Opinion (Susan Page): After Bush leaves
The 44th president will move into the Oval Office with an agenda defined in large part by the 43rd president.
In many ways, it will be George W. Bush's third term.
Among pressing issues left on the table: What's next in Iraq. How to restore America's reputation around the world. Whether to extend tax cuts that expire in 2010. What to do about Medicare's looming shortfall. And how to complete the job of helping the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Katrina.
No new president gets a clean slate - global politics and the economy don't run in neat four-year cycles - but presidential scholars say the unfinished business Bush will leave for his successor is unprecedented since at least World War II.
"I can't think of a single modern president about to bequeath to his successor such a difficult agenda and such a damaged presidency," says Paul Light of New York University.
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