In his next-to-the-last State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the president rejected any notion that he should be cowed by the midterm election results that gave Republicans a resounding victory, says an Associated Press analysis.
"At times boastful, confident and even cocky, Obama appeared unfazed by his party’s electoral pounding in the midterm election less than three months ago or his year of slouching approval ratings," says the Los Angeles Times.
Watching the emboldened Obama, it would have been easy to forget that it was just two months after the biggest electoral repudiation of his presidency, says a New York Times analysis.
"Rarely has the disconnect between a president and Congress seemed as wide as it is now," the Times says.
Obama’s advisers say he sees little reason to hold back on his ambitions just because the new Republican majorities are unlikely to go along.
But Republicans say Obama risks looking ineffectual and out of touch if he promotes initiatives that Congress never will take seriously.
"How the speech will play depends almost entirely on how you viewed Obama going into it," says The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.
"For his allies and even many liberals who had grown sour on him, it was a triumphant speech in which both his own soaring confidence and his dismissal of his political rivals was fitting and appropriate," Cillizza says. "For his detractors, the speech was everything they loathe about him: cocky, combative and forever campaigning."