In some respects, Barack Obama's second year in office was full of victories. The President signed his landmark health care overhaul and financial-regulatory-reform bill into law, fulfilling two of his biggest campaign promises. During his second Oval Office address, in August, Obama delivered on another promise, marking the end of combat operations in Iraq. At the same time, Obama elevated the nation's troop presence in Afghanistan to its highest point in a war that many observers increasingly believe is unwinnable. And while the President did indeed stabilize the economy the biggest challenge Obama faced when he entered the White House it has yet to pay many dividends for the jobless, as the U.S.'s unemployment rate still hovers around 10%. Most troubling of all for Obama, the Democrats' sizable losses in the midterm elections (including relinquishing control of the House to the Republicans) were viewed by many as a strong rebuke not just of the White House's ambitious policy agenda but also of the President's aloof governing style and lack of connection with everyday Americans.
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