London, Oct 31 : Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's senior advisers have drawn up plans to lower expectations for his presidency if he wins next week's election, amid concerns that many of his supporters are harbouring unrealistic hopes of what he can achieve.
The sudden financial crisis and the prospect of a deep and painful recession have increased the urgency inside the Obama team to bring people down to earth, after a campaign in which his soaring rhetoric and promises of hope and change are now confronted with the reality of a stricken economy.
The Times quoted a senior adviser as saying that the first few weeks of the transition, immediately after the election, were critical, "so there's not a vast mood swing from exhilaration and euphoria to despair."
The aide said that Obama himself was the first to realise that expectations risked being inflated.
In an interview with a Colorado radio station, Obama appeared to be engaged already in expectation lowering.
Asked about his goals for the first 100 days, he said he would need more time to tackle such big and costly issues as health care reform, global warming and Iraq.
"The first hundred days is going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference," he said.
He has also been reminding crowds in recent days how "hard" it will be to achieve his goals, and that it will take time.
Not only will the next president take office with the country sliding into a potentially long recession - and mired in debt - but the challenges abroad are immense.
There is an unfinished war in Iraq, a worsening situation in Afghanistan and an unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan to contend with. Iran appears intent on acquiring the bomb and there remains the ever-present threat from al-Qaeda and Islamic extremists.
If he wins, Mr Obama will inherit a Democratic-controlled Congress, and might even have the benefit of a 60-seat filibuster-proof "supermajority" in the Senate.