The first hundred days: Jonathan Alter on why early success matters for presidents

Unprecedential

Feb 4 2021 • 42 mins

While presidential terms last four years, the first hundred days define much of posterity’s judgment of presidents. Franklin Roosevelt marked the one hundredth day of his term with a reflection about creating the New Deal, much of which he had assembled and executed in that short period of time. Presidents since have viewed the hundred-day window as an opportunity to establish their political prowess and push signature policies.

Jonathan Alter, acclaimed presidential biographer and political historian whose most recent book, His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life is the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, joins Adam to discuss the first hundred days tradition and consider President Biden’s goals for this period. His other books, including The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, have examined the significance of presidents’ early accomplishments.

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