And regarding the benefits of ties with Europe, frankly the US spent the last eight years pissing off the world. It's going to take a bit more than some nice speeches and a big Obama smile to repair that damage. But increased cooperation between nations is never a bad thing.
The economy is turning around as evidenced by new confidence in the stock markets. People are spending, are buying and the housing markets are recovering. It'll take time for the recovery to be felt in all areas, particularly employment.
There's a good deal of negativity particularly among grotesquely over-subscribed right wing talk show pundits directed towards Obama's every move. But he's trying to make a difference for all Americans and this seems to piss off the ones in higher income brackets and their listeners who hope to emulate them.