Aides say the president will touch on some of the challenges he’ll take on in a second term but won’t delve deeply into the policy objectives he’ll tackle in the next four years. Those details will be saved for his Feb. 12 State of the Union address.
But the tone and theme of Monday’s speech will set the stage for the policy fights to come. Obama may in some way to reference the Connecticut elementary school shooting that pushed gun control to the top of his agenda. He may also speak of a need to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, another second-term priority, and to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan.
Obama’s speech won’t be overly political. But aides said he will make the point that while the nation’s political system doesn’t require politicians to resolve all of their differences, it does require Washington to act on issues where there is common ground. And he will speak about how the nation’s core principles can still guide a country that has changed immensely since its founding.
The president was still working on his speech heading into inauguration weekend. He’s been hammering out the details for many weeks with longtime speechwriter Jon Favreau, who worked with the president on his first inaugural address and nearly every other high-profile speech he’s given since.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president takes the responsibility of a second term “enormously seriously.”
“He didn’t seek re-election just to be re-elected,” Carney said. “He believes that we have work to do, and he believes that both the agenda he has put forward so far and the agenda he will put forward in the future will help this country move forward in a variety of ways. This is something he feels very deeply.”