The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful.
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(Fox News) - The Wall Street Journal's Web site reports Obama had a history for voting "present" instead of "yes" or "no" as an Illinois state legislator — and lists some major issues on which Obama declined to take a side. Among them, votes on bills to prohibit partial birth abortions, lower the penalty for carrying concealed weapons,require prosecution for the firing of a gun at or near a school, protect a child that survived a failed abortion, protect the identity of sex-abuse victims, and prohibit strip clubs and similar establishments from being close to schools, churches, and daycares.
But in his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama writes that as a legislator in the minority party, "You must vote 'yes' or 'no' on whatever bill comes up, with the knowledge that it's unlikely to be a compromise that either you or your supporters consider fair and or just."