President Obama just gave a statement. It wasn't as full of braggadocio as George W. Bush's post-reelection press conference, but it was confident and clear. What's he going to focus on? "Jobs and growth." He talked about making the middle class bigger and more secure by, among other things, "strengthening Medicare and Medicaid for the long haul." And the way to fix the middle class, he says, involves "asking the wealthiest to pay more in taxes."
Obama never mentioned the word "mandate," but he peppered his speech with reminders that he won a convincing victory this week: "On Tuesday night we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach." Perhaps in an attempt to get in front of Fox News claiming that President Obama was unveiling a hidden socialist agenda, he repeated several times, in several different ways, that this is the plan that he ran on, and Americans accepted it. He also called for Congress to take a major bargaining chip off the table before the talks about the fiscal cliff begin—"Let's extend the middle class tax cuts right now," he said. "Let's do that right now."
President Obama didn't take any questions, which was pretty shitty—even George W. Bush took questions in his first post-election appearance—but presumably he wanted to make sure his message was undiluted. House Speaker John Boehner called on President Obama to show leadership, and that's what just happened.