

What will Obama's Washington look and feel like? Will Obama's presidency live up to the pre-election hype?

On Saturday 10th of January, BBC World Service and Washington's National Public Radio station, WAMU 88.5 hosted a live debate in Washington DC.

The BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones and Kojo Nnamdi from WAMU 88.5 chaired the debate, which was held at the American University's Washington College of Law.

Listen Listen to the debate here (54 mins)

They were joined by five panellists:

  • Susan Eisenhower is President of the Eisenhower Group, Inc, which provides strategic counsel on political, business and public affairs projects. A life long republican, she left the party in 2008 declaring herself an independent and later endorsing Barack Obama.
  • Grover Norquist is the president and founder of the anti-tax lobbying group "Americans for Tax Reform". Norquist formed the organization in 1985 on the request of President Reagan. In addition to heading Americans for Tax Reform, Mr Norquist is currently on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union.
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 as Democratic Congresswoman for the District of Columbia. She sits on the Homeland Security, Transport and Infrastructure and Oversight and Government Reform Committees. A civil rights activist in the 1960s, she was the first woman to chair the federal Equal Opportunities Commission.
  • Richard Perle is widely considered a core representative of the neo-conservative political faction; he played a central role in championing the war in Iraq. He was chair of the Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee from 2001-2003. He is currently a resident fellow at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
  • Lawrence Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. a liberal policy think-tank that seeks to advance the interests of American workers. A nationally recognized economist, Mr Mishel is frequently called on to testify and provide economic briefings to members of Congress. He supports Obama's economic rescue plan but says the new president needs to go further in restoring pay equity in the USA.
First broadcast 10 January 2009