President Obama's inaugural address shed new light on his second-term legislative priorities but did little to win over Republicans in the House who unswervingly opposed his first-term agenda.
In contrast to many of his predecessors, the president made little effort at his inauguration to reach out to the Republicans who oppose him. "It was almost like it was a speech for a Democrat endorsement meeting rather than trying to reach out to Republicans who control the House to try to govern," Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, a strong ally of House Speaker John Boehner, complained to The Columbus Dispatch shortly after the address.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was more cautious, telling National Journal Daily, "I'll wait and see how we can react and work together." House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was terse in his reaction, calling the speech "well-done" and "shorter than usual." Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the president "missed an opportunity "¦ to talk about how we can work together, Republicans and Democrats, Congress and the administration."
The president's decidedly assertive and confident address was the second step in a three-part process to take him from his reelection victory in November to his second-term dealings with Congress. The first step was his feisty press conference last week, in which he took on congressional Republicans. The second was Monday's inaugural address, which sketched out an activist, progressive agenda only barely related to his centrist address four years ago.