Barack Obama's lofty inaugural ideals run into reality
Even with his last election behind him, Obama has politics to weigh as he considers just how much effort he'll put into pursuing climate change legislation and a gay rights agenda. Both issues are backed by the president's liberal base but opposed by many Republicans and conservative Democrats.
Obama already is asking lawmakers for a lot as he starts his second term. He needs their votes to increase the nation's borrowing limit and approve billions of dollars to keep the government running. And he has pledged to pursue stricter gun legislation and comprehensive immigration reform quickly this year, neither of which can pass Congress without some Republican votes.
For environmental groups and gay rights supporters, Obama's inaugural address provided fresh hope for progress on issues that were stumbling blocks for Obama in his first term.
While Obama put into effect tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, his efforts to pass a cap-and-trade bill _ which would have capped power plant carbon dioxide emissions and allowed trading of credits for the right to emit greenhouse gases failed on Capitol Hill due to bipartisan opposition. And despite Obama's many actions to bolster gay rights in his first term _ including repealing the military's ban on openly gay service members _ his reluctance to back gay marriage frustrated many of his liberal supporters until he ultimately voiced his support for same-sex unions last year.
Supporters of both issues say Obama will quickly have opportunities to demonstrate his commitment to their causes in his second
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