A bigger challenge awaits Obama on re-election
Washington: Barack Obama's triumph in the US presidential elections has offered him a big opportunity as, USA Today said, after being stymied for the last two years the "president has a chance to reach deals with (the) Republicans".
In 2008, Obama made history by becoming the first African American to win the presidency and registering the largest margin of victory in 20 years.
"Obama's narrower win Tuesday is also historic, but for less impressive reasons. He is the first president since World War II to be returned to office by a smaller margin than his original win.
"And he won despite the highest unemployment rate on the eve of an election in 64 years of Labor Department estimates: 7.9 percent.
"A second term gives Obama an opportunity to separate himself from one-termers such as Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, and go down as the type of president whose name is etched onto buildings," USA Today said in its editorial "Obama wins big victory, bigger challenge".
This, however, "is merely an opportunity, hardly a guarantee since the recent history of second terms has been one of scandal or failure".
"Obama goes in having already achieved what others, ranging from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, failed at: enacting universal health insurance legislation.
The editorial said in Obama's second term, "this new law, which has been so reviled in some quarters, will go into full effect and Americans will judge it for themselves."
The daily said it anticipates that "the opposition will fade with time as the benefits become more apparent, although cost-control will remain a challenge."
It said, in Obama's second term too, "the economy will likely improve, if for no other reason than it has had more time to heal from the Great Recession.
"Though control of Congress will remain unchanged, an improving economy could change the dynamic of Washington, pushing up approval ratings of both parties and forcing them to find other things to do besides blaming each other."
It said "all appearances to the contrary, Obama and Republicans, who retained their House majority Tuesday, are actually growing more dependent on each other.
"They are both mindful of the ticking time bomb that they created with automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to occur at year's end.
"Both realise that allowing this "fiscal cliff" to go into effect would benefit neither party. And both stand to gain from a bipartisan deal to prevent this, while also slashing trillions of dollars from projected deficits."
According to the daily, for the re-elected Obama "such a deal is a must, as he understands that his legacy will take a hit if he drowns future generations in debt."
"Obama came in with unrealistically lofty expectations in 2008, and he failed in his aim to bring about a post-partisan era in Washington.
"His re-election, in a nation that remains sharply polarised, might be the cause for unduly low expectations now, said the daily.
"But, if Obama and congressional Republicans are willing to compromise, there's reason to hope this election will be a catalyst for positive change," it added.