From the NY Times:
WASHINGTON — For years, Bill Clinton tried to negotiate an arms control treaty for the post-cold-war era. He and Boris Yeltsin even agreed on a framework for a new Start treaty in Helsinki. But it never came to be. So when President Obama flies to Prague this week to sign a New Start treaty with Russia, it will culminate Mr. Clinton’s unfulfilled aspiration.
Nine years after Mr. Clinton left office, Mr. Obama has in some ways picked up his Democratic predecessor’s mantle. While they are very different presidents and not personally close, at least some of the unfinished agenda items left from the Clinton administration have found their way to the top of the Obama priority list. And the 44th president is arguably profiting from the work, and the setbacks, of the 42nd president.
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The treaty to be signed this week and the health care overhaul signed into law last month represent the most obvious examples. But Mr. Obama also pushed through an economic stimulus package last year, which Mr. Clinton tried unsuccessfully to do in his first year. Mr. Obama has drawn bipartisan support for lifting the ban on gay men and lesbians’ serving openly in the military, an idea that backfired on Mr. Clinton. And where Mr. Clinton never submitted the Kyoto treaty to a hostile Senate, Mr. Obama is pushing forward with climate change legislation that has a shot at passing.
Other presidents have built on the policy agendas of predecessors. George W. Bush fashioned his presidency as an extension of Ronald Reagan’s, especially in cutting taxes. And Franklin D. Roosevelt completed the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, particularly in building a lasting international organization with American participation.