The Deficit: At about $300 billion a year, the gap between the government's revenues and its spending threatens Clinton's ability to fund the new programs he seeks. But major increases in taxes or cuts in existing programs would be sure to spark a huge political fight. Can Clinton afford to take the issue on? Can he afford not to?
The Economy: Clinton campaigned on the pledge that he could bring the economy back to health. But even he acknowledges that the programs he has proposed--increased worker training, for example, or new investments in infrastructure--will take years to have their full effect. Can he persuade Americans to, as he says, "pay the price of time?"
Health Care: Controlling costs while increasing access and maintaining quality poses a problem of mind-boggling complexity. Already, some say Clinton should scale back his goals. But if he retreats here, what campaign promise will be safe?
Political Reform: Even before Ross Perot focused on the issue, voters had lost patience with business as usual in Washington. But if he pushes for limits on campaign contributions, for example, will Clinton alienate members of Congress whose support he will need elsewhere?
National Service: No campaign pledge brought as much applause as his plan to allow college students to repay loans through reduced-pay public service jobs. But in this age of tight budgets, can Clinton find enough money to make the program more than a small-scale token?
The Balkans: As the former Yugoslavia continues to fall apart in bloody civil war, Clinton's advisers disagree about what the United States should do. Some advocate lifting a U.N. arms embargo and allowing weapons to reach Bosnian Muslims seeking to defend themselves against Serbian attacks. Others say such a move would only worsen the war. Another concern: The fighting could spread further, dragging other countries into a full-scale war.
Iraq: President Bush's policy so far shows no sign of dislodging Saddam Hussein and has not forced full compliance with U.N. resolutions. If Hussein makes peace overtures, should Clinton follow up on them? Or should he take a tougher tack aimed at overthrowing the Iraqi leader?
Somalia: Clinton has doubted the Bush Administration's rosy predictions of a quick retreat from the Somali conflict. Should he direct U.S. troops to take on the wider mission of bringing civil order to the anarchic country, or should he go for an early withdrawal, turning the job over to U.N. peacekeepers but risking renewed chaos?
Russia: From one end of the old Soviet Union to the other, problems abound. Can more aid help? And if so, can the United States afford the bill?
Israel: During the campaign, Clinton struck a more pro-Israel stance than Bush. But Clinton's early foreign-policy appointments brought complaints from some American supporters of Israel. How much should the new Administration push for progress in the peace talks?
FIVE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FOR CLINTON--AND THE PUBLIC--TO WATCH
Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.)--Now the capital's No. 1 Republican, Dole could help round up the bipartisan support Clinton says he wants or lead the opposition that could tie up his programs in Senate filibusters. So far, Clinton's efforts to woo him have been rewarded with warm words but no firm commitment.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.)--The former Senate majority leader, now chairman of the Appropriations Committee, symbolizes the old style of pork-barrel government spending. Many Clinton aides fear that Byrd and other old-guard Democrats could pose more of a problem than the opposition Republicans.
Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.)--A master legislative tactician and chairman of the committee that controls taxes and health care, Rostenkowski is poised to be a key Clinton ally. But a continuing grand jury investigation of the House post office scandal threatens to ensnare him, diverting his attention.
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.)--As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which controls half of the legislation in the House, Dingell could be a key ally. But his devotion to the interests of the hometown auto industry could bring him to blows with the White House on environmental and fuel economy rules.
Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)--The outnumbered House Republicans have little power to block Clinton's moves. But Gingrich and his allies have pushed their fellow GOP representatives into more confrontational tactics. If the going gets rough for Clinton, Gingrich could get new allies in his guerrilla battles.
What Recent Presidents Accomplished
The major accomplishments of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush during the first 100 days of their presidencies: