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Delegates' grade for Obama: B-plus, incomplete, 'only rhetoric'

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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

President Obama earlier this week gave himself a "B-plus" for his efforts so far as president and that grade is about right, said Tim Johnson, the senior member of South Dakota's congressional delegation.

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The state's other two delegates -- including Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin -- aren't so sure of the president's self-evaluation.

In remarks aired Sunday evening, Obama told talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he deserves a "B-plus," but stressed that there is still much to be done. When asked why he doesn't deserve a higher grade, the president said his administration has "inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt," upon which his staff is still working. " 'B-plus' because of things that are undone. Health care is not yet signed," he said. "If I get health care passed, we tip into A-minus," he told Winfrey. Rep. Herseth Sandlin, however, said Obama so far deserves an "incomplete."

"While we've made great progress in many areas, everyone acknowledges that we've got a lot of unfinished business as well," she told The Daily Republic in a written statement. "With two wars, tens of thousands of troops serving our interests overseas, an economy in recovery and other priorities at home, our work is clearly not done."

The congresswoman said she has been pleased to work with the president on various issues, such as economic recovery, the federal deficit, veterans issues and improving the safety and living conditions in parts of Indian Country.

"But there's more work to be done and I look forward to working with him on these and other priorities," she said.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Johnson, D-S.D., said many problems were handed to Obama from the George W. Bush administration.

"I think that with all he has been through, (a B-plus) is an appropriate grade," Johnson said.

"He inherited a mess. He inherited two wars, a declining economy ... and the recession, with (the Troubled Asset Relief Program) involved. He has dug himself out of this status by heroic efforts. I would say a 'B-plus' would be good."

Later Wednesday, The Daily Republic asked Thune his opinion on Obama's grade.

"I'm sure my daughters would like to have the president grade their tests at college. I think (a B-plus) is generous by any stretch," Thune said.

"We have to judge people and evaluate them by performance and not intentions. ... Look at his first year and ask yourself what really has been accomplished. I don't know that I necessarily want to attach a letter grade. You have to perform to achieve a decent grade. Most of what we have seen is rhetoric."

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