The election was fought over lots of big issues — tax reform, immigration, how to wind down our wars — before the Newtown shooting added gun violence to the list. Here's a preview of what President Obama will say about them at his second inauguration.
Expect Obama to do what he says.
As Time's Michael Grunwald points out, Obama's first inaugural speech was a disappointment to reporters who expected him to dwell on being the first black president. Instead, he talked about economic collapse and described the same path he had already laid out in his 2008 campaign that he'd follow to fix it. And the he basically did all of that. Grunwald writes:
So what does Obama do for an encore? Congress already passed most of his 2008 agenda. And let’s face it: He didn’t have much of a 2012 agenda. “Forward” was a nice slogan, but all it meant was “Don’t let Romney and the GOP undo everything I did and restore the Bush era.”
The major policy work of Obama's second term will be implementing the big policies of his first, Grunwald says. Obama will likely offer fewer policy details than four years ago, leaving that for the State of the Union. CNN reports Obama has been working on the speech since mid-December with speechwriter John Favreau, and a major theme will be the responsibilities of citizenship.
Expect him not to drone on too long.
Obama's view of these speeches is "the shorter the better" CNN reports. His last inaugural address was 18 minutes.
Expect a better performance.
Obama is better when he's working with a script than when he's speaking off the cuff, and he's better when he's playing off the energy of a crowd. Obama doesn't yet have a signature line, The Washington Post's Joel Achenbach explains, like FDR's "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." He might reach for that. Of course, that line and JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country" are often held up as the goal for any inaugural speech-giver or speech-writer.