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Frustrated by Congress, Obama discovers the power of small steps

Published on Feb 1, 2014 3:56 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama's sixth year in office is starting out as a testament to the power of taking small steps.

Frustrated by congressional gridlock, he has turned to the "pen and the phone" to provoke a "year of action" with a flurry of executive orders, directives, meetings and reviews to get his presidency back on track after the difficulties he encountered last year.

None of the steps he is taking are going to change the world and indeed, they may be best-remembered collectively as a declaration of Mr Obama's own relevance, an attempt to go over the heads of his Republican opponents in Congress and grab the attention of the people.

It is a strategy that Democratic President Bill Clinton used in his 1996 re-election campaign. Humbled by Republicans in 1994 congressional elections, Mr Clinton helped resurrect his presidency with similarly small steps like ordering the Education Department to issue school uniform guidelines to school districts.

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