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Amanda J. Billings
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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

Historian impressed with Obama's
inspirational power

By Mercedes Rodriguez
331-4370 | mrodriguez@heraldt.com

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Renowned historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, on the 101st day of President Barack Obama’s administration, said she was most impressed with how much media attention the new president has garnered for himself in his tenure so far.

Renowned historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, on the 101st day of President Barack Obama’s administration, said she was most impressed with how much media attention the new president has garnered for himself in his tenure so far.

Goodwin was in Bloomington Thursday to speak at the Ivy Tech O’Bannon Institute for Community Service dinner. This year’s institute theme, centered around the president, is “A Historic Presidency: The First 100 Days.”

Before the event, the author of “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” took some time to speak with the press.

“Whether or not people agree with him, he certainly captured the attention of the country,” she said of Obama.

In terms of the scope of his presidency so far, Goodwin said the most amazing thing to notice has been president’s inspirational powers, that Obama may rank as “a rival with FDR as far as the kind of confidence he was able to inspire.”

Were the election-time comparisons drawn between Obama and Abraham Lincoln valid?

Goodwin says just as Lincoln put his political rivals in positions of power because they were more experienced or more powerful, so has Obama. This comparison, she said, is “just a prologue to a book that has yet to be written.”

Today’s O’Bannon Institute events will be as follows:

8:30 a.m.: Registration and continental breakfast, followed by welcoming remarks by former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon at 9 a.m.

9:40 a.m.: The first of three panel discussions. Facilitator Chuck Carney will host this discussion on health care.

11 a.m.: The second panel discussion focuses on foreign policy. Facilitator Ann Shea is a producer at WTIU and host of its “Weekly Special.”

1:15 p.m.: The final panel discussion deals with the economy. Facilitator Morton Marcus is an economist and director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center.

2:30 p.m.: A conversation with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson will be moderated by Herald-Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg.

Robinson recently won the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on Obama’s election. Institute events will take place on the Ivy Tech campus at 200 N. Daniels Way.