Confident Obama Team Already Planning Second Term

Saturday, 08 Sep 2012 11:26 AM

By Patrick Hobin

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With the debates around the corner and the presidential race in full swing, the Obama administration is quietly planning a second term, Politico reported, as it assesses staff and crafts legislative plans.

What might seem as overconfidence, however, has some precedent in previous administrations. Still, a host of liberal groups also are quietly planning renewed lobbying efforts to pressure what would be a "lame-duck" president to push through some big-ticket projects, Politico reports.

Among the moves anticipated:
  • The liberal Alliance for Justice, Leadership Conference of Civil Rights and the People for the American Way, among others, are focused on trying to make the process move faster to place more liberal federal judges on the bench.
  • Heads of the major environmental groups held a two-day retreat in July at the Wye Plantation in Talbot County, Md., to consider ways to push big cap-and-trade programs in a second term.
  • Environmental, gay-rights and immigration groups mindful of Obama’s own tight window for action are also working on how to get their ideas wrapped in various bills.
  • Obama told Time Magazine that because of his policy contrasts with Romney, he’d interpret a win as giving him a mandate to end the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000.

Republicans fear a second-term Obama will be an unrestrained liberal no longer concerned about his own political future with plans to raise taxes, increase the deficit, pass cap-and-trade legislation and chip away at the Second Amendment.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, an early Romney supporter,  told Politico that he didn’t think Obama would be interested in compromising with Republicans after the election.

“There’s no evidence of that,” he said. “He’s had four years to do it. He’d had no inclination or desire to do it. I don’t know why we think he’d change in a second term.”

Some administration members such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have said they will leave after one term. The president’s staff has been quietly meeting with Cabinet officials and senior aides to find out who else wants in or out for a second term, Politico reported and there is an expectation of “widespread turnover.”

Jonathan Orszag, a former Clinton White House economic adviser who served on President Barack Obama’s 2008 transition team, said the Office of Management and Budget is already planning the fiscal 2014 budget request. Factored into the planning are what Congress does about the fiscal cliff, which party controls the Senate in January and how close the continued economic recovery tracks to their predictions.

“I’m sure that’s how he’s thinking through this,” Orszag told Politico. “He’s thinking what are the potential scenarios that can arise and how do we plan for each of them. It’s a wise strategy.”

Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, said this planning is a lot different than in 2008.

“The first one, you’ve got a certain paranoia about doing it for the political implications that you’re implying you’re going to win,” Daley told Politico. But now, “You have less of that fear and you are able to do it more quietly outside of the politics in a reelection because you own the apparatus, because you’re in the building and you can do it in an easier way.”

Daley continued, “It’s not easy in this reelection period. You don’t know who is staying. There’s also who you don’t want to stay. You’ve got to be careful you don’t tick them off. It’s a tough thing to do. You’re asking cabinet and senior people inside the White House to make judgments about people while you’re trying to have them do their job. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told Politico he realyed his ideas to the White House. “When you look back 20 years, what the president does or doesn’t do on climate is likely to be a defining part of his legacy,” Brune told Politico.

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