Suddenly, however, once confronted by the complexities of the presidency, Kennedy found that perhaps Eisenhower was not so out of it after all. The photograph of the two men, taken from the back (Ike is carrying his hat), shoulder to shoulder, embodies a truth that remains relevant now: for all the sound and fury of the arena, on big issues American presidents tend to have more in common with one another than one might at first think. There is a presidential character intrinsic to the office. Part of this is because what seemed black and white while you were running looks a lot grayer once ultimate power is yours, and part of it is that the country changes presidents more frequently than the country changes itself. We are a center-right nation politically and culturally, which means we value moderate governance—and we punish those who stray too far one way or the other.
Obama started backpedaling once he started receiving the Presidential Daily Briefings.