5 Things Obama Has Done Right (or Better Than You Thought) ...and 5 failures bigger than you realize By Harry Kimball, Newser Staff Posted Dec 28, 2009 12:13 PM CST 32 comments Comments President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo) (Newser) – Obama clearly ran a successful campaign—but what kind of a job did he do running the country in his first year at the helm? While the president "has not been overmatched, he has not yet mastered the role either," Mark Halperin writes in Time. Some things he's done better than you realize: Use Congress: The Obama White House understands the "egos and rhythms of legislators hungry to put their own stamp on every measure," and have parlayed that knowledge into legislative successes. Avoid scandal: It might seem like cold comfort, but the Obama administration has steered clear of the "truly weighty controversies—no major confirmation battles, no staff indictments, no crippling malfeasance." Some things he's done poorly: Manage his public image: Obama's ratings aren't in the dumps yet, but his "image-makers have not been deft enough in finding a happy medium that allows Obama to be Obama, while neutralizing some of the more poisonous, potentially indelible storylines." Create stars: Obama "needs to put forth trusted, recognizable, and authoritative voices" on important issues. He's got the talent on his team, but needs to push aides into the spotlight "in time for the inevitable crises of Year Two." For more of the list and analysis, click here.