The answer may depend on who you ask.
John Podesta, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, says Obama has made substantial progress in dealing with a host of dire circumstances handed to him by the previous administration.
“No one probably inherited a tougher hand in modern history than Barack Obama was - two wars, a crumbling economy - but I think he's made substantial progress along the way by stabilizing the economy and stopping us from sliding into a depression when we were in the midst of great recession,” Podesta said on CNN’s State of The Union with John King. “And he's beginning to move along on his signature reform activities particularly healthcare.”
But Andrew Card, the former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, says 2009 was the year Washington’s characteristic intransigence taught Obama a lesson.
“He has learned that lesson,” Card said. “[He] came with unbelievable expectations and he's not been able to live up to the expectations…[he] promised it wouldn't be politics as usual but it's turned out to be politics the same old messy, ugly, way.
Meanwhile, David Gergen, a former advisor to several Democratic and Republican presidents, says its been a mixed year for the new commander-in-chief.
“He hasn't changed the tone of Washington, if anything it's become harsher, more toxic, I think that's true.,” Gergen said. “But I would have to say that he has moved things farther than most recent presidents in his first year. “
“When you look at what he's done in the war front, on health care, on preventing the economy from going over a cliff, all of that you have to say he's made a consequential difference,” Gergen continued. “But whether it is taking us to the level we need in order to be as a competitive No. 1 nation, I think that question is still clearly up in the air.”