First 100 days are hard. Just ask Bill Clinton.
The 42nd president entered office without a popular mandate after winning just 43% of the vote in a three-way race with President George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. He enjoyed a Democratic House and Senate, but soon found himself stymied by internal divisions and Republican opposition. He was slow to fill out his administration while his top aides argued over how best to right the ship.
When Bill Clinton hit the 100-day marker that the press has used to judge presidents since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the reviews were brutal. His own budget director, Leon Panetta, warned he must do “a better job of picking and choosing the battles he wants to go through.”
All of this might sound familiar to President Donald Trump, who has struggled with many of the same problems in his first 100 days.
“This is the worst, least successful, first 100 days since it became a concept in 1933,” Jonathan Alter, an MSNBC analyst and author of “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope,” said.
In evaluating Trump’s presidency and how it’s fared in relation to other new administrations, NBC News spoke to historians, activists, policy wonks, and former White House officials from both parties. Some, like Alter, raised Clinton’s early struggles…
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