Barack Obama’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year got off to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad start.

There he was, on New Year’s Day, on vacation with his family in Hawaii, stuck on a secure phone with counterterrorism officials, trying to figure out what screw-ups had allowed a would-be terrorist to board a Christmas Day flight with explosives in his underwear.

Things only got worse for Obama when he returned to Washington in between a pair of epic winter storms.

From the start, 2010 delivered a string of setbacks that built up to an electoral shellacking come November, to use the president’s own word.

No matter that the recession was officially over. That sweeping health care changes at last had been enacted. That combat operations in Iraq ended. That General Motors was making money and hiring again. That banks paid back most of the billions they’d borrowed from the government.

“This is what change looks like,” Obama said proudly, after the health care law passed.

But. The economic recovery was too slow. The oil gushed for too long. The health care law was too complicated. The unemployment rate too high. The political discourse too raw. The tea party too loud.

Americans were in a foul mood, and Democrats got the blame.

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