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Obama on the move in a bid to spur a sputtering agenda

President Obama has lately been front and center, pushing one new initiative after another – and even taking care to include Republicans. But motion does not guarantee progress.

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden talk about energy policy with governors in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday.

Larry Downing / Reuters

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Say this for President Obama: He’s keeping his feet moving.

Yes, the push for healthcare reform legislation has come to a stop, blocked by Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts special Senate election. Yes, other big administration priorities likely will be derailed by the Democrats’ loss of their filibuster-proof, 60-vote Senate margin.

Mr. Obama admitted as much on Tuesday when he said the Senate might pass an energy bill this year without cap-and-trade limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, long a centerpiece of the White House environmental agenda.

“It’s conceivable that’s where the Senate ends up,” said Obama, speaking at a town hall meeting Tuesday in Nashua, N.H.

Just keep moving

But in the face of a new political environment, Obama seems quickly to have shifted his governing strategy. It’s a classic White House recovery move. Call it “The Theory of Constant Motion.”

Thus, leading up to Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 27, administration officials each day highlighted a different proposal the speech would contain, one by one. First came measures to help the middle class. Then it was a three-year freeze on nondefense discretionary spending. And so on.

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