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What do you hope to see in Obama's second term as U.S. president?

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Barack Obama will be publicly sworn in as U.S. president at 11:20 a.m. on Monday, following a formal oath of office Sunday to satisfy the constitutional requirement that presidents officially take office on Jan. 20. 

The crowd on the Mall in Washington is predicted to be smaller than the one that watched his first inauguration in 2009, estimated at 1.8 million people. 

And as a second-term president, Obama faces arguably a greater challenge in the next four years. 

CBC senior Washington correspondent Neil Macdonald argues that Obama's re-election gives him license to be more aggressive - more "muscular" - in his agenda. 

"Obama is living the most enviable time a president can contemplate: about to begin a second term having won a clear mandate, knowing he will never run for office again," said Macdonald.  

Pulitzer Prize-winning editor David Shribman of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette says that Obama may not be running for re-election, but the burden of his second term is perhaps greater. 


"Right now, he's running for history. That's the entire pre-occupation of the entire next four years. He has to settle the debt problem, he has to get America's people to start to be more optimistic, get them back to work, and so he can say "Mission Accomplished" four years from now," Shribman said on CBC News Network. 

Shribman says Obama's speech today will set the tone for his second term, but won't likely get into specifics. Bob Lehram, former speech writer for Vice-President Al Gore, agrees on that point. 


"An inaugural [address] is like the overture. You hear all the tunes, but you don't hear all the lyrics," he said on CBC News Network. 

To reach out to Americans who didn't vote for him, Obama will have to include messages that will appeal to them, said Shribman. 

"The signature of his message for last four years, which is 'we're not red America and blue America, we are one America,' will be the hallmark of this term, too," he said. 

The issues that Obama faces are great: immigration reform, stricter gun control laws, an end to the war in Afghanistan and whether or not to approve the controversial Keystone XL project. Add to that a partisan fight in Congress to again raise the U.S. federal debt ceiling, and Obama's calendar is packed. 

What do you hope to see in Obama's second term? Let us know in the comments below. 

Tags: Politics, POV, U.S.

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