The New York Times’ Baker: “Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table. … Until Republicans offer their own new plan, Mr. Obama will not alter his. In effect, he is trying to leverage what he claims as an election mandate to force Republicans to take ownership of the difficult choices ahead. His approach is born of painful experience. In his first four years in office, Mr. Obama has repeatedly offered what he considered compromises on stimulus spending, health care and deficit reduction to Republicans, who either rejected them as inadequate or pocketed them and insisted on more.”
The AP: “The White House says Republicans should come clean about how much they're willing to raise tax rates on the rich. Republicans counter that President Obama's latest plan is a joke that avoids tough decisions on the nation's biggest entitlement programs, including Medicare.”
On the agenda today, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov (pronounced baw-REES-awf) will be at the White House discussing NATO and Afghanistan. Later, Obama speaks at a nuclear proliferation symposium started by ex-Sens. Lugar and Nunn.
“It survived a historic Supreme Court fight and a bruising presidential election. Next up for President Obama’s groundbreaking law to expand health insurance coverage: winning over a skeptical and, in much of the country, downright hostile public,” The Boston Globe reports. “Health care advocates say lessons — and inspiration — can be drawn from the Massachusetts experience, where a multipronged publicity blitz helped the state achieve near-universal coverage more quickly than lawmakers anticipated when they passed the 2006 law.”
About 800,000 are expected for Obama’s second inauguration, down from the record 1.8 million that showed up four years ago.