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How the State of the Union signals the rebooting of Obama
The White House is fully engaged in a painful self-redefinition, writes John Heilemann at New York, as Obama seeks to regain control of his presidency
Obama has emerged from a process of self-scrutiny determined to "fix what has ailed his enterprise - and himself," says John Heilemann in New York magazine.
Obama has emerged from a process of self-scrutiny determined to "fix what has ailed his enterprise - and himself," says John Heilemann in New York magazine.
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ince November's "shellacking" at the polls, The White House has been engaged in a "full-scale reboot of the Obama presidency," says John Heilemann at New York. Gone is the "frenetic, transactional, shambolic style" of former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. In will come a "less cloistered and more strategic" commander-in-chief, with a revamped team of aides ready to establish "a compelling narrative" for where the president hopes to take the country. Tuesday night's State of the Union address, writes Heilemann, will give Obama a chance to soar above the "posturing, petulance and incessant bile-spewing" of Washington, and grasp both a higher tone, and the mettle of his presidency. Here, an excerpt:

...substantial changes are afoot in every realm [of Obama's White House] from management structure and political strategy to communications, policy, and even the president’s conception of his own role—as he and his people try to navigate the newly Republicanized legislative landscape and gear up for what they now fretfully assume (after months of airily believing otherwise) will be a difficult reelection campaign.

For Obama, retooling on this scale does not come naturally or happily. Among the hallmarks of his political career has been constancy: a tight and basically static cadre of close advisers and a stubborn resistance to calls for midcourse corrections. Yet in a series of interviews in early January with senior White House officials and many of Obama’s closest confidants outside the building, a picture emerged of a president engaged in a searching, clear-eyed, and sometimes painful process of self-scrutiny, and now determined to implement a plan to fix what has ailed his enterprise—and himself.

Read the entire article at New York.

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