Obama faces host of election-year constraints

CHARLES BABINGTON Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Missile defense isn't the only area in which President Barack Obama will have "more flexibility" if he's re-elected.

Other issues that might invite bold initiatives by a second-term president include immigration, the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, gay marriage and tax policy.

Obama is postponing action on several difficult issues because of staunch opposition from Republicans, who are trying to oust him in November.

Presidents traditionally scale back their agenda in their fourth year, when re-election politics loom large.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton proposed school uniforms and midnight basketball programs after previously tackling much tougher issues such as welfare cuts, health care and tax increases.

Presidents face a tough choice.

President George W. Bush failed to revamp Social Security in 2005 after treating the topic gingerly in his 2004 re-election race.