WASHINGTON — Over and over, Barack Obama told voters if they stuck with him "we will change this country and change the world.” They did, and now their expectations for him to deliver are firmly planted on his shoulders.
Many supporters greeted his victory with euphoria. Impatient for a new era and overcome by a black man’s historic ascension to the White House, they took his achievement for their own.
But campaign rhetoric soon collides with the gritty duties of governing, and hard realities stand in Obama’s way.
Atop Obama’s challenge list is the global and domestic turmoil that he inherits. None of it is his own making, but it will shape his presidency before he lifts one finger.
The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Two wars in unstable lands. Other foreign hot spots such as Pakistan and Congo, nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran. A warming planet.
Then there are high health care and energy costs, sunken home values, wiped-out retirement and investment accounts.