President Obama is keeping opponents and allies off-balance in the first months of his second term in office.
Obama went left with his sweeping inaugural address, which rewarded the groups that helped elect him with siren calls to battle for gay marriage and against global warming.
A confrontational Obama said he would not negotiate with congressional Republicans on the debt ceiling and sought to put the blame on the GOP for the $85 billion sequester spending cuts.
Yet just as Republicans became convinced the president was focused only on defeating them in the 2014 midterm elections — Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president meant to “annihilate” them —a more conciliatory Obama showed up.
This Obama reached out to Republicans — first with phone calls to GOP senators upset by a leak of the administration’s plans on immigration. The move won the White House points from Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) who Obama will likely need to reach a deal.