Climate change was a point of division between Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney. The president declared climate change a global threat, acknowledged that the actions of humanity were deepening the crisis, and pledged to do something about it if elected.
Andrew Jackson was the first president to claim that the desires of the public overrode Congress's constitutional prerogatives. Virtually every president since Jackson has claimed the mantle, even while lacking two ingredients of an electoral mandate: a landslide victory and a specific agenda.
Once a popular Alaska governor with a modest record of accomplishment, Palin could conceivably revive her reputation in this era of short memories. But it's hard to imagine her name atop the GOP ballot in 2016, when a cast of heavyweights who sat out 2012 will be vying for the nomination.
The 2016 presidential election is ripe for the emergence of a game-changing political leader who either dramatically reforms one of the existing parties or mounts an independent bid.
President Obama is casting his lot in the middle of a debate as old as America itself: Are we rugged individualists pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps? Or are we a nation of community, all connected and counting on one another?
Obama does not need to worry as much as past Democratic presidents about being labeled soft on national security - not after giving the order that led to the assassination of Osama bin Laden. No, his biggest concern is being labeled tone deaf on joblessness and debt.
Mandates are rarely won on election night. They are earned after Inauguration Day by leaders who spend their political capital wisely, taking advantage of events without overreaching.
Barack Obama won a second term but no mandate. Thanks in part to his own small-bore and brutish campaign, victory guarantees the president nothing more than the headache of building consensus in a gridlocked capital on behalf of a polarized public.
We, the people. Manifest Destiny. Conceived in liberty. Fear itself. Ask not. Morning in America. United we stand. Yes, we can. In times of great change and tumult, presidents seek to inspire beleaguered Americans by reminding them of their national identity.
Washington's answer to a self-inflicted financial crisis reminded Americans why they so deeply distrust the political class. The 'fiscal cliff' process was secretive and sloppy, and the nation's so-called leadership lacked the political courage to address our root problems: joblessness and debt.
Shock, confusion, fear, anger, grief, and defiance. On Sept. 11, 2001, and for the three days following the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, President George W. Bush led with raw emotion that reflected the public's whipsawing stages of acceptance.
Political consultants are pugilists, masters in the dark art of negativity. Which is why it's surprising to hear Democrats such as Steve McMahon and Republicans like Rich Galen urging their presidential candidates to be more, well, positive.
One of Obama's most impressive attributes is his quiet confidence: Voters sense that he is comfortable in his own skin, a dedicated father and friend who won't waste time with the phony rituals of Washington.
Sitting in the Oval Office, beneath a painting of George Washington, with a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. over his right shoulder and a bust of Abraham Lincoln over his left shoulder, Obama told 'National Journal' that the country's economic woes are deep and endemic.
For a man who has compared himself to Theodore Roosevelt and the nation's challenges to those of the Gilded Age, Obama put forward a tepid agenda.
Don't kid yourself. President Obama's decision to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan before he stands for reelection is not driven by the United States' 'position of strength' in the war zone as much as it is by grim economic and political realities at home.
Obama might do well to remember that his fast rise from the Illinois state Senate was due in large part to an uncanny ability to make friends and find mentors.
Obama is capable - as evidenced by his first-term success with health care reform. But mandate-building requires humility, a trait not easily associated with him.
Barack Obama may have found the answer to his biggest rhetorical challenge: When millions of voters are unemployed or underemployed, how does a president simultaneously sound realistic and optimistic?
It's an appeal as old as America and its presidency: This is an extraordinary country populated by hard-working, big-dreaming, freedom-loving people graced by God when they're not pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.