For President Obama, 2013 will go down as a year of self-inflicted wounds, wasted political capital and missed opportunities that imperiled his second-term agenda and fundamentally changed how many Americans view his administration.
Any political boost from his resounding re-election victory swiftly disappeared under the weight of Washington gridlock. A series of White House missteps followed, diminishing his credibility and raising questions about his ability to reinvigorate his presidency.
The president started the year on the defensive and has yet to find his forward-leaning stride.
Just when Obama thought he had put to rest questions about Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups and about the Justice Department monitoring reporters, new cries of executive overreach emerged with disclosures about National Security Agency surveillance programs.
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