From the Associated Press:
Obama’s election year retreat from legislative fights means this term will end without significant progress on two of his 2008 campaign promises, an immigration overhaul and closing the military prison for terrorist suspects atGuantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Presidential directives probably won’t make a big dent in the nation’s 8.6 percent unemployment rate or lead to significant improvements in the economy. That’s the chief concern for many voters and the issue on which Republican candidates are most likely to criticize Obama.
In focusing on executive actions rather than ambitious legislation, the president risks appearing to be putting election-year strategy ahead of economic action at a time when millions of Americans are still out of work.
Still, Obama and his advisers are beginning 2012 with a renewed sense of confidence, buoyed by a series of polls that show the president’s approval rating climbing as Congress becomes increasingly unpopular.
They believe his victory over Republicans in the payroll tax debate has boosted his credentials as a fighter for the middle class, a theme he will look to seize on in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address.
Obama’s campaign-driven, domestic-travel schedule starts in Cleveland on Wednesday, the day after GOP presidential hopefuls square off in the Iowa caucuses. He will also keep up an aggressive re-election fundraising schedule, with events already lined up in Chicago on Jan. 11.
Campaign officials say Obama will fully engage in the re-election campaign once the Republicans pick their nominee. He will focus almost exclusively on campaigning after the late summer Democratic National Convention, barring unexpected developments at home or abroad.
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