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SOTU: Obama’s Pen and Phone Strategy


Obama is no stranger to using his pen and phone. Neither is Obama the first to utilize his plethora of pens and White House phones. At this point in his presidency, Jimmy Carter had signed more executive orders in his four years than Obama has in his full five years in office.

It’s not a matter of how many executive orders Obama has signed, or intends to sign, but the content of those orders and presidential memorandums.



Cruz blasts president who ‘picks and chooses’ laws to enforce

WASHINGTON — President Obama will apparently use Tuesday night’s State of the Union address to ask the public to help him go around an already-unpopular Congress to accomplish his remaining goals.

Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer told CNN, “We need to show the American people that we can get something done.”

According to analysts, the White House may be showing a trace of desperation because of polls such as one from the Washington Post and ABC News that show 63 percent of Americans lack confidence in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions for the country’s future.
[divider dotted] Source: Washington Post

Obama’s 7 State of the Union talking points. No. 6: ‘The Pen and Phone’ strategy

President Obama began his second term in office intending to forge compromise with congressional Republicans – on gun control, immigration, the budget and long-term fiscal issues.

Instead, throughout 2013, his agenda and hopes for bipartisan breakthroughs were stymied.

So in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, look for Obama to focus on actions that he and his administration can take unilaterally without seeking approval from the Republican-controlled House, which remains hostile to his agenda.

For weeks now, the president and his advisers have talked about a “pen and phone” strategy by which Obama signs executive orders or uses the bully pulpit of the White House as convening power to make progress on issues ranging from the economy to the environment.
[divider dotted] Source: National Journal

WHITE HOUSE A Pen, a Phone, and a Flailing President | The White House’s problem might not be strategies and tactics. It might be Obama himself.

For months, the White House and its allies mocked critics of Barack Obama’s leadership, arguing that no president has “Green Lantern” superhero powers. Now these same people are predicting that Obama can salvage his agenda by waving a magical “pen and phone.”

The contradiction illustrates how far partisans will go to defend a flailing presidency, grasping at slogans and insults as a growing majority of Americans tune out. We witnessed a similar drama under President Bush, who set a low bar for public approval that Obama is close to matching.

More than that, Obama’s plan to exert executive branch authority, starting with his State of the Union address, further illustrates his unfamiliarity with the levers of political power, the limits of his leadership style, and the vast amount of time and potential squandered by the president so far.

White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’.

“He is going to look in every way he can with his pen and his phone to try to move the ball forward,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re putting an extra emphasis on it in 2014.”
[divider dotted] Source: Washington Post

Obama’s rough 2013 prompts a new blueprint

Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer outlined the lessons learned in a three-page memo that Obama discussed with his Cabinet in recent weeks, according to several administration officials who have read the document.

Among its conclusions is that Obama, a former state legislator and U.S. senator, too often governed more like a prime minister than a president. In a parliamentary system, a prime minister is elected by lawmakers and thus beholden to them in ways a president is not.

As a result, Washington veterans have been brought into the West Wing to emphasize an executive style of governing that aims to sidestep Congress more often. A central ambition of Obama’s presidency — to change the way Washington works — has effectively been discarded as a distraction in a time of hardening partisanship.

[notify textbox-grey]Obama-phone“One of the things I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.”

“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

“And I’ve got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life — nonprofits, businesses, the private sector, universities — to try to bring more and more Americans together around what I think is a unifying theme, making sure that this is a country where if you work hard, you can make it.”

~President Barack Obama, January 27, 2014[/notify]

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