"The emerging issues in Syria and the broader Middle East, and then you have the question of what do you leave behind in Afghanistan when we continue to draw our troops out," says Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University.
Dagnes says the President's nomination of Senators Chuck Hagel and John Kerry are strategic, but Hagel's confirmation will be tougher than others.
"More so than working across the aisle, what Senator Hagel and Senator Kerry's nominations really prove is that President Obama is looking to experienced former colleagues from the Senate who have a history of policy making," says Dagnes.
United States Senator Joe Manchin says more tension will come next month for the President and Congress as discussion turns to raising the nation's borrowing limit.
"We've got to come to the plate and cut another $1.25-trillion over the next ten years, and we've got to do that within the next two months, or I have said if we can't do that responsibly there's no way that I can vote to raise the debt ceiling that we should go further in debt."
Dagnes says regardless of all the pressures facing the President, he will leave behind a legacy at the end of his presidency.
"He is such a sharp guy that he is able to put together a team that's going to help him navigate these really difficult waters and accomplish what it is he wants to accomplish."
The President will be sworn in on January 21st.