OBAMA: MAN IN SEARCH OF A MESSAGE
Then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObama reflects on legacy as presidency comes to an end Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York Megyn Kelly: Trump and First Amendment 'not a beautiful match' MORE pulled off a sizable feat during this 2008 campaign: he presented himself, simultaneously, as a more passionate pursuer of traditional Democratic objectives than Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump must not pull a bait-and-switch on American workers Jewish groups divided over Hanukkah party at Trump hotel Colo. AG: Electoral College lawsuit could cause 'chaos' MORE, and as a candidate capable of reaching beyond the partisan divide to unite Democrat and Republicans.
The tension between these two ideas has been one of the running themes of his presidency, never more so than this year.
At other times, the president has sought to fire up his base with an appeal centered upon an orthodox liberal view of issues like income inequality and the dangers of untrammeled corporate power.
The quest for a clear crystallization of his reelection message has so far borne little fruit.
His recent speech in Kansas, in which he invoked President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 call for a “New Nationalism” looked like an attempt to build a more populist platform.
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