Excerpts from The Washington Post
By: David A. Fahrenthold and Peter Wallsten
March 4, 2012
"If President Obama wins a second term, he will finally endorse same-sex marriage. Gay rights groups are almost certain. He will also make a new, historic effort to fight climate change - environmentalists are pretty sure.
"And Obama will finally do just what the Congressional Black Caucus wants. According to some members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
"Conservative groups are equally confident that Obama, freed from the fear of losing his reelection bid, would deliver on far-reaching left-wing dreams. GOP candidate Mitt Romney forecasts a runaway spending spree. Newt Gingrich envisions a 'war' on the Catholic Church. The National Rifle Association predicts a crackdown on gun owners.
"The funny thing about all this is: Obama himself hasn't said he'll do any of it.
"In his speeches - over the first few months of his reelection campaign - the president has only sketched out a vague agenda for his next term. He wants to fix the immigration system. Put his health-care law into practice. Rebuild infrastructure. Revive manufacturing.
"'And,' he told an audience in San Francisco, in what might be called a flourish of the obvious, 'we're going to have to figure out how to pay for all this stuff'...
"The speculation about a yet-unseen Obama agenda reflects an unusual commonality between left and right in a polarized election year. It also points to a strategy each side will use this year - trying to marshal excitement among core supporters by tapping into deep pools of worry or hope about Obama...
"At times, the details of Obama's vision can still appear fuzzy - even to him.
"'How do we make sure that we've got a tax system that reflects everybody doing their fair share?' Obama asked at a Jan. 31 fundraiser in Washington, describing his vision in terms of questions, not answers. 'How do we make sure that we've got a set of regulations in place that aren't designed to squelch entrepreneurial activity and the free market but are designed to make sure that our consumers are protected and that our air is clean?'...
"The GOP candidates running to replace Obama have released dozens of specific proposals: for cutting taxes, for reducing Medicare spending, even for a moon colony. Obama's allies, instead, look for hints and nods...
"Obama has also said that he will push for immigration reform. 'My presidency is not over. I've got another five years coming up. We're going to get this done,' he told Univision radio...
"But, in his campaign talks, the president has not given many details about how he would do it. In the past, he has called for requiring illegal immigrants to get right with the law, submitting to background checks, and paying fines and back taxes, before they get on a path to legal status.
"Inside the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) says she's also picked up on an agenda that Obama won't talk about openly.
"Last year, when some of Wilson's colleagues in the black caucus began accusing Obama of not doing enough to help his fellow African Americans, Wilson stood at a town hall meeting to argue that Obama was committed to their issues - but that he could not tackle them so overtly until he got safely past Election Day...
"'I haven't seen any evidence that he's going to do anything in his second term that isn't defensive,' said Andrew Roth of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth. 'He's got to defend Obamacare, and try and implement it. Against, you know, a lot of opposition. He's got to defend Dodd-Frank [financial regulation], against a ton of opposition.'
"The stifling gridlock of Obama's last year, he said, is not likely to vanish in 2013..."
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Elections Election 2012