Gergen (Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Time Inc.)

President Barack Obama's summer slump was a long time coming, some observers say. Rather than maturing into a seasoned leader, Obama is struggling to build workable coalitions in support of his policies, and he is allowing his own preference for reasoned debate to undermine his efforts to build momentum for his key legislative priorities. "Obama's more deliberative nature ... [is] starting to come across as vacillation and indecision and hesitation," says David Gergen of the Harvard Business School.

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