(CNN) - President Obama on Wednesday will assume the delicate role of comforting a nation still in shock in the aftermath of the Arizona shootings while also transcending the tragedy to move a grieving nation forward.
As difficult and unique as the task may be, Obama needs to look no further than his role model Ronald Reagan and his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton for a lesson in how to console the country.
(CNN) - President Obama is facing criticism that his message has gone off track at a crucial time for his party and administration. With the midterm elections just 10 weeks away, the president's approval ratings are at their lowest. Analysts are predicting big wins for Republicans in November.
Ten weeks is an eternity in politics, and Republican and Democratic strategists say there are some key things Obama can do in the final stretch to restore the confidence of the American people and minimize expected losses for his party.
1. Simplify the message
Candidate Obama inspired voters in the 2008 election with a simple message of hope and change. Halfway through his term, the president now faces the complex reality of governing.
(CNN) - The handful of Tea Party-backed candidates who've had successful primary wins now face an ideological dilemma - and potential backlash - as they retool for a general election campaign.
Do they stick to their far-right agenda and trust that their conservative credentials will carry them to victory in November, or do they move ahead with a more mainstream, politically expedient message?
"The old, cynical conventional wisdom in politics is that in the Republican Party, you run to the right to win the nomination and then you run to the center to win the general election, and the opposite is true for the Democratic Party," said John Avlon, author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."
"What's going to be challenging is that the Tea Partiers ran as ideological warriors attacking the establishment with a refusal to compromise on their principle. ... That makes any pragmatic move to the center a lot more complicated for them to do with any credibility," he said.
Candidates supported by the Tea Party, which is a conservative movement and not a political party, have come under fire from supporters and opponents for moves viewed as plays to the center.
(CNN) - Each election cycle is dubbed "the year" - a time when Latinos will show up at the polls in droves and transform the political landscape.
President Obama's renewed push last week for immigration reform has brought with it renewed expectations for the Latino vote.
The issue is considered one of symbolic and substantive importance for the community. Four out of five undocumented immigrants are from Mexico or another part of Latin America, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
While voter turnout among the Latino community has risen in recent years, the adage that there's "strength in numbers" has yet to manifest itself.
(CNN) - When signs of a severe economic downfall emerged more than two years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama was quick to point a finger at the man he hoped to replace.
Seventeen months into his administration, the message is often the same, and Republicans say it's time for him to drop the Bush bashing and take ownership of the problem.
"Nothing makes a president look weaker than pointing the finger at past administrations," said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. "By blaming somebody, it looks like you are playing politics and people just want jobs. They don't care about whose fault it is. Playing the blame game only boomerangs on yourself."
Obama repeated that message this week when talking about the still-sputtering economy, twice reminding those at a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin that he "inherited" the economic mess.
(CNN) - As the voice of opposition to Arizona's controversial immigration law gets louder, the state's reputation can expect to take a hit.
Critics of the law are calling for economic boycotts of Arizona, urging corporations and organizations to refrain from holding conventions in the state.
They're also pressuring Major League Baseball to take its 2011 All-Star Game elsewhere, much like the National Football League did in 1993 when Arizona refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday.
While Arizona can ride out the backlash in the short term, the impact could hit hard later on, said Brayden King, assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
"The reputational consequences will have long-term economic consequences if it's not resolved," King said.
(CNN) - The GOP this past weekend wrapped up its annual Southern Republican Leadership Conference, where attendees discussed policy, lashed out at the Obama administration and laid the groundwork for what they hope will be a major comeback in the midterm elections.
More than a dozen speakers took the stage to rally and recharge Republicans during the three-day pep rally in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here are five lessons learned from the event.
(CNN) - When President Obama presented his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, he demanded that lawmakers forgo "the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on and the same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off."
But as budget hearings get under way, it appears that the definition of "grandstanding" is subject to interpretation.
Last week, for example, Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, lambasted the administration for its proposal to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to fund a new program for small businesses.
When Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, was defending the proposal, Gregg cut him off, saying, "No, no, no! You can't make that type of statement with any legitimacy."
Gregg then read a portion of the TARP law to Orszag, "because you don't appear to understand the law."
Lawmakers defend such outbursts as genuine concern over policy, but critics say some hearings are all about show.
(CNN)–Michelle Obama gave an impassioned speech before the International Olympics Committee. President Obama traveled overseas - in the middle of debates over health care and Afghanistan - to make his personal pitch to bring the 2016 Olympics to his hometown.
But despite their efforts, the Obamas will come home empty-handed as Chicago's dreams of hosting the Games evaporated in the first round.
The news stunned those awaiting the announcement, many of whom thought the battle was between Chicago, Illinois, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio also beat out Madrid, Spain, and Tokyo, Japan, to host the games.