Three and a half years ago, Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the United States of America on a frigid January morning in Washington. He was basking in adoration: Americans were giddy with the promise of epochal change. Expectations set by the young president’s messianic campaign had by then gone stratospheric. In the years since, for many Americans, a sobering realisation has dawned. The man they had so enthusiastically elected to the highest office in the land was, after all, just a man and not the harbinger of miracles they had expected.
Obama’s approval ratings have dropped, his fan base has dwindled and he is in a bruising battle for his political life against Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, in the November election. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts who once led a private equity firm, has made his business experience the centrepiece of his campaign and says that as president he would be better at restoring jobs to America’s tepid economy.