WASHINGTON - Four years ago, President Barack Obama and his staff spent the first day in the White House learning the basics. Not just the basics of governing, but also figuring out how to get cleared into their offices by the Secret Service, log on to their computers and find keys to unlock office drawers.
They solved those problems long ago. Also in the rearview mirror are the recession, the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
But plenty of fresh challenges lie ahead as the president begins the first working day of his second term.
Obama will quickly confront three fiscal deadlines that demand co-operation with Congress, including raising the debt ceiling. And the deaths of three Americans in Algeria have renewed fears about terrorism in North Africa.