In homestretch of his presidency, Obama seeks to cement gains
By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON Dec 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, fighting the "lame duck" label for presidents whose clout wanes in their final months of office, will spend the last year of his presidency working to preserve gains and make a last push on a few key issues, senior White House officials said.
Obama will seek to put the finishing touches on legacy items like his plan to curb U.S. carbon emissions and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while trying to made headway on criminal justice reforms, the officials told reporters on Thursday.
The White House will work to cement Obama's achievements by strengthening health care, expanding clean energy production, implementing the Iran nuclear deal and normalizing relations with Cuba.
"You don't start a new agenda on January 1. We intend to push a bunch of big pieces of business over the finish line next year," a senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Previewing Obama's final State of the Union address, slated for Jan. 12, the officials said it will be a "non-traditional speech" to frame what Obama sees as major issues.
"I don't think you should expect a huge, long list from the president of legislative to-dos, but I think he's anxious to take kind of a big-picture approach to some of the challenges and opportunities that we face," an official said.
Obama is set to take questions from reporters on the year ahead at a news conference on Friday at 1:50 p.m. ET (1850 GMT) before he leaves for Hawaii for a two-week vacation.
On the way to Hawaii, he will stop in San Bernardino, California, to meet with families of victims of a shooting earlier this month by a couple inspired by Islamic State. Continuación...