DEFICITS AND DECISIONS

Associated Press
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company A, Massachusetts  perform while passing the presidential box and the White House during the Inaugural parade, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands  marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company A, Massachusetts perform while passing the presidential box and the White House during the Inaugural parade, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A look at the issues that those who govern the country will face during Barack Obama's second term. Up now: the deficit.

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President Barack Obama devotes one word — "deficit" — to the issue that brought Washington to the brink of fiscal crises time and again during his first term.

But it's the paragraph that follows in his inaugural address that foreshadows what's to come: more hard bargaining and more last-minute deals driven by a conviction that he wields an upper hand.

"We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future," he says. "The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

This was the language of his re-election campaign. And while his address contained no reference to either political party, his pointed rejection of "a nation of takers" was an implicit reminder of the ill-timed surfacing of Mitt Romney's declaration that Obama's support came from the 47 percent of American voters "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."

—Jim Kuhnhenn — Twitter: http://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn

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Inauguration Watch follows the events of President Barack Obama's second inaugural. Look for short items and photos throughout the day.

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