Valerie Jarrett, a close advisor to President Barack Obama, said yesterday on CNN that the president is not going to debate the role of government. Instead, she said, "progress is compelled by action right now."
"The message that I think everyone heard during the campaign is one that he really embedded in his speech today. And he talked about it a lot, he talked about what he wanted to accomplish in his second term, what he thought was doable, where he wanted to push the envelope. And it was a very personal speech to him," Jarrett said of Obama's Second Inaugural Address. "You could feel the passion. He delivered it, I think, extremely well, because every single word was one that he just embraced completely. And I think part of what he said was, is that you can't -- progress isn't compelled by solving those century-long debates about the role of government, progress is compelled by action right now. And he feels that sense of urgency that he felt four years ago. He's so proud of his record, but he's so humbled by the fact that the American people him reelected him for a second term and because this is his last term, this is the end of his political career, he wants to make sure that every single day counts, and that we think about equality and opportunity."
Jarrett went to agree with the CNN reporter's description of Obama's writing process -- "he kind of turns around phrases like a musician, writing music in his head."
And Obama's advisor went on to compare the current president with Abraham Lincoln. "I think you can't compare the Civil War to what we're going through," she said. "But we've been through a really tough time in our country. And seeing how Lincoln had to work so hard just to make the progress that he did, how he never gave up, and how resilient he was, and [how] he tried a whole range of different strategies. And I think obviously that resonated with the president. And so it kind of reaffirmed what he already knew, which is you have to be resilient. you have to be determined. And you can't lose your focus, you can't get distracted by short-term political interests."