Obama set for low-key anniversary

President Barack Obama takes the oath of office January 20, 2009.
President Barack Obama takes the oath of office January 20, 2009.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) - President Obama is about to celebrate a milestone. It was one year ago Wednesday that he took the oath of office. He's still trying to save the economy, fighting two wars and painfully close to getting a health care reform bill.

The White House is low-key about this anniversary saying it's not planning any parties. On the last day of his first year as president, Barack Obama was talking education in Falls Church, Virginia.

An average day and a striking contrast to where he stood on January 20th, 2009. On day one his approval ratings were sixty-eight percent. Today, they have fallen to fifty percent.

"He was up on the mountain - but now he's become a typical president where people are complaining about him, said Darrell West of the Brookings Institution.

The President has spent much of this year on the defensive.

Last summer's tea party protests are threatening to become a voter revolt in this fall's congressional mid-term elections.

The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows forty-six percent of Americans think the President's health care reform is a bad idea. Thirty-three percent support it.

The economy didn't collapse, but unemployment is still at ten percent. Uncle Sam saved the U.S. auto industry but small businesses are still struggling.

The President inherited two wars.

He won a Nobel Peace Prize and the nation survived a near terror attack on Christmas day.

On the eve of Martin Luther King day the President talked about reality and expectations that followed him into office. "Sometimes I get a little frustrated when folks just don't want to see that even if we don't get everything, we're getting something," Mr. Obama said.

One year and a lot has changed for President Obama, but clearly not as much as he had hoped.

His first-year approval rating is low compared to other modern presidents. Then again, he's tied with Ronald Reagan.