What’s with the change in President Obama’s behavior lately? His first few years in office included some bold moves like introducing health care reform during an economic crisis. Now he is showing more caution and balance. Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan while announcing a withdrawal date. He wants to simplify the tax code, but proposed loopholes that add complexity. He promoted oil exploration, but blocked the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport it. This cautious, incremental side is not a new element of Obama’s behavior. It has served him well in foreign policy, but how will it do for him domestically should he win re-election? In December, he would face: the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, another debt-ceiling fight, and the beginning of mandatory spending cuts. Does he have the conviction and aggressive drive needed to get through these challenges?

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