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Obama faces crucial tests

With change agenda at risk :

US: President Barack Obama is on the ropes barely seven months into his tenure, facing a cauldron of crises including health care reform, the war in Afghanistan and an anemic US economy.

With his approval ratings sliding, he faces a crucial test of his ability to push through his change agenda, particularly on health care reform, details of which he will lay out Wednesday in a rare address to a joint session of the US Congress.

Critics say Obama has not offered enough specifics of the plan, following an August marked by volatile town hall meetings in which conservatives railed against changing the system.

Republican foes and some moderate Democrats have suggested Obama trim the sweeping health care reform plan - or at least introduce it in stages - as the president's administration was poised to raise the 10-year US budget deficit forecast to about nine trillion dollars.

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