Reelecting Obama an enormous challenge, says CBC chairman

President Obama's reelection in 2012 won't be easy, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) says.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the new chairman of the CBC, told the group IMPACT to expect a bruising fight to secure the president a second term.

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"It's realistic for our party to understand the enormous challenge we're going to have, to get him back in the White House in 2012," Cleaver told the group, as reported on Monday by NBC's Washington affiliate.

"It will not be a landslide or an easy victory," Cleaver added. "We're going to have to scrape and battle for every vote we get."

The CBC leader's remarks underscore the uncertainty surrounding Obama's political footing going into 2012. While the president was swept into office in 2008 with Democratic headwinds, the GOP's win in the 2010 elections suggest Obama could be vulnerable to a strong Republican challenger.

Cleaver said the president has been the a victim of impossibly high expectations for his first two years in office.

"The majority of Americans placed inflated expectation on candidate Obama and some even placed all of their hopes and dreams in him," the Missouri Democrat said. "No human being could have performed at the level of expectation in such a short period of time."

Polls have suggested that some potential Republican challengers are within striking distance of beating the president, if not enjoying a slight lead. But with the 2012 campaign only beginning to get off the ground, those numbers are fluid.

Some of Obama's advisers are expected to begin formally setting up his reelection operation in Chicago some time in the first half of the year.