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Barack Obama: The Man and His Presidency at the Midterm

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2011

Fred I. Greenstein
Princeton University


The American president is not Aristotle's unmoved mover, but there have been episodes such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 in which it was up to the chief executive to take actions of incalculable importance. It should therefore be no surprise that there is intense interest in understanding the qualities that each new chief executive brings to his (or, at some point, her) responsibilities. In what follows, I attempt to provide insight into the qualities that Barack Obama brings to his presidency by reviewing his formative years, pre-presidential years, and presidency as of November 2010. I conclude by discussing his strengths and weaknesses in the realms of public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, policy vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence (Greenstein 2009a; Greenstein 2009b; see also Barnes 2010).

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2011

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