High on Obama's list would be vetoing any attempts to gut his signature health care law. At the same time, executive orders, which don't require congressional sign-off, might offer Obama his best chance to put his stamp on something history will remember.
After all, Americans don't visit presidential libraries to see a deficit-reduction bill under glass. They go to remember the big, sweeping acts that define an American generation. Think Mars exploration, a major climate initiative or a war on cancer, said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University.
"President Obama will need to put his stamp on something large," Brinkley said. "Our country is dying for something that unites us."
Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.