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The 'Biggest Tests' Of Obama's Presidency

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PRESIDENT OBAMA
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WASHINGTON -- As Russia heightens its military activity in Ukraine, President Barack Obama's handling of the crisis is arguably "the biggest test of his presidency."

At least, that's what Politico Magazine had to say on Saturday, thus keeping alive the media's tradition of dubbing every major obstacle before Obama his "biggest" or "greatest" test. The use of the phrase has not been limited to foreign crises in Ukraine, Syria or Libya, but has also been bestowed upon domestic challenges such as the health care law and reducing the debt.

The Huffington Post compiled the other "biggest tests" of Obama's presidency, listed below in chronological order:

The financial crisis of 2007-08
Obama was confronted with his first "biggest test" before he even became president. The Daily Democrat wrote in 2008 that "Should Obama win … sorting out the economy is going to be the biggest test of Obama’s presidency." (Spoiler alert: He won.)

Mumbai terror attacks, November 2008
Days after terrorists attacked India's business capital Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008, the News Tribune observed that "Obama’s agenda abroad to build new alliances will likely end up being one of the biggest tests of his presidency."

Healing the Arab-Israeli rift, August 2009
The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl thought it was "Obama's biggest test."

How to proceed in Afghanistan, September 2009
"It's among the biggest tests of his presidency -- President Obama soon meeting with world leaders here in New York City," CNN's Wolf Blitzer declared.

Passage of Obamacare, March 2010
"President Obama is facing the biggest test of his presidency with a crucial vote in the U.S. Congress on his health care reforms."

Reducing America's debt, April 2010
The Financial Times ran the following headline just over a year into Obama's presidency: "America's Debt is Obama's Biggest Test"

Managing the BP oil spill, June 2010
The conservative Washington Times tore into Obama's response, noting that he "deserves his sinking approval ratings for exposing rank inexperience and poor leadership during the biggest test of his presidency (which is uncontestable)."

Firing Gen. Stanley McChrystal, June 2010
Along with the BP oil spill came the rare simultaneous "biggest test of [Obama's] presidency … surrounding the firing of his Afghanistan commander, General McChrystal, over a number of disrespectful remarks made about him and his national security team."

Withstanding the 2010 midterm elections
"President Barack Obama faces the biggest test of his presidency to date today, as voters from across the United States go to the polls in the midterm elections that will likely see his Democratic Party lose control of the House of Representatives."

Decision to invade Libya, March 2011
CNN's Piers Morgan opened his primetime broadcast with the perennial declaration: "Tonight, President Obama faces the biggest test of his presidency."

The debt ceiling standoff of 2011
Bob Woodword looked back at the previous year's debt ceiling standoff "as Obama faced perhaps the biggest test of his presidency."

The Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare, November 2011
"Obama will face one of the biggest tests of his presidency in the middle of next year's election campaign, after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to his landmark healthcare reforms."

The demise of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, December 2011
"How Obama handles it could prove the biggest test of his presidency."

Making a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline during the 2012 election
In a letter to Obama, green groups described the pipeline as "perhaps the biggest climate test you face between now and the election." (Obama is expected to make a decision on the pipeline this year.)

Obama's first visit to Israel, March 2013
"President Obama’s visit to Israel will be seen by many as the biggest test of his presidency. The issue of Palestine and Iran’s nuclear program are just too big to get wrong."

Winning approval from Congress for airstrikes in Syria, September 2013
"President Obama raced home on Friday to confront one of the biggest tests of his presidency as he ramped up a campaign to persuade Congress to support airstrikes against Syria that many world leaders he had consulted declined to back."

Fixing the Obamacare website, December 2013
NBC News declared that "President Obama is facing one of the biggest tests of his presidency as his administration revives Healthcare.gov."

Make-it-or-Break-It-Moments
The following were deemed serious enough to "make or break" Obama's presidency, but fell short of making it into the clearly exclusive "biggest test" club. A distant cousin, if you will.

Preparing his cabinet "could make or break [Obama's] presidency."

"Barack Obama’s approach to fiscal cliff could make or break his presidency."

According to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Obama's 2011 speech on jobs was a "make-it-or-break-it" moment.

Obama's push to expand background checks was a "make-or-break" week for his gun control agenda. This, in turn, led to what Politico declared the "greatest loss" of Obama's presidency.

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