The challenges ahead for Barack Obama are perhaps the largest facing any new president since FDR, Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post. He'll have sizable congressional majorities, but with a redrawn electoral map—including a number of formerly GOP states in his column—he'll have to wrestle immediately with the nature of his mandate: FDR-style government activism, or Bill Clinton-style centrism.
“My own hunch is that Obama is smart enough not to want to govern as a liberal,” says a former Bush administration official. "But he is going to have hydraulic pressure from the House and Senate to do that." And the New York Times wonders how aggressive the new president will be in confronting the daunting problems facing the country. “If you think you can delay the tough decisions and tiptoe past the graveyard, you’re in for a lot of trouble,” Leon Panetta, the head of his transition team tells the Times. “Make the decisions that involve pain and sacrifice up front.”