As Obama checks off list of goals met, a nervous nation dwells on terror

In private meetings a year ago, Mr. Obama vowed to wring every ounce of progress out of his remaining tenure and admonished his staff not to be discouraged by Republican congressional victories. His success in the past 12 months, both overseas and at home, defied expectations that gridlock in Washington and the presidential campaign would derail his plans.

But few seem to have noticed. The president’s overall job rating has hardly budged in the last year, the Pew survey found. The president’s job approval is at 46 percent even as Mr. Obama has claimed progress on economic and domestic issues, which the public now rates as less important…

The president and his aides have long been frustrated by a political and media environment that they view as too focused on trivial, short-term matters. One senior White House official said Mr. Obama and his aides had reached “the acceptance phase,” recognizing that even significant accomplishments were unlikely to break through. But White House officials said the president remained focused on chipping away at his priority list in the next year.

Mr. Daley said the president had “a hard time emoting” about the terror threat because he tried to avoid the kind of bellicose rhetoric coming from the Republican presidential candidates.