(The Root) — Though we are just over a week into 2013, some are already calling this time period a defining one of the Obama presidential legacy. From his new approach to negotiating with the GOP to his efforts to fight for his children, we take a look at the president's boldest moves so far.
1. Wins the Fiscal-Cliff Negotiations
For any progressive unhappy with the outcome of the fiscal-cliff negotiations and therefore disputing the notion that the president won, here is proof that he did: No matter how unhappy any progressive may be with some aspect of the final result (such as the fact that those making between $250,000 and $400,000 did not see their taxes raised), there are many more conservatives who are unhappier still, among them Newt Gingrich and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who said, point-blank, the president won.
2. Goes to Bat for His Girls
Any adolescent boy looking to ask out Sasha and Malia anytime soon, be warned: The president is a very protective papa. The White House just sent a stern letter to a paparazzo who sold photos of Sasha and Malia Obama on their Hawaiian family holiday.
3. Nominates Sen. Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary
Very rarely do conservatives and gay Americans find themselves united in a high-profile political battle, but Hagel's nomination is one of those rare cases. The former Republican senator from Nebraska initially drew criticism for his comments in the '90s about a gay American nominated for a diplomatic post.
Though he has since apologized for the remark, there have been plenty of other ongoing criticisms of Hagel, the most impassioned of which appear to come from his own party. Many conservatives and pro-Israel groups have taken issue with his foreign policy record, including voting against sanctions against Iran while in the Senate. The president's response? He nominated him anyway.
4. Takes on the NRA — and Doesn't Back Down
Gun control has been the one issue that virtually no politician, Democrat or Republican (with the exception of shooting-tragedy survivor Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), has had the courage to seriously discuss, let alone tackle, in the last decade. That all changed after the Newtown, Conn., massacre. But the president did something extraordinary. Instead of just talking, he did something almost immediately, and something meaningful.
He appointed his vice president head of a task force on gun control and actually empowered him to solicit and propose meaningful solutions. Some of those proposals are said to go even further than some gun control advocates have been pushing for, including more-efficient background checks of gun buyers, more-diligent mental-health review and more-careful tracking of firearms. News that is sure to be a relief for many victims of gun violence, and sure to be a nightmare for the NRA.
5. Daring His Foes in the Debt-Ceiling Debate
Here's what the president had to say about the looming debt-ceiling debate: "I will not compromise over … whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up … If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic.
The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again." Sen. Graham has said that President Obama is signaling with a number of recent moves that he will have a more "in your face" second term. The president's debt-ceiling comments seem to indicate the senator may be right.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.