Obama seemed poised to realign American politics after his stunning 2008 victory. But the economy remains worse than even the administration's worst-case scenarios, and the long legislative battles over health care reform, financial services reform and the national debt and deficit have taken their toll. Obama no longer looks invincible.
No doubt, the White House thinks the American people know Obama's story. But since the Inauguration, we've seen only the president's present: his perfect family, his Ivy League elegance, his effortless mastery of complex issues. We never see him sweat. And we forget that he ever had to struggle.
When I joined Bill Clinton's start-up presidential campaign in 1991, I was confident that women would play an ever more important role, but I never gave a minute's thought to what would happen if we won. When we did - and I became the first woman to serve as White House press secretary - it changed my life. But it didn't change the world.
I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn't. Hey, it made me a better leader: you have to take a lot of people's needs into account; you have to look down the road. Trying to negotiate getting a couple of kids to watch the same TV show requires serious diplomacy.