He is right to call a spade and a spade and declare the US is indeed in a war against terrorist groups such as al-Qa'ida.
But in his White House address yesterday, the President seemed at times more like a divisional manager than the leader of the free world.
His downbeat response to the aborted Christmas Day terror attack on a Detroit-bound aircraft did not truly acknowledge the shocking failure of American security and the potentially devastating fallout from those mistakes.
The President identified the failures to "connect and understand" information collected by agencies on the young Nigerian who almost blew up a plane.
But no individuals were identified publicly as being responsible for these operational failures. No heads have rolled.
The President initially reacted cautiously to the Christmas Day incident. He took two weeks to respond in detail. Such a measured response may have been calculated to calm American nerves - and deny the terrorists the reaction they seek.
But the failure of American intelligence in this case, eight years after September 11, is a cause for deep dismay.
Mr Obama must juggle several imperatives in dealing with this issue, including the need to ensure Americans do not lose faith in the intelligence services.
Equally, he cannot allow terrorists to believe the services are vulnerable. But Americans need to know their President is serious about fixing the security gaps. It is not just that the buck stops with Mr Obama - the ball is now truly in his court.