Obama Invigorates Progressives as 2nd Term Begins


White House officials sought to downplay emphasis on any particular agenda or policy proposals in Obama's second inaugural, saying the president's commitment to liberal ideals on the environment, gay rights and social safety-net programs is not new.

"I would reject the idea that this was an 'ism' speech," Obama spokesman Jay Carney said, responding to questions about the speech and raised expectations for a new strategy toward progressive policy priorities.

"This was in fact the opposite of that, and that's why it is tied, I think, very clearly to the speech that the president, then a Senate candidate, gave in 2004 in Boston, and is linked to so many other major addresses that he's given, which is that he focuses on the fact that we are Americans first," Carney said.

"I hardly think that pursuit of equal rights, pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform, pursuit of sensible policies that deal with climate change and enhance our energy independence, are, you know, ideological," he added. "The only 'ism' that was a part of that speech was his rejection of absolutism."

Administration officials have declined to say specifically how much effort Obama plans to give to pushing climate change legislation, a speedier drawdown in Afghanistan, or advocate for a universal right to same-sex marriage.

He is expected to detail his 2013 agenda in the State of the Union address Feb. 12.

As Obama noted Monday, one of the keys to success on any part of his agenda will be the broad engagement of his supporters in lobbying Congress for action.

Read Some of the Highlights for ABC's Inauguration Live Blog Here

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