In his speech at West Point on Dec. 1, Obama laid out his plan for an initial increase of some 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. The end of the speech was "a firm assertion of America's unique role in the world," says Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Obama speaks during a town hall meeting on health care in Shaker Heights, Ohio, on Thursday. Findings from a recent NPR poll indicate that about half of Americans are now onboard with Obama's health care plan. Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP