President Obama is back at the White House. He returned wearing jeans and sunglasses after spending 15 days on vacation in Hawaii with his family.
Obama played seven rounds of golf during his vacation but signaled that he was ready to swing at Republicans in his last year as president of the United States.
“I am fired up for the year that stretches out before us. That’s because of what we’ve accomplished together over the past seven,” he said in his weekly address to kick off the new year.
Obama is expected to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch today to help him promote new executive actions on gun control, after suffering a humiliating defeat on the issue in 2013.
The president described his failures on gun control as one of the “most frustrated and most stymied” items of his agenda – vowing to do whatever possible as president.
Meanwhile the president has other items on his agenda including criminal justice reform and the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
“Since taking this office, I’ve never been more optimistic about a year ahead than I am right now,” he said before leaving for vacation. “And in 2016, I’m going to leave it out all on the field.”
In spite of his energized demeanor, Obama has to face the political realities of his final year in office. With more attention spent on the presidential race, Obama may find it impossible to rally Democrats to his side as they face upcoming elections.
Confusion and criticism still follow the president regarding his handling the fight against radical Islamic terrorism – including the fight against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Obama is also expected to fill his final year with foreign travel, reportedly making plans to visit Japan, China, Poland, Peru, Germany, and even a possibly trip to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Reports are also hinting that he would like to make a presidential trip to Cuba.