Obama Sticking With Broad Agenda

The economy, immigration, and climate change are all part of the president’s second-term agenda.

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President Obama insists that he isn't giving up on his other objectives even though reducing the deficit currently dominates his attention.

Obama tells members of his cabinet that the ongoing fiscal drama of spending cuts, known as sequestration, "doesn't reduce our commitment to things like education and basic research that will help us grow over the long term." He also tells aides that he wants to move ahead aggressively on immigration reform, gun control, and other issues.

[READ: Officials: Sequester to Bite Slowly]

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney describes Obama's goals this way: "balanced deficit reduction that helps our economy grow and create jobs; comprehensive immigration reform that helps our economy and the middle class; common-sense measures that reduce gun violence in this country; investments in clean energy technology that help build industries here in this country and help deal with climate change for the future."

The problem is that official Washington has trouble focusing on more than one major objective at time, let alone several. So Obama risks over-burdening the system with his overall agenda, according to strategists of both major parties.

President Barack Obama announces in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 4, 2013, he will nominate, from left; MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz for Energy Secretary, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA; and Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Budget Office.
President Barack Obama announces in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 4, 2013, he will nominate, from left; MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz for Energy Secretary, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA; and Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Budget Office.

[PHOTOS: Obama Behind the Scenes]

"He should be focusing again on jobs," says a senior Republican. "That's really what the public is most interested in."

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.