Four years in, shifts in Barack Obama strategy, outlook

Barack obama

``His audience has become much more the American people than the people who live within the confines of Washington,'' says former Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki.

The Brookings Institution's William Galston, who served in the Clinton White House, says Obama seems to have concluded that getting too involved in the details of legislation was a mistake.

His more hands-off approach to the latest negotiations over taxes ``might be seen as a new paradigm,'' Galston says. ``The president is not spending a lot of time with his sleeves rolled up, face to face with people who disagree with him.''

Nor is he making as many promises. After making more than 500 specific promises in his first campaign _ more of them kept than broken _ the president served up far fewer re-election pledges and has displayed a more measured view of what's possible.

He's a ``happy warrior'' the president says of himself, but he also admits to disappointment that he hasn't gotten more cooperation from Congress.

Some liberals who complained that the president wasn't tough enough in the first term look at his recent decision to give more ground than expected in extending Bush-era tax cuts to some wealthier Americans and wonder if he's really stiffened his spine for term two.

The president's renewed determination to leverage public support appears to be coupled with a willingness by the no-drama president to show more emotion when matters of public policy are also personal to him.

Hours after the massacre of 20 children in Newtown a tearful Obama showed raw grief in his first comments on the attack, calling it the worst day of his presidency. His temper flared after Republicans criticized U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice over the deaths of four Americans during an attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya, insisting her critics ``should go after me'' instead.

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