Mr David Axelrod is keeping his mustache. Barack Obama campaign adviser had bet his most characteristic feature on a TV show if his boss lost the states of Minnesota, Michigan or Pennsylvania. But he won.
Mr Obama was reelected for a second mandate on Tuesday in a nerve-wrecking, extremely tight and also the most expensive elections in U.S. history: both sides have cumulatively spent a record $2.6 billion. Plus, hundreds of millions more raised and spent by Political Action Committees (Super PACs).
And yet this race to the White House–everyone agrees–has not remotely been as exciting as 2008’s. Some even call it the most boring ever.
There are many challenges that inevitably will greet the President after the swearing-in ceremony. Job one will be improving the economy, including finding a solution for the fiscal cliff, $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that are set to be automatically triggered at the end of the year unless a deal is reached between Congress and the White House. This and the slugglish job creation will be the President’s most pressing domestic problems.
By the way, White House officials said recently that Obama would veto any fiscal cliff package if it does not include an increase in tax rates for top earners.
… and abroad
The President faces serious tasks in foreign policy such as the Iran nuclear issue. Will he be able to push Tehran to the bargaining table and strike a deal?, analysts wonder. Will he continue his drone campaign? He has already authorized 283 strikes in Pakistan, six times more than President George W. Bush’s in eight years in office.
As for Syria, Mr Obama needs to decide how much support will the U.S. give to the rebels. Also, following the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya Washington has been forced to more aggressively intervene in Mali.
China has been one of the hot issues in the campaign. Both candidates promised to “get tough” on China, although both made sure to call Beijing a partner, not only an adversary. There is too much debt, investment and trade on stake. However, Mr Obama has said he would bring more jobs back to America by reforming the tax code to make outsourcing less financially attractive for U.S. companies.