“Obama is feeling his oats,” said Donald A. Baer, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and now the chief executive of the communications firm Burson-Marsteller. “I think he probably believes he was cautious and hemmed in by one thing or another in the first term, and he’s decided he’s going to do more of what he really wants and be who he really is in the second term,” Mr. Baer said. [New York Times]

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Pete Souza

WHAT WILL President Obama say tonight? What should he say? What do people want to hear?

The most important thing the President can say tonight is that universal mandatory background checks on all gun sales and gun owners is a national priority that he is committed to and that it’s something that must happen.

Obama should then call on Congress, regardless of party, to stand behind him and do what the majority of Americans, including gun owning families like ours, want.

There is also reporting that Obama will make a serious move on climate change, which is expected to begin tonight.

As for Republicans, they’ve invited Ted Nugent, who not only threatened President Obama’s life, but has also given interviews bragging that he dodged the draft. It’s never shocking when the GOP lauds chicken hawks, but it’s particularly insulting when someone like Ted Nugent, who parades around as a patriot, is being put on a freedom loving pedestal.

“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” – Ted Nugent [Think Progress]

Republicans must be so proud.

There is also Senator Rand Paul who will speak tonight for the teeny tiny minority of Tea Party extremists, which is also represented by Ted Nugent’s presence.

As for Senator Marco Rubio’s Republican response, he needs to make sure he doesn’t have a Bobby Jindal type catastrophe and come off looking small. Rubio doesn’t have a commanding presence and hasn’t acquitted himself well at all in the nomination hearings, so he needs this one badly.

First Lady Michelle Obama will have a Newtown resident sitting with her, as well as other victims of gun massacres over the last years. The contrast couldn’t be more stark.

“It’s important not to read too much into any particular political victory. It’s also important for us to feel confident and bold about the values we care about and what we stand for.” – President Barack Obama