The second Obama

The president dedicated an extraordinary amount of time to the issue of gun control, and it was the most moving and effective part of the speech. He recognised the hard politics of the issue, but still issued the challenge. He knows well that there are vulnerable Democratic senators in red states who are wary of such a vote, but the president still stood up for what he and most Americans know.

The president said: "This time is different."

I say: this president seems different. He seems more confident and sure. He seems aware of the animus that greets him, but not cowed by it. He seems to have decided to move beyond his political opponents and the pundits and talk directly to the American people. It seems a smart tactical turn: running away from the circus.

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