President Obama has made no secret of the fact that one of the toughest adjustments of assuming the presidency is what he calls living inside the "bubble."
"I can't just do things on the spur of the moment," he told a group of ninth graders at a high school in Northern Virginia last September. "That's actually the toughest thing about being president, because you want to just be able to interact with people normally, right?"
For Obama personally, the confines of the White House have meant not being able to take a stroll around the neighborhood, go out to a spontaneous dinner or play a pickup game of basketball.
But recently Obama has admitted that the presidential bubble has hampered his ability to promote a policy agenda and to connect with everyday Americans.
Meeting with Senate Democrats this week, Obama excoriated his party for losing touch with the American people during the push for health care reform and seemed to shoulder the blame.
Obama said the American people "don't care, frankly, about majority and minorities and process and this and that."
"They just want to know, are you delivering for me? And we've got to, I think, get out of the echo chamber," the president said. "That was a mistake that I think I made last year, was just not getting out of here enough. And it's helpful when you do."
That was not the first time Obama conceded that he fell out of touch with the American public in his first year in office.
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos last month, the president was candid in acknowledging that his administration dropped the ball in speaking directly to the American people, resulting in their sense of "remoteness and detachment" from elected officials in Washington.
"If there's one thing that I regret this year is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values," the president said.
Obama admitted that communicating from the White House is a greater challenge than communicating while campaigning for the White House.
"In this environment, in this political environment, what I haven't always been successful at doing is breaking through the noise and speaking directly to the American people in a way that during the campaign you could do," the president told ABC News. "I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be bogged down with how we're negotiating this provision or that provision of a bill. I would speak directly to people and hear from them."
Obama did not have a thin domestic travel schedule last year. He made 46 trips to 58 cities and towns in 30 states, according to statistics compiled by CBS News' Mark Knoller. In comparison, former President George W. Bush made appearances in 39 states in 2001.
Obama did travel extensively abroad. He took 10 foreign trips to 21 nations last year, more trips abroad in the first year in office than any other American president.
Democratic strategist Mike Feldman said that the key challenge to Obama hitting the road more frequently is simple – "There's a lot going on."