OK, so it wasn't health care, climate change or war. Still, President Barack Obama's high-profile failure to win the Olympics for Chicago could feed negative narratives already nipping at his heels — that he's a better talker than closer, more celebrity than statesman.
And this could hamper his efforts on the weightier issues.
Despite Obama's fabled charm and powers of persuasion, his in-person plea for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Games fell flat. It was a hugely embarrassing defeat. His adopted hometown — considered a front-runner heading into Friday's voting — didn't just lose, it took last place, shocking nearly all by getting knocked out in the first round while the remaining three contenders moved on.
The defeat could soon be a distant memory, and may never be more than a quixotic-blip trip. But if, for whatever reason, bigger losses start piling up in Obama's corner, his performance in this case could be regarded as emblematic.
President Barack Obama is confronting a split among his closest advisers on Afghanistan, reflecting divisions in his own party over whether to send in thousands more U.S. troops and complicating his efforts to adopt a war policy he can sell to a public grown weary of the 8-year-old conflict.
With top military commanders and congressional Republicans pushing for a troop increase, Obama pressed key members of his national security team Wednesday for their views during an intense, three-hour session in a packed White House Situation Room.
With much of his party largely opposed to expanding military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama could be forced into the awkward political position of turning to congressional Republicans for support if he follows the recommendations of the commanding U.S. general there.
Congressional Democrats have begun promoting a compromise package of additional resources for Afghanistan that would emphasize training for Afghan security forces but deny Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal the additional combat troops he has indicated he needs to regain the initiative against the Taliban insurgency. The emerging Democratic consensus is likely to constrain the president as he considers how best to proceed with an increasingly unpopular war.
One of President Barack Obama's health care "horror stories" is about a woman who, he says, lost her health insurance on the verge of breast cancer surgery because she didn't disclose a case of acne to the insurer. That's not what happened.
Robin Lynn Beaton, 59, of Waxahachie, Texas, indeed had her insurance suspended and then terminated when she needed it the most. Hers is a cautionary tale about how an insurance company can act in a seemingly arbitrary manner to revoke coverage for lifesaving treatment.
But not for the reasons Obama cites.
She "was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne," he said in one telling.
Increasingly, it is becoming clear that Barack Obama hasn't yet realized he is no longer a candidate for President and he will come to the stunning conclusion that he is, in fact, the President.
Maybe then he will start acting like a President and not a wannabe.
As Obama's stumbles and bumbles become business as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the mainstream media that once fawned over his every move is now frowning at his many missteps.
Richard Cohen of The Washington Post is the latest to face the reality of Obama's failings.
Candidate Barack Obama promised to eliminate the imperial Presidency of George W. Bush but President Obama has become an extension of the expanding power of the executive branch. He is trapped not only by a Presidency he did not create but also by one he cannot control and now uses to his political advantage.
Bush reinterpreted laws with widespread use of "signing statements." Obama ordered federal workers to ignore Bush's signing statements and then started issuing his own. His first signing statement give him the right to bypass provisions and limitations of a $410 government spending bill he signed into law.
President Barack Obama may not be able to meet his stated goal of closing the much-criticized Guantanamo Bay prison by January as his administration runs into daunting legal and logistical hurdles to moving the more than 220 detainees still there.
Senior administration officials acknowledged for the first time Friday that difficulties in completing the lengthy review of detainee files and resolving other thorny questions mean the president's promised January deadline may slip.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had cancer surgery earlier this year, made a quick return to work Friday after feeling ill at the office and spending the night in a Washington hospital as a precaution.
The 76-year-old justice was released from Washington Hospital Center in the morning and was at her desk by early afternoon, the court said.
Ginsburg became lightheaded in her office Thursday afternoon after receiving treatment for anemia. Although she was found to be stable after an examination, the court said she was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Ginsburg underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in February followed by a round of chemotherapy.
A common side effect of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is anemia.
President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain declared Friday that the revelation of a previously secret Iranian nuclear facility puts heavy new pressure on Tehran to quickly disclose all its nuclear efforts — including any moves toward weapons development — "or be held accountable."
A defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retorted that his nation was keeping nothing from international inspectors and needn't "inform Mr. Obama's administration of every facility that we have."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Iran has until December to comply or face new sanctions. Before that, on Oct. 1, the Iranians are to meet with the U.S. and five other major powers to discuss a range of issues including Iran's nuclear program.
President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain will accuse Iran on Friday of building a secret facility to produce nuclear fuel, The New York Times reported.
Senior administration officials told the Times that the three leaders would make the announcement in Pittsburgh before the opening of the G-20 economic summit. Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will demand Tehran open the covert facility up to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran has kept the facility, 100 miles southwest of Tehran, hidden from international weapons inspectors for years, but the U.S. has long known of its existence, the Times said.
Obama decided to go public with the revelation after Iran learned that Western intelligence agencies were aware of the project.
Officials told the Times that the plant could be in operation by next year.