Obama legacy: Scandal-free, transformative presidency, lawmaker says

Feb 06, 2017


Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter speaks to Mass Communications students. (Panther photo)

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter speaks to mass communications students. (Panther photo)

President Barack Obama changed the image of America for the better, a top Democratic state representative says.

Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg, a member of the Democratic National Committee and chair of its Southern Caucus, met with Claflin mass communications students to break down the good, bad and ugly of Obama’s presidency.

“The Obamas were refreshing,” Cobb-Hunter said. “I credit them for being scandal-free for the last eight years.”

“He will go down as a transformative president,” Cobb-Hunter said. “His legacy will be an accomplishment despite people who didn’t think he could do it.”

Abroad, Obama got us out of wars. At home, he helped decrease the cost of student loans, Cobb-Hunter said in citing some of Obama’s accomplishments.

During his first term, Obama began fixing things his predecessors did not, such as saving the U.S. auto industry and helping many troops return home. He was even able to get Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“He inherited a tanking economy,” Cobb-Hunter said. “We had two wars and a prescription drug plan that had not been paid for yet,”

Cobb-Hunter said.

 “He reduced the debt, saved General Motors, passed the Affordable Care Act and for 75 months straight the unemployment rate has been better than it had ever been in years.

“And what stood out to me the most is that he had an appreciation for global reality. He understood that there is more to the world than just America.”

The “ugly” for the Obama presidency began on the day he was sworn in, Cobb-Hunter said.

“(Republican) congressmen got together to make plans against the president. They didn’t want to give him a chance,” Cobb-Hunter said. “But the tone of politics is ugly. Politics is not for the people anymore, it’s for the party.”

The opposition was “determined to make Obama a one-term president,” Cobb-Hunter said. And race was a factor.

Many people found it hard to accept the fact that a man of color held the highest position in the country, Cobb-Hunter said.

Consider that the new president, Donald Trump, refuses to show his taxes, but Obama was forced to show his birth certificate, she said.

Yet Obama made mistakes, Cobb-Hunter said.

“He wasted way too much time trying to get people to work together,” Cobb-Hunter said. “It wasn’t until the end of his first term that he realized he was wasting time trying to get everyone to get along.”

Cobb-Hunter said she is fearful of the next four years, urging students not to tune out the system. Get involved and make a difference the best way you can, she urged.

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