On Sunday’s Meet the Press, David Gregory asked President Obama to identify his top priorities for his second term. Here they are.
1. Immigration Reform
Obama addressed the first term campaign failure. “Fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority. I will introduce legislation in the first year to get that done. I think that we have talked about it long enough. We know how we can fix it. We can do it in a comprehensive way that the American people support.”
2. The Economy
Obama reiterated that a comprehensive infrastructure program is a means to stabilize and grow the economy. “If we are putting people back to work — rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our schools — in part paying for it by some of these broader, long-term deficit reduction measures that need to take place, that will grow the economy at the same time as we are also setting our path for long term fiscal stability.”
Obama said his number one priority for now is a budget deal that would avoid an automatic tax increase in 2013. “It is going to be very hard for the economy to sustain its current growth trends if suddenly we have a huge bite taken out of the average American’s paycheck.”
4. Entitlement Reform
Obama dodged the question on whether he would address entitlement reform in the first year of his second term. “What I’ve said is I’m prepared to do everything I can to make sure that Medicare and Social Security are there not just for this generation but for future generations.”
What Obama did do is signal that he is ready to take on the American Association of Retired Persons, one his strongest constituent groups.
Gregory: “You got to talk tough to seniors, don't you?”
Obama: “Well, I already have. David as you know one of the proposals we made was something called chained [Consumer Price Index] which sounds real technical, but basically makes an adjustment in how inflation is calculated on social security. Highly unpopular among Democrats, not something supported by AARP, but in pursuit of strengthening Social Security in the long-term, I’m willing to make those decisions.”
“We are producing more energy. America can become an energy exporter.”
6. Gun Control
Obama said he supports an assault weapons ban and the elements of a bill being authored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - Calif). “I have been very clear that assault rifle ban, banning these high capacity clips, background checks – that there are a set of issues that I have historically supported and will continue to support.”