WASHINGTON (AP) — Six months ago, President Barack Obama stood on the steps of the United States Capitol and offered a soaring liberal vision for his second term.
But the intervening months have showcased the political limits of Obama's ambitions. The result has been an uneven and sometimes disjointed start to what could arguably be the most important year of his second term.
Legislative victories have been scarce.
The president's gun control measures were vanquished on Capitol Hill, prospects for a grand deficit reduction deal are slim, and an immigration overhaul faces an uncertain future. Domestic troubles and foreign policy crises have also thrown the White House off course and into a defensive crouch.
The president's top advisers insist they came into the year clear-eyed about the potential pitfalls, particularly on Capitol Hill.