Washington, Feb 3: President Barack Obama signed eight executive orders in his first 11 days in office, making him by far the most activist new president in modern American history.
"I'm getting good at this," Obama joked to labor union leaders and members of Congress as he sat down to sign orders six, seven and eight on Friday.
Before Obama, the fastest to reach eight executive orders in modern times was President Kennedy, for whom No. 8 came on Feb 21, 32 days into his presidency - or nearly three times as long as it took Obama.
President Reagan signed his eighth order on Feb 24, President Carter signed his Feb 25, and both Presidents Clinton and George W Bush recorded their eighth on March 9.
Obama aides said the high number of orders was thanks to an organized transition and a series of promises the new president is determined to keep.
The authority for executive orders comes from the president's charge to take steps necessary to run the executive branch and see that laws are carried out.
Since George Washington assumed the presidency, 14,496 executive orders have been signed, with the majority being mundane housekeeping efforts.
"Every president wants to put his stamp on policy quickly, and theseunilateral orders are a visible and effective way of doing that," said Mayer, author of "With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power."