US President Barack Obama plans to deliver the annual State of the Union address next week, when he will review the condition of the country and map out his vision for the coming year.
The address comes at the end of his historic first year in office as the nation's first African-American president, during which his major accomplishment was pushing health insurance reform further than any other president in decades.
Nonetheless, many of his goals remained unfulfilled. He failed to close the controversial military prison on Guantanamo, handicapped by a complex set of legal and diplomatic problems.
He has pushed more military power into Afghanistan, with the intention of setting a firm timeline for gradual US withdrawal.
His fragile Democratic super majority of 60 in the Senate, which he needs to push through health and financial reforms and other programmes, also hangs by a thread with elections Tuesday of a successor to the late Democratic senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.
In an about-face for the normally left-leaning state, opinion polls suggest it is too close to call between Democrat Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, and conservative Republican Scott Brown, a state senator who has tapped into deep public doubts over Obama's failure to bring down high unemployment despite the $787-billion stimulus boost and Obama's health insurance reform.