05/23/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Two Obamas: 'Half Intellectual Law-School Lecturer, Half Street-Smart Community Organizer'

President Barack Obama, by inclination and experience, has always been half intellectual law-school lecturer, half street-smart community organizer. In the long march toward passage of a historic health-care bill, it was the intellectual who started the journey; it was the community organizer who finished it off.

That's as good a way as any to summarize how Mr. Obama handled the first major, and perhaps defining, issue of his presidency. In the long and tortuous year of unfolding debate, two very different presidents could be seen, much as two different Candidates Obama could be seen during his presidential campaign. It seems highly likely these two different Mr. Obamas will continue to alternate places for the remainder of his term.

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